My friend Alex Sarychkin sums city travelling up really well;
I mean cities vary from place to place, but generally they can be boiled down to a few main elements: Financial District, Cool Place the Kids Hang Out, The Parts You Don’t Go To, The Rich Area, The Suburbs.
Add The Old Town to his list (he’s writing about America) and BOOM, you’ve got Europe.
By the time I’d reached Vienna, I wanted to throw away the guide book, avoid churches like the plague, and just wander aimlessly pretending to be a local. But first, a few words on Leipzig, Dresden and Prague.
We chose Leipzig after hearing it was ‘the next Berlin’ – I wouldn’t go quite so far, but I do think it has a lot to offer. There’s loads of history, if you’re into that, and a lot of fuss around Bach and all he did there. The main square proves to be a lively night spot, but more for middle-aged couples than anyone else – maybe it’s a little younger during term time? Top picks; Völkerschlachtdenkmal (a tram ride from the centre), Spizz restaurant and bar (great atmosphere late on – have the rice pudding!) and Nikolaikirche with its colourful interior. The university’s worth a look too, especially it’s newly-built chapel opposite the opera hall.
Dresden we only had a couple of hours in, and due to the heat and heavy luggage, we found a decent Eis bar and stayed put! It sure did look lovely from the train though! Next time…
Prague! Prague, Prague, Prague… That favourite destination of just about everyone, surely one of Europe’s biggest tourist magnets, full of churches you have to pay to enter and not a single local. That sums it up for me really, though I would say that the Lokál bar/restaurant chain serves yum local food. Other than that, meh.
Vienna, yes we’re at that part of the blog now, and I’m so happy to be back on German-speaking soil. I’m with mum, and all we want to do is wander. So we didn’t really check off the tourist sights in Austria’s capital, but we fell asleep at Schloss Schönebrunn, swam in the Badeschiff (yes, another!) and chucked up on Austrian beer (just me, not mum). As I said, living like locals!
My advice, if you were to ask, would be to skip Prague during peak season, leave more than one hour for Dresden, and don’t drink beer on an empty stomach.