Nitin Natrajan

Three months, three countries, one suitcase

“Spring” Break

Yet another change to our regular programming.

You join me on a small trip to Prague and Vienna (Bratislava was also added as part of a day trip). I went with two of my friends Max and Huzefah on this small European adventure. Our flight was scheduled for 7 in the morning which required us to get up at the egregious time of four in the morning. Huzefah, Max and I thought we would have some time to rest once we got to Prague. However, we ended up experiencing a whole world of different activities. It started off with a visit to the farmers market followed by a visit to a park which eventually led to a hike and a visit to the main castle in Prague. The day culminated with a visit to a spectacular lookout point with views of Prague, the castle, the cathedral, the metronome statue and a sunset. Here’s a collection of photos that I believe capture our first day well here.

 

The next morning we had a leisurely start as we had been on the road from four in the morning all the way till midnight. Mischa picked us up from our Airbnb, and we first headed to a place called café lounge to have a spot of breakfast before starting our tour led by Mischa who is without a doubt Prague’s best tour guide. We explore popular tourists sites such as the Lennon’s wall (which I kept hearing as Lenin’s wall) and the Charles Bridge. The fun fact John Lennon actually never visited Prague in his lifetime, but his legacy is what inspired the wall to be made and painted on in the first place. We then spent the time exploring more of the old city learning more and more about the history behind this truly magnificent city. We then got some ice cream as a “healthy” lunch to keep us fueled for the day (when Mischa mentioned they sold salted caramel, I was sold 😉). Afterwards, Max, Huzefah and myself decided to rest up before heading out for dinner and a bit of nighttime exploration. We went to a container park for dinner which is where some of the best restaurants come and prep special dishes that’s only available at this place. Afterwards, we headed towards an old city wall headed towards an old church. It was simply brilliant and incredibly hard to describe. We then proceeded to have an early night before our train to Vienna.

Vegan spiked hot chocolate

Ice cream counts as lunch right??

The salted caramel beauty

 

 

 

 

After having bid a fond farewell to Mischa the previous night, we headed to the train station to catch a bright yellow train that would take us 4 hours across the Czech Republic and into the heart of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, Vienna. The train ride was comfortable. However, it wasn’t the most scenic ride. Eventually, we arrived at the Vienna station where we jumped off the train (quite literally) and soon headed for our accommodation in Vienna. In Vienna, we were going to be staying with Anna Mey’s (A member of our brilliant Brazil team) old host family from when she was a student studying in Austria. We were staying with Flo and Lene who were brother and sister. Our first day in Vienna was a chill affair as we wanted to get some rest before a full days’ worth of exploring. Before bedtime, the three of us decided upon a little night walk (not to be confused with Mozart’s Eine Kline Nacht Musik (a little night music) 😉).

 

We work up bright and early had a spot of mildly pricy coffee with breakfast before heading into the historical district 1 of Vienna. Our first locale was Vienna’s historic opera house. It is quintessential Viennese architecture. However, we were only really able to explore the outside as there was no tour on the day we were visiting. I guess it is an excuse to come back to Austria. After our trip to the opera, we walked a little further up the street to the Albertina museum. A little bit of context, it was a former Hapsburg palace that has now since been converted into a museum. The museum displays a rich range of art including works by one of my favorite artists, Roy Lichtenstein who is famous for pop-art. The museum also had galleries showcasing art by Monet and Picasso, the water lilies by Monet were on display in its full glory. After a solid two hours of solid cultural immersion, the three of us headed on a walk through some of Vienna’s incredibly pretty gardens and the central government buildings.

 

 

After this walk, we did a little bit more exploring before heading to Vienna’s most popular tourist site, The Schönbrunn Palace. Palace tours were outrageously expensive, but thankfully the palace’s expansive gardens were free for all and the three of us went exploring. In continuing with the IHP theme of super photoshoots, we all took some magnificent photos before heading back to Flo’s apartment to cook dinner for him and Lene.

The next day, we’d be adding another country visited, and city visited our list, Bratislava in Slovakia.The three of us woke up rather late and were in a frantic rush to get from Flo’s house all the way to the bus terminal. The drive was short, but soon we were in what was not only part of the former eastern bloc during the cold war but the former Austro-Hungarian empire. The day was spent exploring the older part of the city mainly the creatively named Bratislava castle. We loved the old architecture of the town but in the end, we elected on a simple recharge at the most adorable book store where we sat, had a cup of coffee and read for a few hours. 

SIT gang

 

 

I felt this was the perfect way to end the spring break trip, but soon we would be hopping on a plane and flying over 7000 miles to South Africa where I would be ticking off an vital bucket list item.

 

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