Saturday, 2 November 2013

Next stop... Prague!

The last time I went travelling during the winter vacations was probably... back during my GCSEs? Back then, travelling meant visiting relatives. If it wasn't Bangladesh or India I was travelling to, it was certainly to visit relatives who lived elsewhere in the world. Sometimes we'd be lucky to go somewhere else for a few days before hitting BD, in the past it's been Saudi Arabia or UAE, a country that's en route.

However, after starting Cambridge, it's been really hard to take vacations as a "break". Like a former student once told me, vacations in Cambridge means "to vacate Cambridge", they still expect you to continue working. My 2nd year Director of Studies told me that I could only take Christmas Day off (even if I don't celebrate it). See how seriously they take it? Realistically, that's not going to happen. You catch up on your favourite series, take up a temporary job or SLEEP (finally). For those who can afford it, they travel. I've never considered it before because I rather save up for the big summer freedom, but I need to save up for the places I want to go to. Thailand, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Madagascar, Fiji, Kenya.

This year, I'm doing things differently. While I've opted for Asia, a few of my friends have opted to travel closer and know the rest of Europe pretty well. Some of them prefer to take city breaks for a few days whereas I prefer to travel all over a country over weeks. We've enjoyed the way we've done it so far but I want to see why they enjoy their city breaks, what's the pull with Europe?

Initially our plan was to go to Dublin, Ireland. It's close-by and more affordable in the short term (I'm still saving up for summer!). But then someone suggested that Prague would be a better Christmas time destination. I'll be honest, if any European city (other than the mediterranean countries) interest me, it's Prague and that's because of all the hype behind it. One of my friend said it's the most beautiful city in the world... although she's not been there. Another couple I know said they loved their time there, not only do they want to go back but they prefer it to Paris.

So, I want to go to Prague to see what the hype is all amount. I know it's not the best reason to go travelling (I've always had a natural pull to the countries I've travelled to independently) but this is an experiment. I want to know if I'll enjoy this short break, will I feel satisfied even though I'm only scratching the surface of a country? Is Prague that beautiful, a word that people constantly associate with the city? I'll find out in December!

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