While Munich has a ton to offer having a visitor here was also a good excuse to explore the broader neighbourhood. While grandma was here we decided to check out Salzburg and Prague.
Salzburg was great. It was a mom and daughter quick overnight trip that Jamie surprised us with by booking a night at the Villa Trapp. I should warn you that we love the Sound of Music so we were all in on this trip. We had no kids or spouses in tow to temper our enthusiasm so it was a lot of fun. The first day we did the old town in Salzburg. It is beautiful and every platz is filled with fountains or art. Being Mozart’s birthplace his home is memorialized and there is a Mozart platz dedicated to him. We really enjoyed the Hohensalzburg Fortress I would highly recommend taking the funicular up and spending time exploring. It was interesting to see how the uses for the fortress changed over time. There is a great timeline in the entrance of the museum area of the history of the fortress, the history of Salzburg, and world history. There are also amazing views from around the buildings as it sits above the city. We happened to arrive on Easter Sunday so the churches were full, at 6:00 all the church bells in the city rang for at least 5 minutes solid. The noise was almost deafening but the energy it filled the city with was amazing. By the time it got dark we were starving and our feet ached so we grabbed a quick dinner and then prepped for the big day.
Our second day in Salzburg we did a Sound of Music tour. Normally I’m not as interested in doing a set tour but this was a lot of fun and very campy, which is what we were looking for. It ended up being a good way to see around the city outside of old town and since much of the movie was filmed in the lake district so it was a good way to get a sense of the countryside without a car. We saw all of the highlight, the buildings used as the Trapp family home, the gazebo, the church they were married in, etc. But we also got a lot of the context around what these buildings were originally, what was surrounding us in the city and how tourism helps drive their economy. There was also the soundtrack blaring on the bus speakers as we went, so again, if you love camp and the sound of music you should totally do it. If you don’t, then I would not recommend it.
Prague was a different trip. We went as a family for two nights and while I was interested in seeing Prague I had no real expectations. I have always heard that it is great but I totally underestimated how much I would love it. I think it is now up there with my favourite cities in the world. Walking through the city was a delight. I love seeing the architecture and cobblestone streets when we travel but the feeling in Prague was different. I don’t think I have been so excited to see what was going to be around in the corner in a very long time. We drove over from Munich and the drive took much longer then we anticipated due to roadwork so by the time we arrived I think everyone was a bit worn out. The airbnb we rented was huge and I only wish we lived in an apartment so gorgeous. The three kids were all happy to stay behind and play (i.e. zone out on their iPads) so grandma, Jamie, and I took off on foot. It didn’t take long to start to realize that Prague has a Bohemian influence while still feeling familiar to the western European cities we love. We walked through the old town to the Charles Bridge and managed to arrive at sunset. We probably would have kept going had we not had to get back to sort dinner out for the kids.
The next days we set out again with the kids with us again. We headed back into the old town and discovered that Prague has Easter markets that are similar to Munich’s Christmas markets. There were food stalls, Easter decorations, and tons of tourists as there was a marathon going on that morning. It was Jamie’s birthday so we figured we would splurge a bit and we hired one of the large convertibles to take us on a driving tour of the city. It was a sunny day and the kids were thrilled to get to ride around instead of walking like we normally make them do. That evening we went to dinner at Aromi for Jamie’s birthday which was the perfect way to cap of a day spent in Prague.
I wish we had 2 more days, we didn’t even make it to the castles or the museums, but we had to head back on the third day. But instead of just jumping in the car and heading home we couldn’t pass up the chance to go see the Kutná Hora. Kutná Hora is located in the center of what was the Bohemia and is now a UNESCO world heritage site and the home of the Sedlic Ossuary, or the Bone Church. It contains the bones of 40,000 – 70,00 people that decorate the interior of the church. It is like nothing I have seen before. This isn’t just a collection of religious relics where you see the odd skull or hand but an entire church decorated by bones. Ella found it more than a little spooky but it was a lot of fun to see. If you have the time to spare it’s worth the hours drive out of the city.
I feel like we just sampled Prague and it requires another visit to get to really get to know the city. It was a wonderful weekend away but the city really deserves more time.