Ka-Prague Tumibok ang Puso

Prague, Czech Republic’s capital, is a city you shouldn’t miss when you are in Europe. Here are 5 reasons how Prague swept me off my feet in a heartbeat.

1. Prague’s allure is like seeing a Disney movie, only that it is real. With its castles and other medieval-looking buildings to its narrow, cobblestone alleys, Prague will leave you in awe. The Prague Castle specially is a vision to behold.

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2. Prague and it’s view from atop offers a spectacular sight of the city. St. Vitus Cathedral has this view above, and so as the tower at Charles Bridge, where Vltava River showcases its splendor. Or maybe make your way to one of those hilly sites of the city, grab a beer, and watch Prague glow as night envelopes the city.

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3. I love sweet food. And the “trdelník”, a traditional Slovak rolled pastry originating from the Hungarian-speaking region of Transylvania, managed to tickle my sweet tooth. This delicacy is roasted over an open fire and covered in sugar (and at times, nuts). I had a great time observing how this pastry is prepared, more so when your tongue gets to taste it.

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4. Besides the gothic architecture evident around Prague, pastel-colored buildings (that looks like gingerbread houses), and unusual, modern ones do exist too. The contrast make the city more appealing, and pretty. The Dancing House is such a stand-out, you’ll find yourself having a selfie in front of it.

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5. Prague is a cheap city. Or maybe it is the entire Czechia that is affordable. From among the many European nations I have been to, this country stands out for its affordability – from the transportation to entrance fees to food.

Oooops, by the way, I also love their train stations. Each station seems to have a distinct character because of its artistic interior.

Have you been to Prague? What do you love most about this city?

Don’t be a wasted soul. Be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJUAN.

 

Tales from Trakai (Lithuania)

“The way to read a fairy tale is to throw yourself in.” ― W.H. Auden

Trakai, a town in Lithuania located south-west of its capital Vilnius and is a former capital city of Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It is a pretty small town surrounded by lakes, wherein the scenic Trakai Historical National Park can be found. To date, it has become extremely popular from among Lithuanians and other Eastern Europeans as a vacation destination making it one of the most visited spots on the cultural tourism map. It has even become a major landmark of Lithuania.

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The town is small enough for everything to be walked on foot, but there are also buses running from the bus station (where the buses from Vilnius also arrive/depart) to the Trakai Island Castle. The Trakai Island Castle, a 14th-century Gothic residence with some Renaissance features of Lithuanian dukes, is the main attraction in the town and has become a symbol of medieval Lithuania. I have learned that during the summer season, a lot of concerts and plays are staged here.

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Locals would say that Trakai is full of myths and secrets. One version is that of the story of Gediminas, a grand duke of Lithuania and one of the strongest medieval rulers of Eastern Europe. One day, he decided to hunt near a place called Kernave, a medieval capital of Lithuania. During his search, Gediminas saw a stunning landscape with lakes and islands to which he decided to build a castle in the middle of one of the lakes. Another version is a more romantic one. It is about a lovely woman named Birute who was a wife of a local duke. She was born in a seaside town who felt lonely because she misses her hometown. To make her happy, her husband gave her a unique gift — a castle surrounded by lakes. So there. Of course, there were also historical accounts but I am not very certain about its details.

Other sites worthy to visit are the Trakai Peninsula Castle, (this is the older of the two castles of Trakai), the Saint Mary Church – an originally gothic church altered during the Baroque period; and Galvė Lake, a relaxing nature spot where sailing can be done.

There are also restaurants worth trying. Most of which are known to serve Karaitian cuisine. If you want to stay overnight, several accommodations are also found.

Trakai is indeed a fairytale-like town. The architectural, natural and cultural wonders all add up to a wonderful experience visiting this seemingly magical place. I have to admit that Trakai is one of my favorites during Europe travel because it was simply fascinating, and yes, romantic!

Don’t be a wasted soul, be Juanderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.