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Prague

Our very first stop and one of my absolute favorites from all our winter break destinations! I’m not quite sure what it is about Prague I love so much. It helps that it has a beautiful bridge, as somewhere along the line I’ve developed an enthused appreciation for beautiful bridges. Truly, Prague can be done in a day. But it’s precisely this reason why one should stay longer. There’s something marvelous about visiting a new destination and not having to rush around, cramming too many sights into not enough time. That being said, I think we were lucky to be visiting Prague right before Christmas. The gorgeous Christmas Markets gave us something to do whenever we were through sight seeing for the day. Not to mention, some place festive to eat and drink for cheap!

Beautiful cafe with great food and coffee, right near the Charles Bridge

Beautiful cafe with great food and coffee, right near the Charles Bridge

Crowded on the Charles Bridge

Crowded on the Charles Bridge

Gorgeous view of the sunset from the Charles Bridge

Gorgeous view of the sunset from the Charles Bridge

Cathedral in the Palace

Cathedral in the Palace

Cathedral

Cathedral

John Lennon Wall

John Lennon Wall

First sighting of the big Christmas Market in Old Town Square!

First sighting of the big Christmas Market in Old Town Square!

Vienna

A few days later, we left Prague for Vienna. While my travel companions thoroughly enjoyed the art Vienna had to offer, I was more about the Christmas Markets. Seriously, traveling near Christmastime isn’t so terrible with all the fabulous markets to explore! However, while Prague was an all-around great place to visit this frigid time of year, Vienna may be better left to the sun. We missed out on a lot of would-be-beautiful places because of the dead and withering flora. Without a doubt, my favorite experience in Vienna was our impromptu attendance of Rossini’s opera, La Cenerentola (Cinderella)! We stood in line for a couple hours and scored standing seats for a performance the same night. A spontaneous activity I won’t soon forget.397471_10152115726776187_575889982_n 1514429_10152115713991187_1944247119_n 1004927_10152115714116187_547021357_n

Incredible video exhibit at Mumok

Incredible video exhibit at Mumok

Stadtpark

Stadtpark

Belvedere Palace

Belvedere Palace

Riesenrad

Riesenrad

Budapest

We arrived in Budapest on Christmas morning and perhaps that was our mistake. Of all the places we visited over winter break, I think Budapest was my least favorite. It was still plenty amazing, and had the most gorgeous architecture! However, the straight up rudeness we faced upon arrival left a bad taste. I’ll try to give people the benefit of doubt, because no one wants to work on Christmas, right? It was also sad because much of the bigger Christmas markets were being taken down the day we arrived. Still, I can’t deny the beauty of many of the sights in Budapest. Not to mention, one of the girls in our travel group knew someone who is from Budapest and happened to be home for the holidays – so we got a tour by a native one day! She was much nicer than the people we met our first day.

Hungarian National Gallery

Hungarian National Gallery

Fisherman's Bastion

Fisherman’s Bastion

Chain Bridge - first bridge to link Buda with Pest

Chain Bridge – first bridge to link Buda with Pest

Parliament

Parliament

Gorgeous roof of the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences

Gorgeous roof of the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences

Heroe's Square

Heroe’s Square

Indulging at the Book Cafe (Lotz Terem)

Indulging at the Book Cafe (Lotz Terem)

My favorite place ever!

My favorite place ever!

FIsherman's Bastion by day - best castle I have seen yet!

FIsherman’s Bastion by day – best castle I have seen yet!

Stay tuned for Winter Break Part 2 – Rome, Florence and Venice!

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