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11 Amazing, Free ways to Experience Prague

Prague is a city filled with history. Just walking through the city you can see and feel the past all around you. There are many things you can do and see for free and still get some of the best experiences in the city.

1. Walk the Royal Route

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The Royal Route is a must! It will take you by the most important historical sights in Prague. Start at the end of the route (the Prague Castle) and work your way to its beginning at Prašná Brána (Powder Tower). This way you start at the top of the hill and walk down, rather than constantly up.

Come back to read more about the Royal Route!

2. Astronomical clock

If you have walked the Royal Route, you have definitely seen the Astronomical Clock. However, it is definitely worth visiting again. The clock was installed in 1410, making it the third oldest astronomical clock in the world. Make sure you are there on the hour to see the animated figures that appear as the bell rings, the four figures on the sides represent vanity, greed, death and lust. Each hour, you can also see the Apostles in the small windows. Prepare for hundreds of people showing up each hour to see this!

*Unfortunately, the astronomical clock is currently under construction, so you won’t be able to see it right now.

3. John Lennon Wall

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The Lennon Wall is in the Lesser Quarter and it is filled with graffiti. This wall has been used as a way to bring up social grievances since the 1980s, when students used it against the communist regime. The wall still represents love and peace, and every time you visit it, it is different!

4. Petřín

Petřín is a great place to walk up to. The lookout tower is paid (150kc), but the area is beautiful even if you don’t want to climb up the tower. There are many views of the castle from different parts of the park and the gardens are gorgeous in the spring and summer, usually filled with various roses. At the Petřín hill you can also see the Hunger Wall, which is a long defensive wall built in the 14th century by Charles IV. At the time there was a large famine and the emperor wanted to give poor people jobs and food. The workers received enough food for their families as well.

A good way to get up to Petřín is either by walking up through the gardens or you can take a funicular up or down the hill, with any public transportation ticket.

5. Náplavka 

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Náplavka is a great place to go for a walk along the Vltava river. The best way to get there is to take the tram to Jiráskovo náměstí, where you can also see the Dancing House. Then you can take the stairs down to the riverbank.You can walk along the water and enjoy a gorgeous view of the Castle. You can sit on the edge and dangle your feet above the water (beware of the swans, they can get a little territorial). Along the way you can stop on a boat for a beer or some wine, there are many choices for refreshments. On Saturdays you can also enjoy a farmer’s market on the riverbank.

6. Riegrovy Sady

Riegrovy Sady is a city park close to Wenceslas Square and the main train station. It is a great place to sit and enjoy the view of Prague and the Prague Castle. It used to be a vineyard, but that no longer exists. There are different restaurants and pubs around the park that you can stop at for some refreshments.

7. Metronome

You can either walk to the Metronome from the bottom or from the park side. If you are coming from Old Town, you can cross Čechův most and walk up the stairs to it. At the top, you will be rewarded with a view of Prague and of the Castle. Then you can continue to walk around Letná park. You can also do the opposite if you don’t want to walk up the stairs. The metronome was built in 1991 after a giant Stalin Monument was taken down.

8. Get lost in Malá Strana

Malá Strana or the Lesser Quarter, is absolutely gorgeous. There are many tiny streets and alleys that take to some of the most beautiful locations. For this activity, leave the map at the hotel and just walk around! Take a few turns down cobbled streets, enjoy the 18th century architecture and get lost in the time period. It will be easy to see why Prague is used to represent so many historical cities in movies. This part of the city hasn’t changed much in centuries. There are many small cafes and restaurants that you can pop into for either some food, coffee or beer.

9. Sunrise over the Charles BridgeIMG_0058

Whether you are out all night, enjoying the Prague nightlife, or you are willing to get up early, go to the Charles Bridge for the sunrise. It is never as empty as it is at 5 in the morning, so you can enjoy the view with the minimum amount of tourists. The sun rises from behind the castle, illuminating the city in the most stunning light. This is the perfect time to take pictures!

10. Stromovka

Stromovka is a large park that was originally used as a Royal Game Reserve. It is a beautiful place to sit down for a picnic or just enjoy a little bit of nature in the center of a city. You can walk to the planetarium or even walk to the Prague Zoo from Stromovka (both have entrance fees). As you walk through the park you can come across some of the older buildings, including a small summer palace that was built when the park served as a game reserve.

11. Divoká Šárka

If you are looking for a larger escape from the city, Divoká Šárka is a protected park that has a large gorge named after a female warrior, Šárka. It is a great place to leave the city behind and go for a hike through the nature reserve. There are multiple trails that can take you to either amazing views from the top or to the lake below. You can swim in the lake to cool down after your hike and if you fall in love with the area, you can even set up camp (for a small fee).

There are many other sights in Prague that you can see for free and more experiences! So just take a walk through the city and get to know the city up close.

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6 Reasons Why you should Road Trip

6 Reasons Why you should Road Trip

Everything right now is about doing things faster, sometimes this includes travel. Everybody tries to find the fastest ways to get to a place and that can mean that you miss out on great experiences! Here is why you should talk the extra hours and drive to your destinations if it is at all possible:

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  1. Things to see and things to do! When you fly, you only see your destination. If you drive to your destination, you can stop in different places and see so many other sights. If you drive through the US, you can see multiple landmarks, instead of just the one you are heading towards. If you drive through different countries you can experiences many different cultures!IMG_5147 2
  2. Food! You have so many more opportunities to try different foods. If you drive through multiple countries on your road trip, you can try food that is native to this country. I found some of the best places when I just did a quick google search of what’s near me. Not to mention all the junk food you can enjoy, because everyone needs fun snacks! 
  3. Spending time with your friends. When you spend hours in the car you get much closer with your friends. You tend to look at your phone less and actually talk to each other. Not to mention all the adorable photos you can take together! Hopefully you won’t get into any fights, otherwise the journey will be really long.
  4. Music. When is the last time you truly listened to music without scrolling through your phone or reading the newest headlines? There is nothing like blasting music with your windows down while driving down an endless road. You can belt out the lyrics and no one will care what you sound like! So make sure to create a fire playlist before setting out on the journey!
  5. Bring more things with you! Whether this is a short trip or a long one, everyone hates weight limits when flying, when you drive there is no weight limit, just a space limit. If you are a good packer this means you can bring LOTS of stuff!
  6. Learn about more cultures. This is even true if you are road tripping through the same country. Each state in the USA has its own culture, you will definitely meet completely different people in California than in a cafe in Boston. If you are driving through different countries, then there is absolutely no doubt that you will come across many diverse cultures.IMG_3637.JPG

Hope this helps you slow down a little and enjoy your trip! There are many benefits to taking your time and driving around while you head to your destination.

 


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Brunch and dinner: California’s best

Grand Canyon: the place that makes you feel tiny

Brunch and dinner: California and more

Brunch and dinner: California and more

During our time in Los Angeles we looked for good places to eat, obviously. We eventually found our favorites and kept returning to these places. Soon they knew who we were, which just made it heartbreaking when we came for the last time. Here are our favorite places to eat in the different places we visited:

Los Angeles

  • IMG_4490.JPGWood and Vine – great for tapas and drinks right on Hollywood Boulevard
  • Mel’s Drive-In – 50’s style diner with amazing milkshakes and late night menu!
  • Karl Strauss Brewing Company – really good share plates (try the chicken wings, carnitas chilaquiles or the Brussels sprouts)
  • The Saddle Ranch – steakhouse, with huge meals so plan accordingly. The s’mores or the cotton candy tower are a must for dessert.
  • The Griddle Cafe – massive pancakes that are perfect to share with three other people (maybe more)! If you don’t want pancakes try some of their savory dishes (“Some Like it Hot” scramble is one of my favorites)
  • The Waffle – waffles all day long!
  • The Cheesecake Factory The Grove – who doesn’t like cheesecake factory?

San Diego

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Santa Barbara

  • The Shop Cafe – great brunch place with amazing eggs benedict (we drove 2 hours for this place…multiple times)

Flagstaff, AZ

  • The Toasted Owl – very good brunch place with very eclectic, cute decorations

These were our absolute favorites, there are other places that we tried out, but we kept coming back to these. Definitely check them out if you are ever in one of those cities!

 


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Grand Canyon

Disneyland

 

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

This weekend we decided to go to Arizona to see Grand Canyon! We were so excited to see it, since it was one of our top priorities on our bucket lists. We drove 9 hours from Los Angeles and it was definitely worth it!

We rented out camping equipment from lowergear.com, packed up the car and headed out on Friday afternoon. The drive was really long, but when it got dark, the stars illuminated the sky. It was gorgeous, especially before the moon, which was really low and huge, rose. The first night we planned on staying in a hotel, since we were going to get to Arizona pretty late. Highland Country Inn was a good choice, since it was cheap and all we really needed was beds for a couple of hours.  

In the morning we checked out and when for brunch. We picked The Toasted Owl Cafe, and it was amazing! I found out that Arizona has an incredible amount of gluten-free choices. We had to wait for food for some time, because the kitchen is tiny, but it was so worth it! So definitely check out this quirky little place in Flagstaff! We finally hit the road towards the Grand Canyon, which ended up being an 1.5 hour trip. When we got there we checked into our campsite and successfully built our tent.

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We finally hit the path towards the rim. The view was stunning! No pictures and not descriptions will ever measure up to what you feel like when you see it! Nothing makes you feel quite as small as standing on the edge and looking out over the canyon that goes on seemingly forever!

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We walked the western part of the rim trail that afternoon, making it all the way to the Hermit Point. We stopped about every five seconds to take many, many pictures (total adding up to about 500). We turned around at Hermit point and found the perfect spot to stop and watch the sunset over the canyon. We sat there for almost an hour and a half. A quick tip for the hike: bring snacks! Either in the form of granola bars or nuts or anything! Its nice to sit down and refuel before continuing the hike!  

After the sun set it got pretty chilly so we went to Yavapai lodge for dinner, yet again I was surprised at all the gluten-free choices. It was so nice to sit in the warmth and eat hot food. Definitely recommend sitting down in a restaurant for dinner before heading to the tent.

We headed back to the camp and set up a campfire, roasting s’mores until almost 11pm. Another tip: layer up for the night! The temperature dipped down to about 1 degree celsius (33.8 degrees fahrenheit).

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We got up at 5am to see the sunrise. For this we went to Mather Point and found a spot to sit down for about 45 minutes. We decided to go ahead and walk the east part of the rim trail and complete the whole rim trail. It was definitely a good choice to do so right away, because this way we finished the hike and packed up our tent by 8:30am. Also, we got super lucky and even saw a herd of elk on the path, since it was so empty and quiet in the morning. At this point we decided to walk west along the trail and hit the gift shop by El Tovar. This concluded our trip beautifully and we got to say goodbye to the canyon.

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We hit the road and decided to drive through Las Vegas, so we headed north-west. We even drove by and saw the Hoover Dam, but we decided not to stop and walk around, since we still had a long drive ahead of us. We only drove through Vegas, since we didn’t have too much time. It is definitely an interesting city with such an eclectic collection of buildings built in different styles.

We drove back to Los Angeles, finally getting back around 10pm. The experience of going to the Grand Canyon is something indescribable! Definitely go and see it on your own!

 


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Disneyland

San Diego Road Trip

 

Disneyland!

Disneyland!

Disneyland is a must when you go to Los Angeles! These past to weekends we went twice and it was so worth it! The first day we spent the whole day in Disneyland and the second weekend we park hopped. So my big tip of the day is: buy a park hopper! It is definitely worth it, both parks are great and offer a lot to do! I haven’t been to a Disney park since 2006, when I went to Disneyland Paris, so I was so excited to go in LA!

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Disneyland

Disneyland is magical, like you would expect. The castle is small though, much smaller than I expected, but it was still really pretty. So when we entered we stopped and took pictures with Walt Disney and the castle. Then we headed to Tomorrowland. TIP #2: get Fast Passes every time you can! It will save you lots of time throughout the day and help you plan out where you will be throughout your time at Disney. Some of the big rides I suggest you get Fast Passes for are: Hyperspace Mountain, Star Wars Tours, Splash Mountain and Indiana Jones. These rides usually get packed and have around an hour long way at the very least.

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We got the fast passes for Hyperspace Mountain first, because it’s one of the more popular rides and the wait would be insane later in the day. Hyperspace Mountain is now Star Wars themed, making the ride even more fun. As you fly through space, the enemy starts shooting at you! Which made us extremely excited throughout the ride.

We headed to Star Wars Tours in the morning, because the wait wasn’t long at the time and we knew it would get long. This was such an awesome ride! If you love Star Wars as much as we do, this will be so much fun for you, since you sit in a ship simulator and fly with C3P0! They have different simulations, so chances are if you go again, the ride will be different.

Astro Blasters was next, with quite a short wait, which was perfect! We hopped on and competed for who got more points. We ended up riding Astro Blasters two more times, so we could all compete with each other.

We headed to Adventureland, where Dole Whip makes for a great mid morning snack. We walked through Tarzan’s tree house, which is so adorable and we wanted to move in. Next up was Pirates of the Caribbean! My personal favorite! It’s such a fun ride, but warning there are some bigger splashes so if you sit on the edge, you might get a little wet. The scenes you go through look very very real and Jack Sparrow really does look like Johnny Depp, it was almost scary.

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Speaking of scary, we went to the Haunted Mansion next, again one of my favorites. I loved the movie when I was little and so it was always a ride I would go back to again and again last time I was in Disney. The mansion looks gorgeous from the outside, something that is different from the Paris Disneyland. One of the things that make this ride so great, are the details. Notice the gravestones as you are waiting in line and look at all the paintings inside. It’s truly amazing.

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For lunch we just grabbed quick service to save time, so we could fit in more rides! We got very lucky because Big Thunder Mountain was closed during lunch and we managed to catch it right as they opened, with just a 20 minute wait. Big Thunder Mountain is fun rollercoaster through the old west and mines.

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Fantasyland is an adorable area through the castle. A lot of the little kid rides are there, some of which are a must. Peter Pan is one of my favorite rides, because it is so magical. You have to catch this at a good time, because a lot of the times we walked by it was a 120 minute wait. We managed to catch it with a 30 minute day on our second weekend, making it a must. On the second weekend we ended up eating dinner in Fantasyland at the Red Rose Tavern that has all sorts of foods, anything from flatbreads to burgers. Most importantly you can get Grey Stuff (it’s delicious :P)! The atmosphere is great in the tavern so I definitely recommend if you like Beauty and the Beast!
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Splash Mountain is a great ride! Prepare to get really wet, especially if you are sitting in the first three seats. It was  my first time on Splash Mountain and though I was a little nervous about the 50 foot drop, I was super excited! Definitely a must and definitely get a fast pass if you can! Also I suggest you get there earlier in the day, so that you have time to dry off before the sun goes down. We decided to dry off on another ride.

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Indiana Jones was next on our fast pass list. None of us knew what this ride was going to be. As we got into the car, we were excited to see what will happen. The ride was inside, recreating some of the most popular scenes from the movies in a thrilling way. It was very reminiscent of The Mummy ride in Universal, with it’s ups and downs and quick stops.

On the first day we went for dinner  to River Belle Terrace. Such an adorable place with really good food! I definitely recommend if you get the chance. We ended that day with an hour long way for Hyperspace Mountain, Astro Blasters and a run across the park at 11:30 for Big Thunder Mountain. We closed the park, which is the best way to do Disney! Come back to read about California Adventure!


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San Diego Road Trip

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