Prague had been on my radar from quite some time. I know, I know, a stark Eastern European city in the short days of late Autumn isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but then again, I’m known for quirky travel choices. Case in point- Iceland over Spring break- but I digress…
Last year I convinced my niece Noelle and my “adopted niece” Jess to hop across the pond and visit Prague and experience the Christmas markets in Vienna. When we found out there were approximately twelve markets in the city, Noelle asked how many I’d like to visit. My answer was immediate and incredulous…
After spending a little time in Amsterdam, we arrived in Vienna running solely on coffee and adrenaline. We had been up for 30+ hours, but I would not/could not go to sleep before visiting at least one market. While Noelle and Jess had visions of a warm toasty bed, they could NOT allow someone 20+ years their senior, to stroll the Spittelberg Christkindlmarkt without them. Once we arrived, I believe they got their second wind, because we dropped our bags and were off!
It was AMAZING!
We had the most beautiful raclette, rosemary spiraled potatoes, and warm fruit cider and made our way back to the hotel to drift into slumberland -three very happy world travelers!
The next couple of days we crisscrossed the city visiting a total of seven Christmas Markets and collecting souvenir mugs from each one. Somehow my number of mugs far surpassed the number of markets, but then I’ve never been great at math. It was everything a hard-core Christmas lover could ever dream of!
I was truly mesmerized!
After stuffing ourselves with sacre torte, amazing Viennese coffee and still sloshing from the gallons of mulled cider we had ingested, we were off to the Czech Republic!
Our first night in Prague, we had a leisurely stroll through the streets of the city. We visited St. Wenceslas Square and soaked up the history. While taking in the sights, my niece Noelle, with her trained musician’s ear, heard the faint sound of bells pealing in the distance. Her pace quickened until she was running toward it. Soon Jess and I were on her heels. We followed the beautiful ringing until the narrow street spilled out onto one of the most beautiful sights I’d ever seen!
It was truly like a scene from a storybook. A dramatic neo-Gothic church with soaring spires served as the backdrop for a quaint and heartwarmingly festive Christmas market.
As I write, I can still feel my heart swell with the emotions evoked by this picture-perfect setting.
I have loved Christmas my entire life. When my Grandparents passed away several years ago, I feared I had lost some of the joy and anticipation. They had been so closely tied to nearly every warm holiday memory, but when the Christmas season neared that year, I felt the familiar stirring- the same stirring I now felt standing in one of the most be beautiful places I’d even seen, with some of my favorite people!
Until next time, Veselé Vánoce (Merry Christmas) today and everyday!