One of the things I love most about my marriage is the mutual love, passion and obsession my husband and I both have for travel. Once a year we take a "big trip" as we like to call it and head somewhere overseas. These vacations are usually two weeks and are jam packed with an itinerary that assures us we won't miss a single nook or cranny of wherever we are traveling.
So this year when we decided that our "big trip" would be an extended weekend stay in Prague in late September, most people looked at us like we were nuts. Knowing our typical travel style, our friends questioned why we would hop on a plane from NYC to Prague for nine hours, cross an ocean and only visit one city. The answer was pretty simple -- we wanted to feel spontaneous. The only research we did for the trip was make a list of highlights we wanted to make sure we hit, which included Prague Castle, Old Town Square, The Jewish Quarter and Charles Bridge.
We arrived in Prague at Ruzyne Airport after an overnight flight from Kennedy International airport in New York. Instead of taking a cab, which costs about 600 koruna (US$30) to city center, we purchased a metro ticket on the No. 119 bus from outside the arrivals area to Dejvicka for 30 koruna (US$1.60), which was valid for 75-minutes. After a 25-minute ride we arrived at the metro and took the underground line A to city center. We dropped off our bags and began exploring.
As we were walking along the cobblestone streets getting acclimated with the city, my husband looked at me and said, "This feels nice." He was referring to the fact that I didn't have out a map or a set itinerary with a timeline. We wandered over the Charles Bridge to Old Town Square. We realized quickly that Prague would be an easy city to navigate -- the majority of historic districts boast pedestrian walk-ways and bike paths. However, the public transit system in Prague is affordable and easy to navigate as well. Purchase a 24-hour pass for 110 koruna (US$5.80) that is valid on trams, buses and the metro. Hop on the tram, which makes frequent stops at popular destinations and makes for easy sightseeing.
Over our four-day stint in Prague we hit our list of to-dos and had plenty of time to sit in cafes with a glass of wine or a beer and catch up on reading. The feeling of not being constricted by a set schedule was liberating. On our last day, we felt like old pros, revisiting a few places that we had seen over the last few days, taking in everything the city had to offer before we said goodbye.
When we arrived back in the states we felt accomplished and proud -- we had broken our staunch travel rules and let down our hair. While I’m sure our future trips will have some sort of an itinerary, it will most likely be a gentle outline.