For fall break this semester we took a 10 day trip to Prague and Paris. I had never been to either place so it was much anticipated– more so for Prague than for Paris (an unexplainable gut feeling) And to my non-surprise, it turned out correctly. Prague was beyond magical. The palaces, castles, winding stair cases, gothic architecture, narrow staircases, chilly weather, homey food, and of course.. Czech boys made my time in Prague the best I’ve had in Europe. On the writing project I’m working on in Paros, it takes place mainly in Prague, because of that it added to my love for it and made my days there feel like walking through the pages. It was just as I had imagined, but better. Exceeding my expectations, the moody weather and beautiful people (really, really beautiful people!) But still remained comfortable. An inspiring and mysterious city… a place I imagine myself living one day.
One of my favorite days in Prague, Kearstin and I set out to find the bookstore “The Globe” that is a pivotal part in the story I’m writing… surprisingly we found it easily even with being 3 miles away and empty handed. It was cozy, full of books on Kafka and scrapbooked journals made from local Czech artists. I bought a Moleskine notebook full of Prague maps and blank pages soon to be filled easily with inspiration from Prague.
When it came time to leave Prague, Kearstin and I had to have our fingers pried from our hostel keys. Everything was just perfect in our time spent here. The hostel “Art Hole” is an absolute MUST place to stay if one ever goes to Prague. It was funky and cozy, everyone was so warm and welcoming, they offered authentic Czech Cuisine cooking classes at night, and I ended up meeting people from all over the world- all who were wonderful and friendly. The locals of Prague were so sweet and I just can’t say enough good things. I never wanted to leave, and ever since coming back have been plotting how to get back as soon as possible! A mysterious and romantic place. Just my cup of tea.
On to Paris…
Rain…. that’s what Paris was. It was rainy. On top of a travel day from Prague to Paris that was very reminiscent of what I imagine hell to be like (left Prague hostel at 4am, 6am flight, arrive Paris 7:30am, couldn’t check in to hostel– had to walk to Notre Dame in the pouring POURING rain and freezing cold, walk around Paris for 8+ hours no sleep..soaked shoes..looking like a zombie…etc, should I go on?)
The weather alone was enough to throw a traveler off. I couldn’t enjoy being outside and seeing the architecture and “liveliness” of Paris (no one was as crazy as us to even be outside) because every time we stepped out, we threw coats/jackets/hats/scarfs over our faces like mummies and sheltered ourselves from the freezing rain, running as fast as possible to the next indoor destination. Clearly not ideal. On top of that, our hostel was one of the worst I’ve ever experienced and I’ve been in some BAD hostels.. (rome, anyone?): no heat, no towels, one key for 4 people to a room, 4th floor, jail cell style bunk beds, kicked out of hostel every day from 11am-4pm (or 10am-3pm.. always changing), wifi at odd hours only and then shut off.. basically it was just rough. Most people were getting sick at this time because of the weather and weren’t able to sleep through the day because of the forced evacuation, so instead we had to wander the streets in the cold rain and it started a chain reaction of sickness making our time in Paris not as enjoyable as I had imagined (skipping through the sunny streets with croissants and riding on the back of a French boy in a beret’s scooter around the Eiffel Tower with a bouquet of flowers in one hand and a baguette in the other) Basically, Paris was no Prague. Aurevoir.
However, If there’s one thing that can make me the happiest girl in the world.. even on a miserable rainy cold day is a trip to a bookstore. And not only did I get just that but I got to go to the SHAKESPEARE AND CO BOOKSTORE. This is a trademark of Paris, it’s right near the Notre Dame and in the 1920’s was a gathering place for writers like Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, and Ford Madox Ford. Also if you’ve seen Midnight in Paris, it was featured there. Now, it continues to be a place where young writers can work and sleep. It was as amazing as it sounds, I’m someone who gets overwhelmed choosing a macaroon flavor so just imagine my experience here. I wandered around for hours until I came across the classic Hemingway “A Moveable Feast” which is all about his experiences in Paris and the places he went and loved in the city. I spent the following day when the sun came through wandering the Paris streets on my own, book in hand, and reading at cafes drinking cafe cremes and eating a baguette. Finally I got to feel like I was in Paris, and very happy to finally be in my element.
It was a long and overwhelming 10 days.. jam-packed with ups and downs in 2 incredible cities. I can’t wait to return on my own terms soon and experience Prague and Paris in my own way. There is nothing in this world I love as much as traveling, but still nothing beats the feeling of sitting on the upper deck of a ferry, salty cool air biting my cheeks and knowing that I’m on my way back to Paros. After all, There is no place like Greece!