Saturday, 16 December 2017

plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose...

Where have the past 3 months gone? It is 3 months to the day that I boarded the train at St Pancras with my one-way ticket for Paris Gare du Nord, terrified of what I was about to do. How has that gone so fast? So much has changed since I left in September and now I'm coming back to the UK for Christmas it is fair to say I can't wait. While Paris is amazing, beautiful and sexy as hell, it is also loud, smelly and brash and there are always times when I sit at my window, still amazed at the fact I actually live in this crazy city.

Yet, in typical British fashion, there is always something that is not quite right with living abroad. Heading back to London I'm excited to buy fruit and vegetables that don't cost the earth and go mouldy within a day, to not be dodging dog-shit every 5 steps down the street, not to have the constant smell of piss on the metro, to be able to get a coffee or a drink without breaking the bank. I can't wait to see baked beans, cheddar cheese, Nandos, (not that I don't appreciate French food).

And while it is going to be lovely to hear English everywhere once again, and to be able to completely understand everything - not just half of everything, I will miss speaking French, or trying to at least! I apologise to everyone on the tube when I automatically say 'pardon' or 'excuse-moi' over the next few weeks and I'm gonna have brain fudge moments when I forget the English word for something because I am so used to it in French. I know just as I get used to being back it will be time to return Paris and do it all over again. Next term there is going to be the added fun of beginning to tackle my dissertation, which I can't wait to be over already, and I'll have to decide when to leave this wonderful city for good. But before that, I'll have to complete my things to do in Paris list, along with going to Calais with Harley to work with the refugees with Utopia 56 and basically completing my masters. It's a terrifying prospect because come 30th August when my dissertation will be handed in, I'll have to decide what to do next - travelling again or get a real job? So much is going to happen within the next few months and living in Paris going to go by in a flash so here's to making the most of it but also too exciting things to come (once I've tackled these horrible essays that is).

Have a good week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Czech it out: A Prague Getaway

First off the bat, apologies for the pun in the title of this post, I'm sorry, not sorry, it has to be done.

As you might be able to tell, I'm in Prague! I've finally left Paris for a few days and travelled over to the Czech Republic, a place that has been on my European visit list for a long time now but I haven't had the chance to go as many of my usual travel companions have already been here and aren't as enthusiastic about doing a weekend break to a place they've already been, which is fair. But wow, Prague is gorgeous. There aren't many places which I go to where I could see myself living but Prague is certainly one of them. It is so beautiful and magical and even though I don't know a single word of Czech, the people are lovely and so willing to help - they're probably used to the huge amount of English-speaking tourists here, but still, it's great.

Lennon Wall, Prague

The city might be small (although not compared to the likes of Ljubljana, Slovenia) it has plenty to offer and coming in December is a perfect time, while it is cold and if you're lucky there might be a dusting of snow on the roof-tops, pre-Christmas you are guaranteed to find a Christmas market around every corner in the city. From the cobbled streets to the permanent smell of cinnamon and mulled wine in the air, it is safe to say the Czechs know how to do Christmas right and you will not be left disappointed with a taste of Prague - both cuisine and souvenir gifts - on offer.

Old Town Square Xmas Market
If Christmas isn't your thing then take a tram ride up to the top of the hill on the other side of the river and wander around Prague's castle which is also where the Czech President lives apparently, so is still pretty much functional. There's also the Old Town Square and Peace Square which both have beautiful churches to admire. Head to the Communism museum to learn about the torrid history of the Czech Republic and how recent some of the atrocities actually were. It sounds a bit dark for a holiday but I think it is very important to know even a little bit about the places you are going to, or learn it while you are there.
View from the Castle of Prague

I would highly recommend going to the infamous Lennon Wall on the other side of the river. As you can see from the pictures, the vivid colours are amazing and it is a wonderful representation of peace in a place that has seen so much unrest. The little streets around the river here are great just to wander and enjoy being in Prague, so definitely walk back over the Charles Bridge to get a full view of Prague from the river.


The Czech Republic is part of the EU so it is relatively simple to travel to, with a flight of approx £80 from the UK or €100 from Paris and a flight time of about 1.5 hours it is an ideal weekend getaway.
Do what we did and embrace the Airbnb lifestyle in Prague, it is probably the most practical and cheapest way to stay in the city. Our apartment was £23 per night and was only a very short bus ride into the city centre. You can also use Prague as a base a take a day trip to nearby Vienna, Dresden or Bratislava and is pretty much in the centre of Europe.

Prague: My #1 European Destination

Let me know where you think I should explore next or if you have any recommendations!

Have a good week my loves!

Lots of Love Kate xxx

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