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10 Things to do in Prague, Czech Republic

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10 Things to do in Prague

Historical fact: Prague Castle, begun in the 9th century, is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest castle in the world.

When it comes to making a list of things to do in Prague, Czech Republic, you know it is not going to be complete without a fair amount of mid-evil castles and churches, cool bars and pubs with cheap beer, and awesome gothic looking architecture. Here is a guide to show you just where to find those things and more!

 1. Old Town (Stare Mesto)

Old Towns in any city in Europe are always on the top of my list, because I love them! In this one, many houses, churches and other structures, dating back to the 13th century, make for some awesome photos opportunities, or for just touring some of the world’s best old architecture. Notable structures include the Old Town Hall and Astronomical Clock, the Carolinum, the Municipal House and the Estates Theater.

2. Old Town Square (Staromestske namesti)

In the center of historic area of Prague is this lively square is surrounded 10 Things to do in Pragueby great looking buildings, vibrant cafes, street entertainers and craftspeople. Any time I book a hostel in a city, I try to find one in or near the Old Town. I just loved those areas.

 

3.Charles Bridge (Karluv Most)

This bridge between Old town and Lesser Town, is filled with musicians, painters, vendors and tourists during the summertime. It’s pretty common practice for lovers to put their locks on the bridge as well. It’s definitely worth a visit.

 

4. Prague Castle (Prazsky Hrad)

The most popular sight in the city is this awesome castle, situated on a hill overlooking the Vltava River. It truly reflects the city’s Bohemian architecture. Inside the castle walls are three courtyards, nice gardens, vendors, and restaurants. St Vitus Cathedral is also within the castle. The cathedral has 21 chapels and the famous archway, the Golden Portal entrance, containing a mosaic of The last Judgment from 1370.

10 Things to do in Prague

5. Lobkowicz Palace

Lobkowicz Palace is the oldest and largest art collection in the Czech Republic. There’s over 600 years of Czech and European history inside.

6. Church of Bones in Kutna Hora (Kostnice)

10 Things to do in Prague

Ok, so the church of bones isn’t IN Prague, but it’s worth the hour drive to Kutna Hora, or 2 hour by bus, to see. in the 13th century, Jindřich, the abbot of Sedlec monastery, sprinkled soil from the Holy Land in Palestine onto the cemetery surrounding the Chapel of All Saints. The correlation with The Holy Land made the cemetery so sought after, that it was soon over crowded, and they started storing the bones inside the chapel. It is estimated that there are remains of around 40,000 people in the church

7. Churches, Cathedrals and Synagogues.

10 Things to do in Prague
St. Vitus Cathedral

This is med-evil Europe at it’s finest, and it would be nearly impossible to miss seeing one of these awesome old buildings when in Prague, but if you want to seek out some of the best, here are a few: St. Vitus Cathedral (Chram Svateho Vita) is the most important and largest church in Prague, and is located at the Prague Castle. Also worth a gander: Church of St. Nicholas (Chram Svateho Mikulase), Spanish Synagogue (Spanelska Synagoga), and Church of the Virgin Mary Before Tyn (Kostel Panny Marie Pred Tynem)

8. Prague Zoo (Zoo Praha)

One of the best attraction for kids in Prague is the newly renovated zoo – now one of the best in Europe with huge open spaces for animals and great  trails for visitors. Kids will love it! You can be face to face with a giraffe, see a polar bear swimming or walk through a monkey habitat.

Newly renovated, this zoo is one of the best in Europe, offering lots of open areas for animals, trails for visitors and chances to see a lot of diversity. Very popular with families with kids. They even let you walk through a cool monkey habitat.

9. KGB musuem

This Unique museum offers a look into the days the USSR ruled the secret service world. There’s tons of items related to the activities of the Soviet Secret Service to see, for people interested in this era.  Other cool museums that are worth seeing include: Museum Kampa-Sovovy Mlyny, Czech Museum of Music, Sternberk Palace, Alfrons Mucha Museum,

10. Eating and Drinking

When it comes to the local bar scene here in Prague, you on’t have to go far to find something you are looking for. When I asked a few other travelers what places they liked in Prague, they all agreed on two things: There are a ton of cool bars and pubs in Prague, and it was awesome to be able to get a good beer for around 1 euro. Here are some great bars, pubs and clubs to check out when you are in town; Absintherie, Ungelt Blues and Jazz Club, Agartha, Rocky O’Reillys Bar, Lavke Bar and Club, Double Trouble Bar and Club, Dubliner’s Irish Bar, O’Che’s Bar, and many many more. Try to taste all of the local brews if you can!

 

 

 

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4 Reasons You Why You Should Hitchhike

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Oh the places you’ll see

 

Reagan … stood on the corner of routes 26 and 29 in Ohio while thumbing a ride to Dixon.
– Ronald Reagan Birthplace website

 

“Hitchhiking is dangerous!” “No one hitchhikes anymore!” “ Aren’t you afraid of being murdered or something??”

I heard these questions and more from every ride that picked me up. They have all they’re Hitchhiking theories from movies, and they have to tell me! I hitched for two months around Europe, through 16 countries, and never got murdered once. Actually I never even had a remotely bad experience. I’ve also hitched in other places like Brazil, Mozambique and Australia, so don’t think I would try to sell you on something I haven’t tried myself.

Hitching not only saved me a boat-load of money, it also really spiced up my travels, allowing me to experience great things that I could never have planned or dreamed of. Things that were totally spontaneous, and that I will remember always.

 

Click here to read more about my European Hitchhiking adventure

 So for those skeptics who still aren’t convinced, let me give you a few more reasons and benefits for hitchhiking.

1: Budget travel. Ok, this is the obvious one, but maybe you don’t quite see the potential here. When someone wants to go on a big trip, transportation costs can be a major factor in needing a high budget. For many, this is enough of a reason why they cant come up with their projected budget, and never leave. I estimate that, with the amount of traveling I did in Europe in two months- well over 3000 kilometers- it would have costed me more than $1000 had I been using trains and buses. That’s a huge amount to subtract from your budget need. (And that was only two months of travel!)

 

2. Potential for spontaneity. Instead of being stuck looking out of the bus window at the great scenery, you can go on an adventure. When I was hitching around Lake Como, I mentioned to my ride that It was my first time in Italy. He immediately pulled off the main road and took me on a tour of a beautiful little town called Gravedona. It turned out to be one of the prettiest little towns I’ve ever been to! Before dropping me off he bought me a coffee at a lake side cafe  I never would have made these memories from a passing bus.

Archbishop Dell’Acqua’s car had broken down en route to Monte Cassino and he had had to “hitchhike” in order to get there in advance of the Pope, whose speech he was carrying. 
– Report on Conversation between Archbishop Angelo Dell’Acqua, Substitute for Ordinary Affairs, Secretariat of State, the Vatican, and US Ambassador William Sherman, Rome, October 30, 1964

3. Freedom. Is there anyone more free than a hitchhiker without a schedule or set plans? I doubt it. Another time in Italy I was having a hard time finding a car heading my way, so I said “screw it” and decided to take the next car, no matter where it was going. I ended up in Innsbruck  Austria, having gone through one of the most beautiful routes in Europe, through the Alps. Now THAT I will remember.

4. Memories. I remember nearly every ride, and with fondness, that I have taken. Its not just the rides either, its walking down long deserted highways among nature and beautiful scenery, while everyone in their buses zoom by not seeing a thing. You know how many bus or train rides I remember? One: The one that sucked so bad that I got off and hitched.

 

Inspiring Travelers: Kimmy and Drew

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Inspiring Travelers

Kimmy and Drew are the couple behind the blog Afterglobe.net, who can teach us all something about going after our dreams. They have basically decided to quit the American dream and go after their own. Their blog covers their journey to do just that: Getting out of debt, planning for long term travel, and making living their dreams a reality. They are doing what it takes to get out from under anything that is holding them down, so they can hit the road. I got the chance to ask Kimmy some questions, and she had some inspiring answers for me!

-Your blog has really struck the right nerve with me since I discovered it, because I can relate to the feelings you guys have and the process you are going through. I will always recommend your blog to people who have it in their heads that they are unsatisfied with the “American Dream”, and living the way society deems appropriate, and would love to chase they’re dreams instead.

Kimmy-

Thanks. I never think that anyone besides our friends and family reads it, since we are just getting started. Of course, we hope to build a large audience in the future.

My first question is, for those who need that extra little push, what advice would you give them to get them started living their dream?

Kimmy-

Whatever it is, just do it! I know, it sounds so cliché. But, it really is that easy. We are the ones who hold ourselves back from our dreams.

In general, we are programmed to survive. When we try to break-away from that norm, it’s scary. We tell ourselves we can’t do it. Others tell us we can’t do it. Everyone agrees that we will be safer and more comfortable if we just stay right where we are.

We buy things we don’t need, while holding on to things we don’t even want anymore because some day we might find a use for it or it has sentimental value. We buy new things, but don’t get rid of the old. Instead we put our old stuff into storage and pay to store it while also paying interest on the new things we just bought only to end up with more debt and more things we simply don’t need. But, we sure do want them. It’s like we mount all of these items on our backs, refuse to give them up and weigh ourselves down throughout our lives with them.

Inspiring Travelers

 

You have to take that first step towards whatever your dream is. Don’t listen to the negative inside your head or from others. Make a plan to go after your goal and do whatever you need to do to make that plan happen. No one, except yourself, can really hold you back.

Do you get any flack from your family and friends about your plans? I’m sure getting out of debt is encouraged by all, but what about the hitting the road part?

Kimmy-

Everyone has been really positive about us getting out of debt. They understand where we are coming from with that. My uncle sent us a book about getting out of debt and has emailed all kinds of helpful information. Friends have sent us a lot of helpful information, too. We didn’t even realize how much supportive information was out there until we shared with others that we were working towards getting out of debt. We’ve even had friends who said that we motivated them to take a look at their finances and are now working towards getting out of debt, too. That part has been awesome!

As far as hitting the road, so far, so good. We’ve been telling people slowly. First we talked to a few close friends about it and then my mom and daughter. After that, we shared the information with friends at our joint birthday party. We made this big announcement and it was a ton of fun. Everyone’s been really supportive and positive about the whole thing. Many have expressed being sad that we will be leaving, but they are happy for us at the same time.

However, we haven’t told everyone we need to tell. Most of those we haven’t told are those who are typically negative about the things we want to do with our live or tell us we can’t do something. We’ve talked about telling them and know we need to, but want to wait a little longer to enjoy our parade before they try to rain on it. Not that what they will say will change anything. We aren’t going to give up our dreams to make others feel better. We just want to put off the negativity that come from those people a little longer.

So what’s your ultimate goal? You get out of debt and anything else that is holding you down, and then you just hit the road? Or are you making a set plan, itineraries and goals? How long do you want to be gone?

Kimmy-

Yes, first we get out of debt. We’ve cut down going out all of the time and only buy things we really need. Everything else goes towards paying off our debt. We are also in the process of going through everything to start selling as much as possible through Craigslist, eBay, Etsy and garage sales. Everything we make from those sales will go towards paying off our debt, as well as anything we make from side jobs. Once we get our debt paid off we will put all of that money into savings and try to build as big of a hit the road fund as possible. Then our house goes on the market.

Deciding to sell our house was huge for us. We bought it three years
ago, restored it back to it’s original mid-century modern charm and absolutely love it. It was hard to decide to let it go. Then we realized it could hold us back from going, cause us undue stress while we are trying to travel and would be crushed it we rented it out only to come back to find it trashed. We also realized that we had no idea where our journey was going to take us after we traveled and didn’t want anything forcing us to go back somewhere.

We don’t have a huge amount of our trip planned. We know when we first leave we will be going on a 3 month road trip of the US to see all of those places we’ve always wanted to see and never have. We also want to visit friends before we leave the country. After that, we are leaving the US via the Hawaiian Islands. We love it there and have always wanted to be able to stay there for an extended amount of time.  We plan on volunteering our way through the islands to finally give us that opportunity.

After that, the world is our oyster. We have a long list of places we want to see. We know we will either go to Fiji, New Zealand or Australia after Hawaii. We want to be gone as long as it takes to see all of the places on our list. we expect it to take years. We plan on moving slow and making money when we can. We are lucky to have friends who are connecting us with their friends and family for places to stay and work while we travel.

One reason your blog really intrigues me is because it truly starts your story from the beginning. Now you are going through (and sharing) the build-up of your big adventure, talking about what you have to go through to get it done, and the sacrifices you make along the way to ensure you are able to live your dreams. Then later on, I’m sure we will see the stories and excitement and surprises and discoveries that come with being a brand new traveler. Later on down the road you will be a seasoned traveler giving great travel tips. So it’s the whole package. I guess that wasn’t really  a question, but had you thought of it in this way?

Kimmy-

HA! Yes, I have. It didn’t start out that way, though. I made three goals for us. Get out of debt. Save to be able travel the world. Go see the world. I needed to make a plan to reach those goals. I thought creating a website would be good for us to document everything, help hold us accountable and possibly help others in the process. As I started it, I realized how quickly it was going to evolve into so much more than just paying off our debt.We can’t wait to get to the part of our journey where we get to share our travels with everyone!

Well, you guys are an inspiration. One last Hypothetical question: If you could travel with anyone, living, dead or fictional, who would it be?

Kimmy-

That’s always such a hard question. The first person that popped into my mind was Marilyn Monroe. Silly, I know and what a hot mess. I actually think she would be horrible to travel with. When I asked Drew he first said, Jim Morrison, which I knew was going to be his answer. Then he changed his mind because Jim was also a hot mess. I guess famous people who’s work you enjoy always pop into your mind first. We couldn’t think of anyone that we would really want to travel with beside each other. Made to Travel the World

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How to Say ‘Cheers!’ Around Europe

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I travel a lot, and people always ask me how I can get through all of these place, when I only speak English. Nearly every country in Europe has it’s own language!

I always tell them that in or before each country, I try to learn the basic phases to get me by. Yes, you can go virtually anywhere on just English, but how fun is that?

Below I have compiled the basics of what I’ve learned. I think the word “toilet” is nearly universal, so we can skip that one, and get to the really important stuff. Here’s how to say “Cheers!” in some of the European countries I’ve been to. That should get you by and ensure you make good friends.

Austria-    Prosit

Bosnia–    Zivjeli

Bulgaria–    Na zdrave (to your health)

Croatia–    Zivjeli

Czech Rep–    Na zdraví (to your health)

Denmark, Sweden, Norway-    skaal / Skål
Bunden i vejret eller resten i håret (Bottoms up or the rest in your hair.)

Netherlands– (Flemish)- Proost. Proost, Geluk, or Gezondheid (to your health)

Uk– Cheers, cherio, Here’s mud in your eye

Estonian– terviseks (to your health) it’s pronounced tervy-sex. Which gets turned into dirty-sex, if you’re me and think you’re funny.

Finnish. Kippis. Maljanne

France–    A votre sante
(À votre) santé (to your health) À la votre (response “And to yours”)

Ireland, Gaelic–    Sláinte (to your health)

German- Prost

Greece-     Eis Igian

Hungary-    Kedves egeszsegere (to your health)

Italy    – Cin cin (formal) Salute (informal)

Latvian–    Uz veselibu

Macedonian–    Na zdravje! (to your health).  -OK, a lot of East Europe sounds like this..

Poland– Na zdrowie. Vivat
Na zdrowie (to your health) -see what I mean!?

Portuguese–    Saude (to your health)

Romanian–    Noroc (“Good luck”)

Russian. Na zdorovje. Spasibo- thank you

Serbia–    Zivio Ziveli -pronounced ‘zjee-ve-lee’, meaning ‘Let’s live long!’

Ukraine– ‘Budmo!’. This means “shall we live forever”

 

That should do for now, and please, when you’re drinking a Saku in Estonia, say the cheers my way, and then tell me about it! Do you know how to say cheers in another country that I didn’t mention? Leave it in the comments!

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10 Things You Should Never Tell An Irishman

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Fun Fact: The town in Ireland with one of the longest name is Muckanaghederdauhaulia, meaning “piggery between two briny places”

“Top of the mornin to ye!” well I guess we got number one out of the way, on the list of things never to say to an Irishman. The phrase is so stereotypical for the Irish that sometimes you just can’t help it when you meet you’re Irish mate at the Paddy pub for a good ole Guinness.

But, unless you are a cartoon, red-headed leprechaun looking for you’re shamrock and pot of gold, you might best avoid it unless you want a smack.

Once my Irish friend asked “what’s the craic”? (pronounced ‘crack’) And I told him I didn’t do drugs. Evidently craic is Gaelic for fun or happenings or whatever, depending in the context. “Needer do I, ye fook”, was usually the response

There are more things that you shouldn’t say to an Irishman, but just to be thorough, I asked my Irish friends to help with the list. This is their feedback.

-“You’ve had enough.”
-“we are out of beer.”
-“Ireland is part of the UK.”
-“Do the curtains match the drapes?”
-“Hurling is for sissies.” if you know the sport, you know what I’m talking about.
-“Belfast is the best city in Ireland.”
-“Gaelic is worthless.”
-“American football is better.”
-They wont appreciate a good “mom” joke

 

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The Worst Hostel in the World, As Advertised

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Brinker hotel entrance

Here in Amsterdam, I think I may have finally found the worst hostel in the World. I certainly can’t be wrong, because even the owners agree.

The Worst Hostel in the World
Photos from Hans Brinker Hostel Website

“The best cheap youth hostel I’ve stayed in since my sentence was suspended.” 
– Michael, New York.

“What can I say? It was cheap. But not that cheap. I mean, a bus shelter offers the same facilities.”
– Charlotte, Texas.

These  advertising (possibly) geniuses somehow do a good business  by promoting their own hostel as the worst in the world. I didn’t stay at Hans Brinker youth Hostel here in Amsterdam, but I was so amused by their self degrading rhetoric on their posters and website, that I had to share.

Photos from Hans Brinker Hostel Website

From their website:

Welcome to the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel, Amsterdam.

The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel has been proudly disappointing travellers for forty years. Boasting levels of comfort comparable to a minimum-security prison, the Hans Brinker also offers some plumbing and an intermittently open canteen serving a wide range of dishes based on runny eggs.

8_dining
Photos from Hans Brinker Hostel Website
The Worst Hostel in the World
Photos from Hans Brinker Hostel Website

Other Hans Brinker Budget Hotel, Amsterdam services and amenities include:
– A basement bar with limited light and no fresh air.
– A concrete courtyard where you can relax and enjoy whatever sunshine is able to pass the high buildings on either side on the extremely infrequent days when it’s actually sunny.
– An elevator that almost never breaks down between floors.
– A bar serving slightly watered down beer.
– Amusing witticisms and speculations about former guests’ sexual preferences scrawled on most surfaces.
– The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel, Amsterdam Luxury Ambassadorial Suite (featuring the Hans Brinker’s one and only bath-tub).
– Doors that lock.

 

Amsterdams-Hans-Brinker-Budget-Hotel-main
Photos from Hans Brinker Hostel Website

 

Apparently this crazy advertising is working with budget travelers and students, and they are flocking in to experience Hans Brinker. When they advertise this way, I suppose no one can be surprised about anything.  I will leave you with with this final word from the Hans Brinker website about their Eco friendly side:

“The Bans Brinker budget hotel has been helping the planet, unintentionally,  since 1970. yes, here is a hotel where the light bulbs don’t work. a hotel whose showers have less hot water then is standard. where the elevator stays out of order for days. and whose vacuum cleaner’s buttons are rarely switched on. we have towels that need washing on a much higher heat. We advise guests to use the curtains to dry off, instead of a towel.”

 

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