Straight from the Journal: Austria and Czech Republic

Dearest Journal,

Vienna was wonderful. We arrived at about 5pm on June 12th and headed out shortly afterwards for our night tour. I was dropped off about 1km away from Maria Theresa Platz where I was to meet Andy at 7pm. Andy is my brother’s Viennese friend who stayed with us for a few weeks last July. We spent hours walking and talking, and about 0.5 seconds woofing down vegan chocolate gelato.

The following day, some Contiki friends and I headed off to see Hundertwasserhaus: one of many outlandish buildings designed by Austrian artist and architect, Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Its bold colours and peculiar shapes add character to an otherwise monotonous street.  At the souvenir shop, I purchased a special notebook embellished with pictures of Hundertwasser’s works and quotes of his that resonate with me. It’s the first souvenier I’ve bought so far.

About an hour later we wound up at Wiener Rathaus (city hall) where the 2017 Life Ball was held three days prior. Life Ball is the biggest charity event in Europe, supporting people with HIV and AIDS. This year’s guest stars included Naomi Campbell, 2014 Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst, Susan Holmes and Amanda Lepore. It isn’t usually open to the public outside special events, but we were lucky enough to be granted entry during clean-up from the ball. We were welcomed with grand staircases and opulent chandeliers. Outside, a large LGBT flag was fixed to the hall, dancing in the wind as though my camera was its audience. I feel very privileged to have walked on the same ground as some of the world’s most inspirational and influential people. We spent the night at Prater Fun Park and Andy came along. There were rides aplenty, no lines and good food. I LOVED it! One of the rides was a giant pendulum that performed 360-degree swings for a generous 3 minutes; I was citing my own eulogy in-between squeals.

DSC_0419_edited
Vienna City Hall

 

DSC_0414_edited
Vienna City Hall

On June 14th we made our way to Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic, before coming to Prague. It ties with Dubrovnik as my favourite town so far – another fairy tale land. I was speechless. We were only there for two hours but I made the most of it and snapped some good pics.

DSC_0509_edited
Cesky Krumlov

 

DSC_0448_edited
Cesky Krumlov

Prague was very hot today. We had a city bike tour that involved dodging cars and praying for the best. Australia is relatively new to the whole ‘sharing roads’ thing, so I’d rate it as one of my top 5 near-death experiences. It’s up there with the time I fell out of a 3m high cubby house and prepared for the afterlife: ‘You’ve lived a good life,’ I consoled my seven-year-old self. We paid visit to the Torture Museum which was a stomach churning experience. I can’t fathom what it would be like to live in those times. The John Lennon Peace Wall was a much-needed mood changer. It’s a major tourist attraction where people go to write messages of love, encouragement and peace. Whilst the wall gets repainted over regularly to create a blank canvas for new tourists, it’s nice to know that each layer is personalised by people from all over the world, including me. I wrote, ‘Smile awhile. When you smile, another smiles, and soon there will be miles and miles of smiles. Life is so worthwhile when you smile’ on behalf of Dad who shared the quote with me.

DSC_0554_edited

DSC_0541_edited

Tomorrow we’re off to Dachau and Munich. Two more days ‘til I’m 21. Wow.

Night Journal, you precious thing.

P.S Everyone’s been admiring you.

Love,

Angie

Fast Facts About Each Place I Visited in Europe. EDITION 1.

  • Prague, Czech Republic

    • Charles Bridge is THE BEST for people-watching.
    • The Torture Museum is a great way to regurgitate your lunch.
    • Sharing the road as a cyclist is bloody terrifying if you’re a first timer. I recommend doing a bike tour!
  • Edinburgh, UK

    • Looked nice from inside my hostel where I was bedridden for 4 days. Woe is me; I can hear the violins.
    • Edinburgh Castle provides spectacular views of the gorgeous city. Visit St Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest building in Edinburgh.
    • One of its burger joints felt comfortable dishing me up an unripe avocado with my meal. I didn’t complain, but my heart was sad.

 

  • London, UK

    • As someone who considers Australia’s warmth normal, London’s weather can be a shock to the system. The chill makes it cosy, though, and the extra hours of sunlight during summer is a bonus for anyone on limited time.
    • Londoners stand to the right on escalators and walk on the left, so make sure you observe the etiquette to avoid groans of commuters maneuvering around you. I learnt that the hard way!
    • It truly is a city that never sleeps. At any one time, there could be Yoda stealing children’s hats in Trafalgar Square, crowds of huddled tourists watching a surprisingly average electrician van exit the Buckingham Palace, and a squirrel munching on an acorn in Hyde Park.
  • Venice, Italy

    • Pigeons are aggressive. They do, however, provide free entertainment as you watch them attack others. Have I become Satan?
    • The sound of water lapping against your gondola while you take in the surroundings of stone bridges and colourful buildings, has all the ingredients of a tranquil experience. I kept getting tingly goosebumps.
    • The Bell Tower is the best way to view the city whilst rubbing shoulders with every Tom, Dick and Harry out there.
  • Corfu, Greece

    • Safety precautions are minimal when it comes to parasailing. Granted, I’m alive to tell the tale as with most people, but I’d say it’s safer to save those activities for places with stricter regulations.
    • Away from the crowds of the main Greek islands, Corfu is the perfect place for peace and serenity.
    • Car hire offers accessibility to the island’s many divine beaches.
  • Florence, Italy

    • Apartments on a bridge? Need I say more.
    • Home of Summer Santa.
    • The Red Garter karaoke bar promises an amazing night. It turns into a nightclub later in the evening and their cocktail buckets are to die for!
  • Nice, France

    • Nice place indeed (terrible pun, sorry). I remember gazing at the stars one night and saying, ‘You know what the best part about the sky is? No matter where you are in the world, it can always remind you of home.’
    • Rocky beaches are best enjoyed with reef shoes to avoid hobbling like a one-winged penguin in your bikini getup.
    • Prepare to climb 1,000,000,000,000 steps to view Nice’s beauty from above. Rest assured, it’s worth it.
  • Gallipoli, Turkey

    • The wildlife at Anzac Cove is a welcome reminder that even through war and tragedy, life will always prevail.
    • The war memorials are beautiful. At one of them, you can write your own prayer and plant it around the gardens or next to headstones.
    • Beach campfires (check where it’s legal first) are a great way to unwind at night. If you’re dared to do a naked run around the fire like I was, wobble your bits with pride.
  • Old Town Dubrovnik, Croatia

    • It’s a medieval walled city where many Game of Thrones scenes are filmed.
    • Perfect city to explore by foot. I’m quite the professional at getting lost, so places like Dubrovnik are ideal to wander off the beaten track whilst knowing where you are.
    • Rock jumping is exhilarating!! If you’re not a fan of heights, stick to the low rocks where you’ll make friends sun bathing or poppin’ a champers. There’s a cliff-side bar, too!
  • Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

    • Lauterbrunnen makes every tourist feel like they’re in a postcard.
    • The playground at Camping Jungfrau Holiday Park isn’t just for kids. I nearly pooped myself on the slide!
    • The waterfalls cannot be switched off, despite my tour guide fooling me into thinking two of them were man-operated. You win, Danny.
  • Istanbul, Turkey

    • Turkish baths are a very weird and wonderful experience. Embrace the ‘adult baby’ while being scrubbed naked from head-to-toe by middle-aged Turkish men and women.
    • Clothing that doesn’t cover the knees is deemed inappropriate. One girl from my tour had a rock thrown at her and another was name-called, based on what they were wearing. It’s important to respect different cultures whilst travelling, especially when it affects your safety.
    • The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest indoor markets in the world. There’s ornaments, food, games, clothes and accessories. You could shop for hours, maybe even years.
  • Ireland

    • The Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge is surreal. You’ll be yelled at for moving too quickly or too slowly, though. I got both, ha.
    • Guinness is darn good.
    • Game of Thrones fans, The Kingsroad was filmed at The Dark Hedges, Northern Island. Unfortunately I’m yet to jump on the GOT bandwagon, but it’s a stunning sight nonetheless.
  • Budapest, Hungary

    • Host of the annual SZIGET music festival. This year’s artists included Macklemore, PINK, The Chainsmokers, Wiz Khalifa and Major Lazer. Add this to your bucket list!
    • Spa parties are both filthy and sexy. It’s basically a raging orgy whilst bathing in urine and alcohol. The more you drink, the better it is.
    • River cruises down the Danube are a must. Be sure to pose for a photo outside Parliament at night; it is truly exquisite.
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands

    • I challenge you to weed out (pun totally intended) the sober peeps from the potheads. If you’re not looking at someone with cannabis, you’re at least smelling it.
    • Sex shows are a unique experience to say the least. One lady pulled out 20 metres of string from her hooha as she slowly paced the stage; you might need to hold your jaw up during that number. If you volunteer yourself for one of the acts, you may get a prize! I was given an elephant condom that isn’t contraceptive. Ironic, hey?
    • The Red Light District is treated with respect, as it should be. Amsterdam is a very progressive place when it comes to social issues.

 

EDITION 2 coming soon ♦