I’ve already posted a Part I about the first five cities of our journey. This part was probably my favorite stretch of The Sister Era, all the way from Czech Republic to a couple of German cities that will be in the next post. This part of the continent is beautiful and the food is delicious. I will be back.
Most Likely to Resemble Disneyworld: Prague, Czech Republic
This city is so picturesque and clean, it looks fake. I had to keep reminding myself that Disneyworld copied cities like this, not the other way around. The town reminded me of Christmas (and not just because it was cold). Every experience could be a hallmark card, from exploring a castle with a sweeping view, to watching the filming of a show set in the 17th century (Outlander), to listening to a string quartet play Cotton-Eyed Joe on the St. Charles bridge while the late afternoon light slanted across the river.
8/10 (I’d like to eventually go back alone and poke around all the little shops.)
Most Likely to Make Me Enjoy Vodka: Krakow, Poland
Like any self-respecting college student, I have only ever drunk vodka of the cheapest quality. However, in Krakow, some new friends and I went to a sort of tasting bar with an astonishing variety of Polish vodkas. I tried 10 incredibly diverse types (small samples of course, didn’t want to drink myself under the table), from a sort of honey-wine vodka, to a sweet cherry variety, to one particularly nasty one with a super high alcohol content, to a surprisingly good dry one that tasted like pepper and gin. The cream of the crop, though, was an espresso vodka. Turns out that while alcohol may ruin the taste of coffee, coffee greatly improves the taste of alcohol.
8/10 (Not to mention the food—oh, don’t get me started on the food.)
Stinkiest Roommates Award: Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is a lovely city, and our hostel was light, airy, and comfortable. The only downside was that we had two roommates who apparently never showered, and hardly left the dorm room. Their aroma permeated the entire room, so that when you opened the door, it was like hitting a wall. And that was with the windows open. This was a good reason to get out and see the city, not that we needed an incentive.
7/10 (I didn’t get to see much of the city and would like to go back.)
–Edit: Since I wrote this, I have stayed in multiple stinky dorm rooms. None as bad as this one, thank goodness, but still. Europe, you need to work on your hygiene. I never had this problem in Latin America.
Most Likely to Make History Relevant: Berlin, Germany
I didn’t retain much information about World War II or the Cold War in high school. Through my German classes in college, I managed to pick up a little bit more, but still not a complete picture. I rarely find history interesting. However, it suddenly became a lot more relevant when I was standing in the middle of a centuries-old city in which half the buildings looked brand-new because their predecessors had been destroyed by bombs. To add to that, I had just walked the empty razor-straight roads of Auschwitz-Birkenau a few days earlier. In Berlin, by the end of an excellent free walking tour, the incredible changes that have swept back and forth across Germany in the last century snapped clearly into focus for me.
8/10 (Again, I need more time in the city.)
Most Likely to Not be Remembered: Munich, Germany; Oktoberfest Edition
I think I spent a couple of hours my first night in Munich standing on a picnic table bench in the middle of a huge tent, clutching a heavy glass tankard of Bavaria’s finest, singing along to songs I didn’t know, surrounded by hordes of people doing the same thing. Welcome to Oktoberfest. In line with that, I didn’t get a single picture.
7/10 (The city is lovely, too.)
But hold onto your trousers–there’s a Part III to come.