Solo traveling teaches you a lot about yourself, and you also tend to find interesting people when you’re on your own. The first city I ever soloed in was Prague: The City of a Hundred Spires. I had heard great things before I went, but no description did it justice.
My first “wow” moment was an encounter with a young cellist. I was traveling for about 16 hours when I arrived in Prague because I had come from Bangkok with a stopover in Helsinki. Sluggishly, I bought my tram ticket and followed the directions provided by my Hostelworld app. Unfortunately, the tram schedule had changed, and when I got off as directed, I was in a not so pleasant looking, dark neighborhood with my backpack and 50 lb orange suitcase to lug around. Knowing I made a mistake, I wandered off to the posted tram schedule when someone started to approach me. I thought to myself, ”I’m either about to be mugged or helped.” Fortunately, it was the latter. He introduced himself and offered to help carry my bag to the hostel. We got back on the tram and started talking about life and traveling. When we got to the hostel, he carried my gigantic bag up three flights of stairs, and asked for nothing in return. He was just a kind and helpful young man. That touched me, and it definitely left me with a great first impression of Czech people.
The second “wow” moment was the next morning after breakfast when I first walked outside. The street was obviously the same as before, but it had been dark when I saw it the previous night. Mouth agape, I wandered through the adorable cobblestone streets of the old city. I found mom and pop shops galore, from vegetarian restaurants to stationery stores to coffee shops all owned and operated by locals, unlike most businesses in many big cities in the world. The architecture of each building seemed as if it was delicately and painstakingly hand carved to fit into the city. I walked over to the Charles Bridge, which was eerie and beautifully haunting with its large black statues hovering above the multitude of travelers beneath them.
The third “wow” moment was a culinary one. Being gluten free and vegan in a country known for goulash and bread bowls, I was skeptical that I would be eating anything aside from the hostel breakfast for my entire stay. However, there were plenty of options, and delicious ones, too. My favorite place is LoVeg. This place had vegan goulash, burgers, pizza… everything you could imagine. The service was pleasant and efficient. I brought two of my omnivore friends that I had met during a tour along, and they thought the food was outrageously good!
The fourth and final “wow” moment was just after lunch. My new friends and I decided to take a trip to the monastery on the hill, since we were already on that side of the Vltava River, having crossed the Charles Bridge earlier. We climbed up the steep hill, and began to see the incredible view. Finally, we arrived at the top.
The monastery had a restaurant and brewery, and there was outside seating overlooking the city. We sat down and were just amazed. They had blankets for us since it was a bit chilly. The hot wine was delicious and perfectly spiced. The friends I was with tried the beer that’s brewed there and said it was very good. Monks can brew beer well, apparently. But the best part was the view. All those beautiful buildings I described earlier were seen from and elevated viewpoint and a distance. They seemed to melt into one awe-inspiring painting of oranges and tans. It’s a view I’ll never forget, and one I hope everyone has a chance to see someday.
Overall, Prague is a fantastic location for a solo traveler. You meet great people, eat delicious food, and see amazing architecture. What more can you ask for from a city?
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