Where to even begin? After 10 days of traveling in Eastern Europe, I'm not sure how to recount this long, fun, amazing and eventful adventure. I just got back home last night and I haven't had a proper reflection of the last week, so perhaps this post will be just that...

(big breath in)...and here we go.

I left last Thursday to Paris and spent the night at Emily's friend's apartment. Katie is from UCLA (like Emily) and she's doing a Paris program for the semester. She has a studio apartment with a bed that comes out of the wall. It was a tight squeeze with the 3 of us in her full-sized bed but her apartment is absolutely adorable and very Parisian, I might add. And I am so very thankful that she let a random stranger crash at her place. Thank you, Katie!

That night, Katie, Emily and I met up with Mathilde (she studies in Lyon, studied at UCLA last year and stayed with me for 4 days when her apartment wasn't ready) and her friend. We didn't go out or anything but it was a great girls night--fun conversations about life, traveling, boys, etc. We didn't go to bed until 2 am which was probably a poor decision on our part since we had to wake up at 5 am for the train ride to Charles de Gaulle airport. Emily and I met up with Jessica and Deepti at the metro station at 6:30 am and went to the airport together. Perhaps it was the morning grogginess but we spent too much time chatting and getting coffee around 7 am and ended up having to run to the gate at around 8 (departure was at 8:35)..yikes! But we made it. (whew)

We got into Prague around 10 am and checked into our apartment. Boy, were we in for a treat! When we walked in, our mouths dropped in utter disbelief. For $20 a night, we got a HUGE apartment with 2 twin beds, 2 king-sized beds, a full kitchen, bathroom and balcony. If you're ever traveling to Prague, check out the Prague Apartments--it's cheaper than a hostel, better than any hotel and close to everything.

After we settled in, we went to a nearby café and got some good ol' Prague food for lunch. Emily and Deepti had chicken with peaches and mozzarella cheese, I had chicken stuffed with spinach and cream and Jessica had pancakes with pork and veggies. It was sooo tasty and so cheap!

We explored a little bit after lunch but our 5th traveler, Alexa, was flying in a little later and we wanted to make sure we were at the apartment when she arrived. We went to the nearby grocery store to pick up ingredients for the week. The group decided that we'd go out to eat twice in each city and cook the rest of our meals. That ended up being the perfect way to save money...and it was fun! Especially with the full-sized kitchen :-)

[Delicious spaghetti sauce]

That night, we went out but exhaustion got the best of us and we headed back early.

The next day, we took a three-hour bike tour of the city. It was really fun and I have to commend Jessica for being a great sport. She doesn't know how to ride a bike very well but somehow, with a few bumps and scratches, she made it and did a fantastic job! I have to admit, it was a pretty long and uncomfortable ride with every road being cobblestone...ouch! Regardless, we covered most of Prague and took some pretty spectacular photos.

[Jessica, Deepti, Emily and Alexa]


[Me and Emily]

[On our bike tour; from left: Alexa, Emily, Jessica and our tour guide]

[Jessica gets the "Best Trooper of the Day" award]

[Just beautiful.]

[Us girls]

[Me and Deepti]

[This wall represented freedom where people could express themselves during Communist reign]

[Consumer babies...those are bar codes]

[The top line at the left represents where the water reached during the 2000 flood!]
After the tour, we walked around the center, saw a wedding couple take photos, went souvenir shopping, etc. During our bike tour, the guide recommended a restaurant that served authentic Czech food for affordable prices. We decided that would be a great place for took a while to find it but with the wonderful navigating of Alexa and Jessica, we made it! My meal wasn't the best: the menu said, "pork cooked in its own juices" which meant cold pork in its own fat...ew. However, everyone else had delicious meals--pork ribs, beef goulash with dumplings and potato pancakes. Lucky for me, the portions were entirely too large for everyone so I had plenty of leftovers to stuff myself with!

[Our navigators, Alexa and Jessica]


We headed back to the apartment after dinner and got ready for a night out. We went to Karlozy Lazne, a 4-story disco that played different types of music on each floor. It was so much fun! We danced the entire night away and by 3 am, we were happily limping home with our throbbing feet ;-)

The next morning, we decided to separate and do our own thing. Alexa and I went to the contemporary art museum while Emily, Deepti and Jessica went to the natural history museum. We then met up a few hours later to walk across the oldest bridge in Prague, the Charles bridge. Construction of the bridge began in 1357 and finished in the beginning of the 15th century! The bridge was full of life with musicians, artists and vendors selling their jewelry and crafts. The weather dropped significantly but it turned into something truly magical to see the mist and fog settle into the evening sky.
[Entrance to Charles Bridge]


[Romance at its finest]

[Beautiful music]

[Alexa & Jessica]

[Dysfunctional family? I think so!]

[Reminds me of Italy]


[Goodnight, Prague]

Tired from the day's adventures, we headed back to our cozy and warm apartment to make some fajitas with our leftovers. We had beautiful conversations about life, school, France, Prague and so much more! It was relaxing and an awesome way to get to know each other a little bit more. We made an interesting observation about Prague: the energy of the city is something that we can't exactly put our finger on but it portrays a somber, somewhat apathetic aura. Other than the tourists, there weren't very many people out and about. Perhaps it is due to the fact that communists were swept from power only 2o years ago...we don't know for sure but the mystery of Prague's "vibe" was definitely one worth contemplating over.

The next day, we visited the castles of Prague. They were magical and overwhelmingly beautiful. After a few hours of seeing the cathedrals and castles, we had a lovely lunch at a café nearby. I had a delicious soup that warmed up my frozen bones. It was definitely charming and a great way to end our stay in Prague.

[Well, hello there, castle]

[Just gorgeous]

[Inside the basilica]

[Ordering food is a serious decision]

That evening, we packed and made our way to the train station for our 10-hour night train to Budapest.

That, my friends, is an entirely different story in it of itself...

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