• The Great European Adventure

    Prague: Last Look

    In this photo, taken in Prague’s Jewish Quarter, you can see a portion of the Old Jewish Cemetery, which is home to approximately 12,000 tombstones and was in use between the early 15th century and 1787. You can visit the cemetery along with five preserved synagogues (notably Pinkas Synagogue) and historical buildings, which together make up the Jewish Museum in Prague. This Museum was founded by Dr. Hugo Lieben and Dr. Augustin Stein in 1906, but was closed to the public after the Nazi Occupation began in 1939. Dr. Stein hoped to preserve Jewish artifacts that were being confiscated and destroyed by the Nazis all over Central Europe, and, along…

  • Travel Inspiration

    Weekly Travel Linkspiration: language learning tips, “off the beaten path” travel, and small backpacks

    Here’s what you may have missed around the internet this month. terribleminds shares 25 Things Writers Should Know About Traveling, and makes me want to forget all about blogging in favor of writing fiction influenced by my travels. (Don’t worry, I’m going to keep blogging… I might start writing fiction on the side, though.) You know how my sidebar bio says, “I wish I were a polyglot,” well, Almost Fearless suggests we stop thinking about studying new languages as an obligation, and start doing things we love in the language we’re learning. She’s learning Spanish by reading magazines about cooking and celebrity gossip. Katie Aune says that common stereotypes about…

  • The Great European Adventure

    Prague via Instagram

    In my post Prague: First Impressions, I mentioned that it is a beautiful city. While I was there, I even tweeted (wryly) about how lovely it was, and I sent a postcard to E that began, “Prague is like a fairytale.” When I looked at the photos I took in Prague, though, I was disappointed. They didn’t reflect the city’s atmosphere, the stunning architecture looked like any other collection of buildings, the colors were drab… I suppose it was cloudy for most of my visit. Hell, there was a freak snow storm while I was there! Enter instagram — the easiest way to edit and manipulate photos. For everyone who…

  • The Great European Adventure

    Saying “Yes” in Prague

    My mother is a self-proclaimed “new experience junkie,” and, for better or worse, I am too. We like seeing new places and trying new things — we are jacks of all trades, and masters of none. We have varied interests, but we also keep trying things to see what fits, and we return regularly to the metaphorical dressing room because something new may fit better. How will I know if I like solo travel unless I try it? (Turns out, I like traveling solo because it makes me feel confident and self-reliant more often than it makes me feel lonely.) How will my mother know if veganism is right for…

  • The Great European Adventure,  Travel Tips

    Why Prague is a Best Bet for Your First Solo Trip to Europe

    If I’m being honest with myself, Prague is a very popular tourist destination, but its Eastern European location and fairytale architecture make me feel like I’ve discovered something unique and secret. And while Prague is a unique city, it’s not a secret. Prague hosts 4.1 million international tourists a year and, in 2011, Prague was the sixth most visited city in Europe. I don’t have statistics on how many backpackers visit Prague each year, but I can give you a rough estimate: a whole lot. While some backpackers are looking for “off the beaten path” destinations, the fact that there are so many visitors to Prague year around is a…

  • The Great European Adventure

    Prague: First Impressions

    I took an overnight train from Krakow to Prague. My advice for that train? Don’t pay more than the standard fare, even if you want a smaller compartment, because you won’t get it. All the compartments are the same size — they can hold six people, three bunks on each side — just hope that some of the beds aren’t occupied. When you arrive, you’ll need to convert the benches into beds yourself and put on sheets. The conductor on my train didn’t speak English, so when faced with compartment mix-ups he was unable to say more than “no” to his passengers. He was in an awful mood when we…

  • Tea Tuesday,  The Great European Adventure

    Tea Tuesday: Dobrá Čajovna

    I first fell in love with teahouses in Barcelona, at a teahouse called Čaj Chai, which was founded by some Czech immigrants to the city. I have written, and waxed poetic, and gushed about this teahouse before, and I will do so again, but for now I want to tell you about a teahouse in Prague called Dobrá Čajovna, which I was pleased to stumble upon. It was so good, I went twice over the course of my five days in Prague. When I found it, I was surprised–an Asian-style teahouse in the Czech Republic? Apparently this isn’t at all an unusual thing. The teahouse in Barcelona that I so…

  • The Great European Adventure

    Happy Halloween!

    We interrupt the somewhat chronological order of this blog to bring you a very special Halloween post. Now, I will admit to not being the biggest fan of this holiday. I’ve never been one for big Halloween parties, I come up with good costume ideas, but don’t execute them, and, most importantly, I miss trick or treating… So, I wasn’t too bothered by the idea of not celebrating this year. After all, I don’t really have room in my backpack to carry around a costume. But then, this past weekend (Halloweekend, if you will) I took a tour of Kutna Hora, a small city, and UNESCO World Heritage Site, about…