Tag Archives: Prague

The Most Beautiful City in the World

I have travelled quite a bit over the past few years and while I haven’t seen a lot of cities, I have seen enough to know what I think, in my eyes, is the most beautiful City in the world.

 

For anyone who knows me, they already know my answer.  It’s the city that changed me forever.  The city that touched my heart and soul and will forever live there, no matter where I go and what I see.  The city with a magical and mystical feeling to it.  The city where so many people made me feel like I belonged and I truly found myself.

 

That city is Prague – the city of 100 spires.  Set in Central Europe, it is a city that is drenched in medieval history and yet has a modern touch to it.  The amazing sites to see, the friendliness of the people and of course the cheap and delicious beer!!!  In my opinion, this is the City that EVERYONE should see in their lifetime.  It is forever etched in my memories as one of the most memorable times of my life.

 

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In search of myself

When I first started traveling three years ago (which seems more like a lifetime ago!), I never really thought that I was in search of myself.  I just knew I needed a change in my life, that my job was making me feel stagnant, and that I was ready to discover more about the world.  I thought I was a well-grounded person then, who knew what she wanted and what she was going to do with the rest of her life.  What has happened in the past three years has definitely changed all of that thinking.

 

A friend asked me recently if I felt I had been “living a lie” before I started out on this new life.  If I had noticed a change in myself after a few short weeks of my new life.  I answered pretty quickly and said that while I didn’t think I had been living a lie, I think what I had been doing was living a life that everyone else was living.  A predictable, safe life.  Working 9-5, paying my bills, hanging out with friends.  Don’t get me wrong – I had a fun life in Calgary!  I worked at a great company, I had the best friends (and still have them!), and lived in a nice area in a nice house.  It was safe.  It was what everyone expected someone of my age to be doing.  And I really loved my life in Calgary.  So what made me want to leave such a great life?   I wanted to travel.  I wanted to live in another country. 

 

I never considered my life BP (before Prague) as an unhappy life.  Was it an unfulfilled life?  Yes, I believe that now.  My job, while it was a really good job, was just that.  A job.  Not a career.  Not something I could see myself doing for years (even though I had done it for almost 30 years).  I knew in my heart that there was something more that I wanted to do, and that I just needed to find out what it was.

 

One month after arriving in Prague, I graduated from my TEFL program, and was officially a TEFL certified teacher.  I knew right then that my life had changed.  I knew I would never go back to my old life.  I knew that Europe was where I was going to be for a while.  Prague was amazing.  I found my self-confidence grew while I was there.  I found out that I loved teaching – that teaching was not a job but a career.  My self-esteem improved.  I no longer felt awkward.  I no longer felt like I was in the shadows of someone else, trying to show that I was just as good as they were.  I no longer felt that I needed to be in a relationship to be truly happy. 

 

So, almost three years later, I can answer that question my friend asked me honestly.  No, I wasn’t living a lie.  I was living my BP life.  I was living the life I needed to then.  I am now living the life I dreamt of, and am happier than I have ever been!  I don’t regret a moment of my BP life, nor do I regret any moment I have had since leaving Canada.  I am happy.  I am content.  And I am strong.  That is the biggest thing I have learned about myself.  The strength I have inside.  And I am now ready for my SA life!!  (South American life haha).

Bucket list dreams

Growing up in a small Ontario city, one dreams of having the chance to see and maybe even live in exciting cities of the world. But how many of us actually get to do that?  I am sure people would be surprised to hear that many of us do!

I am one of those people. I grew up in Welland, Ontario ~ a small industrial city in Southern Ontario, close to Niagara Falls.  I enjoyed growing up there. I had lots of friends, school was fun for the most part, but then I turned 16 and I started dreaming of moving away. Toronto and New York City were the big cities that I wanted to see and live in! 

I did end up moving to Toronto when I was 19. I stayed a few years, moved to London, Ontario and got married. Yet I still had that itch to see more than Southern Ontario. I just could not see myself being brave enough to get out in the world. 
A few years ( and a divorce) later found me and my daughter heading to New York City. One of my bucket list items came off my list!! 
Single motherhood became my most important job then and so the bucket list had to wait.

A move to Calgary and discovering a new confidence in myself found me looking at European opportunities to work. A trip to Italy in April 2014 took another bucket list item off and added so many more to it!!!  I knew I had the courage to make a move.

In November 2014, after quitting my job, I moved to Prague to start a new life.  Teaching English was never on my bucket list but its enabled me to see London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Dresden, and now China. And I have a career now ~ not just a job.

I loved growing up in Welland and I wouldn’t trade my memories of my childhood for anything, but I am so proud of myself to have made it as far in the world as I have.  I can only hope that I inspire my children to live life with all their potential and to see just how far they can go, with hard work and a bucket list!!

Czech Republic ~ my top 10 places to see

​I lived in the Czech Republic for almost two years before moving to China. It is my second hone, after Canada, so I thought I would share my top 10 places to see there.

1.  Cesky Krumlov ~ without a doubt, this is the most beautiful, quaintest, peaceful town I have ever encountered. The history, the magnificent castle and its grounds, the food. Many people will visit only for a day but to get a real feel of the town, you need to take your time, walk through the alleys, visit the shops and imagine you are there back in the medieval era. Spend a weekend at one of the quaint bed and breakfasts. It is worth it! 

2. Konopiste ~ again it is a castle town. This country has so many castles to see but this should be near the top of your list. Set away from town, surrounded by trees and the prettiest lake, is a castle out of a story book. I spent about 5 hours wandering through the grounds, having a picnic by the lake, and people watching. A stunning site to see.

3.  Karlstejn ~ another castle but so much more. This castle is built above a town, and the town is a site to see on its own! The many shops selling uniquely Czech goods, the aroma of the food (sausages ~ oh the sausages!) ~ its a short train ride away from Prague and a wonderful place to spend a day.

4. Prague Castle ~ my friends will be shocked to see this is number 4 on my list! This Castle has my soul ~ it is a magnificent place. The gardens, St. Vitus Cathedral, the quiet alleys, the incredible views of Prague.  There is one special spot in my heart for this Castle. Its amazing to see anytime, but at night, when most of the tourists are in a pub drinking pivo (beer), this place is magical. Serene. Take the time to go at night and you will understand.

5.  Charles Bridge ~ you simply cannot visit this medieval city and not walk on the famous bridge!  There is much to see ~ statues, the Vltava River, the buskers, the people. It is very busy on weekends so try to go on a weekday. 

6.  Divoka Sarka ~ at the end of one of the tram lines is what looks like a big forest area. But once you wander down the hill and are enveloped with the trees and the cliffs and the bubbling creek, you will know why this is on my list. It was my place to escape. Its quiet with an occasional group of people biking, or walking, or having a picnic. Whenever I was having a stressful day, I would get on the tram and walk. You can walk for hours and I did many times.  It had an interesting history as well. Many battles happened here and you will see signs throughout the park but not in English.  

7.  Kutna Hora ~ the town with a church of bones!  I am not kidding ~ there is a bone church in this town!  It is fascinating and quite spooky at the same time. It will chill you!  The town also has a beautiful square and incredible views.

8.  Old Town Square in Prague and the Astronomical Clock ~ one of the main attractions of Prague is the Astronomical clock. Definitely stay and watch the hour chime in and watch the clock’s animation. Then go and enjoy the square. Jan Hus Statue, the horse and carriages, the aroma of food ~ try trdelnik (a pastry) or langos (its like fried bread with sauce ~ its different and popular).  Wander through the narrow cobblestone roads and turn a corner and you will find even more sites and pubs!

9.  Wenceslas Square ~ so many shops!! And this is where you will find the best sausages. Well all of Prague has amazing sausages but you will find a lot here. Oh how I miss the sausages.  

10.  Letna Park ~ in case you couldn’t tell, I love walking. And this park is the best for that because it not only has wonderfully wide paths, and parks for kids, but at the end ~ you will come to the Letna Beer Garden. I could not end my list without including this place, and Czech beer. The views of the city are absolutely the most incredible, and the beer is cold. And yes you can get sausages here too!  Try Kozel, or Gambrinus ~ its a favourite place for many people to go to in the summer.

I could go on and make this a top 100 list ~ I have such incredible memories of this amazing country.  It is not a country to miss if you are in Central Europe.