On our way to the Czech Republic, Brandon and I had a 10-hour layover in Copenhagen. The airport is very close to the city and accessible by the metro--a fantastic combination for long layovers. Unfortunately, since we couldn't check in for our next flight yet, we had to cart our suitcases with us. Having just come from a transatlantic, 11-hour flight surrounded by screaming babies, we were both a bit tuckered out. Despite that, I wasn't about to let the chance to see some of Copenhagen slip through my fingers. Brandon would have liked to rest, but he knows me. So off we went.
It was pouring rain, and somehow we hadn't packed umbrellas, so the first thing we did was head into H&M to buy some. Armed with those, we headed toward Nyhavn--the waterfront area of the city that you'll see if you do a Google search of Copenhagen. It was windy and rainy, and our suitcases were pretty soaked by the time we got there, but each time I travel to a new place and walk its streets, I can't help but feel giddy inside. Copenhagen was no exception! Even though it was misty and rainy and gusty, Nyhavn was beautiful!
So colorful on a gloomy day--I can only imagine how it would look in the sun! After admiring Nyhavn and walking along the water, we explored the city a bit more, ending up in McDonald's (we're American, guys) to take some shelter and warm up our hands. The cold was pretty biting, especially given the rain and wind.
Despite the plans I had made to see more of the city, it was 2 am for our poor bodies, and the weather conditions just sapped any remaining energy we had. (Naturally it stopped raining a couple hours later, and I looked out the airport windows longingly and then to Brandon sleeping on the airport seats next to me. His slumber was interrupted a number of times by airport search dogs sniffing the area for bombs. Entertaining for me, frustrating for Brandon.)
We got into Prague fairly late, catching a bus and then the metro to our hotel for the night. As we rolled our suitcases over the cobblestone until I was sure my hands would be experiencing phantom vibrations for days afterward, we both commented how much we knew we were going to love Prague. It's just a charming city. We were both starving, since our cheap flights meant we weren't fed any in-flight meals. It was late enough that McDonald's was, once again, our best bet. In case anyone was in doubt of just how American we are, I had also accidentally attempted to pay for my checked bag with my Chick Fil A card. 'Murica.
The next day had us exploring the city. Can I just put in a quick plug for T-Mobile? Normally my feelings toward cell providers are less-than-charitable, but T-Mobile was absolutely essential to our trip. They give you free texting and unlimited data internationally. We used it non-stop. I'm not even kidding. We used Google Maps to guide us everywhere. It was awesome.
Anyway, it's always fun to see what European cities' transportation networks are like, and the Prague Metro was very clean and efficient.
Those escalators were kind of scary. They are incredibly long and also quite speedy. As most of the escalators are located just below the open-air metro entrance from outside, it creates a sort of wind tunnel as you're going up or down the escalators. I constantly had nightmarish visions of falling backward down the escalator and, because of how quickly they move, never actually reaching the bottom.
Naturally, our first stop was at Charles Bridge. This bridge--one of many in the city--spans the Vltava River, crossing from Old Town (aka Staré Město) on one side over into Malá Strana on the other side. Either side of the bridge has a pretty tower you can pay to climb for city and bridge views.
We crossed the bridge--full of tourists, artists, musicians, and birds flying overhead--to Mala Strana. I love Old Town Prague, but Mala Strana and Hradčany are probably a little more favorite for me. (Ironically, Mala Strana means "lesser town"). They are beautiful areas, and you're much more likely to find yourself alone on a lovely gem of a street than you would in Old Town.
By some stroke of good fortune (or perhaps some creepy facebook algorithm), when we arrived the night before, I saw trending on facebook a shop in Prague that sells ice cream in a donut cone. Naturally, this became a huge priority for us.
Technically, they aren't donuts. It's ice cream (which was much more creamy-tasting than ice cream we're used to) inside trdelnik--the prototypical Czech dessert that's sold as many places in Prague as crêpes are sold in Paris. The dough is rolled, wrapped around a stick and then spun over heat, rather than being deep fried like donuts are. They're then filled with any number of things, from tomatoes and cheese to Nutella. I'm so glad we went the day we did. Every time we passed the shop in the following days, the line was nuts!
I fell in love with Prague on the first day. I mean, how can you not just feel all the feelings when you're constantly walking down streets like the one below?!
We headed to our AirBnB in the Jewish Quarter where we met our nice hosts and settled into the apartment. It was a cute place--a pink building on the outside and very spacious for a European apartment--on the 5th floor (which is the 6th floor to us Americans) with no elevator. It makes me pant just thinking about it. Despite that, we loved the place!
I was so excited for our next day in the city together after the little we had seen of the city our first day!