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The little adventures of Jo! Travel with me on my overdue gap year around the world :)

Falling in Love Again

CZECH REPUBLIC | Thursday, 16 January 2014 | Views [767]

Prague just continues to amaze me. And life just continues to surprise me. Something like today where I was completely blown away at Vysehrad, where this beautiful city was prophesised. I hadn't expected too much of it, having seen it on a boat cruise the last time I was here. But because the weather looked relatively alright today (ie not raining), I decided to make a visit. It took a lot of effort to walk to it as I had stupidly forgotten it was up on a hill. But it was completely worth it. First, the incredible views of the city, different to how I've seen it before. Second, stumbling upon one of the most beautiful churches I've been into - Church of St Peter and St Paul. The church looks very similar to St Vitus Cathedral at the Castle, but has a longer history and dare I say, is more beautiful? The thought definitely crossed my mind as I marvelled at its intricately painted decor. Matched with a sweet tranquility you don't often get at the Castle, Vysehrad is really worth visiting if you have time in Prague.

Prague is such an old-school urban paradise. I absolutely love it. I find myself constantly falling in love with this city over and over again. From playing tour guide to a random stranger I met at Wencesclas Square on my first day, to my peaceful solitary walk along the Vltava today from Vysehrad to Kampa. From finally paying to go inside the Castle to walking over the Charles' bridge just because. The buildings, shopping, food, beer and my wonderful friend, Andrea. This city has so much charm and magic to it. I simply love this city.

It's been nearly six months since I last was "touring" Prague early on a Monday morning, drunk on slivovice. I found the famous John Lennon wall we made a stop at on this drunken tour, but I couldn't find my drunken scroll from then. I remember writing or intending to write (whether I was capable of writing is a different story) "I heart LOVE". The wall has changed so much in the last few months, that the section of the wall where Andrea photographed me in my crazy glee, was barely recognisable. Likewise, my life has changed so much since then. Seeing the wall reiterates one of the great truths of life - change is the only constant in life. I'm reminded that each moment is precious and unique in its own right, and we should savour each one completely, especially our present.

It's taken me a while to get back onto the blog and write something on this trip. It's not because I have nothing to write about. Far from it. I have too much and I don't know where to start and how to do it all justice. 

But in case you're wondering, I did fall in love again with Turkey, too. This time, it began with a tram ride through Istanbul at dawn. I watched the sun rise to unveil night's black canvas and paint the sky in rosy hues, reminiscent of my favourite visual memory of my last visit - the city glowing warmly at sunset. Being back in Istanbul was a great pleasure as it's also one of my favourite cities. There is no doubt that I had a wonderful time there although it usually comes with a lack of sleep!

Despite the hecticness that accompanied my trip to Cappadocia, with early wake ups, delayed flights, the intense cold and constant touring, I can't recommend Cappadocia enough. It certainly is stunning... and gorgeously different. I will definitely return. I had fears that visiting in winter wouldn't be a good idea but the season gifted me with a different perspective of the area and I loved it. With patches of snow and frozen trees against the rock formations Cappadocia is so famous for, fairytale scenery was made. Though there was heavy fog while I was there - common for winter, I made it up for my first hot air balloon ride ever. The fog wasn't ideal, but it didn't stop the experience from being amazing. Like many of life's imperfections, it gave something to the experience, perhaps making it more memorable and beautiful.

Having seen so many beautiful photos of bands of hot air balloons blissfully floating over Cappadocia's incredible scenery, I'd often dreamed of experiencing it with a loved one. But as soon as I knew I'd be back in Turkey this time, I had to make it one of the first beautiful experiences for this New Year. I was so happy I rode with me :)

On the other hand, the people I've met so far have been nothing short of amazing. From the snowbunnies heading to Kashmir with no return date to the cheapest carpenter in London, setting off on a bike ride from Istanbul to Delhi (through Iran!). From the lovely staff at my hostel in Istanbul who've become my Turkish family to the funny and adorable Russian Andres who "economically" plastic wrapped their own bags. From the cute Singaporean couple I met in Cappadocia to the Yorkshire-bred nurse with the dry sense of humour whose been all around the world. I'm sad I don't get to stay in touch with most of them but I'm so happy our paths crossed even if just for a little while.

Travelling is so fun and it is addictive. Even though I have to admit I've been to so many places this year, my worst fear has yet to happen. I've not become jaded with travelling. I still have great awe for the beautiful things I see. I still appreciate the simple and precious things life bestows upon me. I still meet unbelievable people and am captivated by their stories. I still have lessons to learn and re-learn about myself, people and the world.

I still fall in love with life itself.

Tags: cities, czech republic, europe, friends, outdoors, random strangers, reflections, turkey, winter


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