P R A G U E

Destination: Prague, Czech Republic

Travel Style: Solo

Length: 10 days

Popularity is growing as each summer passes by. With its profound gothic and Czech baroque architecture the streets were filled with the hustle and bustle of tourist. Staying in Prague 2 at the Post Hostel Prague was the perfect location to avoid the main quarter but still be easily accessible to old town square. And might I say, the beer garden overlooking the horizon was the icing to the cake. This is the first time visiting Prague and the warmth and vitality coming from the streets of Prague turnover a new leaf as I explore the Eastern European side. Of course, I became one of those tourists. But it was oh so enjoyable.  

In all the different hours of the day, Prague shone a new light, as each street was different to the next. From Gingerbread cookies to puppeteers to the absinthe liquor stores. Tranquility to the hustle and bustle to the relaxing beer at the end of the day, Prague is the dose of Eastern Europe meets Western Europe. 

 

C O P E N H A G E N

Destination: Copenhagen, Denmark

Travel Style: Solo

Length: 7 days

The first time I ever rode a train by myself was daunting. I was 14 years old and I caught the train from Rooty Hill station to Parramatta, Sydney. Now I am 24 amd this is the first time travelling alone. At first it was daunting going to a new country with no idea of what to expect. To be honest, I didn’t research what to do in Copenhagen until just before I left Paris. I wanted to discover what kind of a traveller am I and writing this now, I am a flâneur.

The buildings were completely different in this country. The colours beamed from across the streets and ports that the maintenance of the city was clearly the handy work of the locals. This was evident in Nyhavn. A touristic pier that you can find local fishermen maintaining every inch of the boats and buildings to prevent further decay and damage. Seeing them afloat on what seems to be a self-built planks of wood attached together allowed them to access the under side of the boats. With their big wooly jackets, navy beanies and white frosted beards, affection was shown towards their daily duties. Patience, clarity and serenity; the simplicity from their instant coffee grounds and canine companion revealed the blissful lifestyle that they have become accustomed to. The only thing that would break this serenity is the canal tours that blurt broken audio from their tour guides microphone.

With all cities there is a romanticised view of the place versus the reality. A tourist attraction has the makings of creating this ideology of a place through a visual image. Nyhavn, The Little Mermaid statue, Tivoli Gardens, Rosenborg Castle; they all have the tendency to attract this image of what is a must see and do in an area. One particular tourist attraction that I had no initiative to go to until a friend wanted to see it was Christiania. Located in the district of Christianhavn, this little community has historical independence that differs from any tourist site I have seen so far. A “Freetown”. We were warned to not take any photos whilst in the area; this enhanced my curiousity. I have become so focused on the visual to the point now that I feel I cannot research ahead as it may heighten my expectations. That impromptu feeling would be lost, which I guess is why I enjoyed this hub. Walking through the bricked barrier triggered my nostrils with nostalgia of Amsterdam. The dense earthy fumes of marijuana was one thing, the other was the languid feeling I had throughout my body. Smiles were seen on every person’s face. Now it was probably the marijuana, but it could be the relaxing aura that everyone fed off. 

P A R I S

Destination: Paris, France

Travel Style: With a companion

Length: 20 Days

This is my second time visiting Paris and the first thing I did is purchase the recommended Ernest Hemingway novel A Moveable Feast and Andy Warhol The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. The two books complemented each besides the fact that the two were written in different periods. Viewing Paris through Hemingway's eyes reflected the way I travelled and the so-called "romanticised" view of the city. The field of selfie sticks and iconic tourist shot of a finger touching the tip of the Lourve became an initiation for a tourist in Paris. Living like a local was the objective for this trip.

Living in République was an eye opener as I never seen Paris quite like this before. The scattered graffiti and vigils surrounding their lady of liberty. The tingling aroma of heated urine on the walls as I walked by a man peeing in the corner for the public to see. Young and old skaters grinding their skateboards against the ledges of Place de la République, circulating a hub of protestors preaching in a circle. This is Paris. The wound that was left by the terror that has been happening around the world is now a scar that the Parisians have mended.

Every night during the stay here, Place de la République was always crowded with people. Standing in the middle you see officials roaming around in large groups circulating like a predator to a prey. Chants started. That was my cue. I headed back to the apartment. Sirens were blasting every hour and the chants became louder; as though moving around in the streets. The later the nights became with the constant chant, it became like a melody. I fell asleep.

Every morning as I walked to République station there were little remains from the night before. The broken wine bottles. The splatter of red wine across the wall. The clogged drains of cigarette butts and the multiple workers cleaning the streets.