Now JSYK, I am a bundle of contradictions in my travel style. On the one hand, I am almost always insistent on going first class by air and rail when traveling internationally. However, when it comes to accommodations, I am completely willing to be alittle more risky and adventurous! For this trip, I decided I was going to try the "apartment rental" route for our stays in both Prague and Vienna. After a brief discussion about this with my travel agent of more than 20 years, Stephen Slovenski, he highly recommended Airbnb as a reputable resource for finding apartment rentals. Tanya and I will both focus more on "Vacation Apartment & House Rentals" in later blogs, but for now, let me just say that I had a very positive experience using Airbnb for the first time on this trip, which I will soon expand upon.
Our flight was great, but then again, what's to complain about when you are traveling business/first - priority check in, access to the lounge, flatbed cocoons, private rest room, a staff of flight attendants fussing over you, and more food than you can eat. (JSYK, Delta (and their affiliates) is my airline of choice when traveling internationally. First of all, I like to build my frequent flyer points and Delta accepts the transfer of American Express Membership Rewards points) Now, to the topic of taking kids to Europe - many of my friends say, "why would you take young children to Europe? They are too young to appreciate it." I couldn't disagree more! And I know that Tanya shares my views wholeheartedly. World experiences are invaluable as I said earlier, and I've seen how it builds a sophistication and worldliness in my own kids and those of Tanya's, that can never be acquired not venturing too far from home. So, now I am going to brag a little ; I cannot say enough about how proud I am of my two youngest girls when it comes to air travel. At 7 and 9, they are quite sophisticated travelers. No complaints. No whining on long flights. They bring their own carry-on bags with blankets, neck pillows, reading and activity books and busy themselves with the TV entertainment. They have even been known to get some rest! Of course, having said that, (even with all my proud mommy emotions), I am fully aware that one cannot go dragging a 7 and 9 year old into six ancient churches in one day - that would be complete torture...for the parent! So, I will preface this piece with the fact that a tremendous part of my family trip planning and research ALWAYS involves creating itineraries that are centered around two things:
1) Great sites and activities that are age appropriate for my kids; and 2) Activities that are in what i call 2-3 hour "bites" (which is about the length of kids my ages attention span.)
All the sights were amazing - seeing the world famous Astronomical clock in Prague Tower in the center of the old town was surreal, and even more amazing was waiting with a crowd of other tourists, for the on-the-hour bell tolling and display of the 12 Apostles to spin around. (By the way - we don't know that lady in the picture to the left of Tedd lol)
Because tourism is such a big part of Prague, it was not hard to find any of the famous attractions because there was always a group of tourists headed in the direction of one we were trying to find. This strategy worked especially well for "finding" the Charles Bridge. It was hard to believe we were actually on the Charles Bridge. I had seen so many pictures and watched numerous videos featuring this world famous bridge! Even the kids, with their intermittent complaints about walking, enjoyed the Charles Bridge journey over the Vltava River. The bridge was lined with vendors and entertainers on both sides amidst the beautiful bronze statues of Christian religious figures including the famous Holy Crucifix and St. John of Nepomuk. Some little tidbids of trivia for you - the bridge is 621 meters long and nearly 10 meters wide. It rests on 16 arches shilded by ice guards and is protected by three bridge towers, two of them on the Lesser Quarter side and the third one on the Old Town side. The Old Town bridge tower is often considered to be one of the most astonishing civil gothic-style buildings in the world. It is so beatiful to see the continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries,that decorate the bridge. They depict various saints and patron saints venerated at that time. Most of them baroque-style, were originally erected between 1683 and 1714 but beginning in 1965, they have all been replaced by replicas, with the originals in the lapidarium of the National Museum.
- Family Day at The Spanish Riding School, Vienna
Airbnb Apartment Rentals: www.Airbnb.com
Vytopna Railroad Restaurant: http://www.vytopna.cz
Church of Our Lady of Victory, Lesser Town, Prague: http://www.prague.net/church-of-our-lady-victoriuos