Rothenburg ob der Tauber: a Medieval gem you can visit now

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Photo credit

I love places that makes me feel I am in one of the pages of a fairy tale book. I love old German inner cities that I have only seen through books, magazines or travel blogs and Rothenburg ob der Tauber could be my favorite. The architecture is very well preserved, you can’t help but ask yourself whether time has stood still.

Rothenburg is named in part after its location on a plateau overlooking the Tauber River. Rothenburg ob der Tauber is translated in English as:”Red fortress above the Tauber”.


Rothenburg ob der Tauber is situated in Bavaria, halfway between Frankfurt and Munich.


bayern ticketWe were based in Munich, coming from a direct 6 hour flight from Dubai. Rothenburg ob der Tauber is three and a half train ride away from Munich. It’s not near but heck, we were already there so better take this opportunity to visit!

The German railway offers several regional tickets to travel around the country on a budget. We got the Bayern ticket, this ticket is valid for as many journeys as you want in Bavarian region during its period of validity, regardless of the connection indicated. Children/grandchildren (any number) aged 14 and under can travel with you when you buy for one or two people. Discounts are available for up to four people travelling with you, paying only an additional 6 Euros per person. For example, 2 adults would pay only 31 Euros total.

I only paid 25 Euros, my kids aged 13 and 5 travelled for free.

From Mon-Fri, the Bayern ticket is valid from 09:00 to 03:00 of the following day; on Sat, Sun and public holidays, it is valid from midnight to 03:00 of the following day.

TIP: Check timetables and connections using the German public transport app, DB Navigator (Android, iOS).

We left Munich early and arrived three and a half hours later to Rothenburg ob der Tauber’s small train station around 11:30 am. To get to the charming medieval Old Town, we need to walk for about 10 minutes before arriving at this walled village, with thick walls at the entrance. We crossed the wall and this was our first glimpse of Rothenburg.

rothenburg 9

Now, this is not a theme park with cute houses built for entertainment. These are normal houses where normal people live. Most of the houses had been here for hundreds of years yet when you see these buildings, it seems that it has been untouched by time.

We headed to the Rothenburg Tourism office at Markplatz to take brochures and guides on how to navigate this small town.

rothenburg 2

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is only a day trip in our itinerary. After all, our main destination was Austria but we happen to just have chosen Munich as our landing airport and Rothenburg just happens to be in the same region as Munich and the picture perfect town is worth the long train ride.

rothenburg 1
p an b at rothenburg


We were in Germany on the last week of August when most of Europe is still enjoying the last days of summer. However, the day we were in Rothenburg (August 26), it seems that we have brought the Dubai heat with us. The mid day temps were high, it was actually so hot! Still, it was beautiful and fascinating to wander around. From the half timbered houses, to the uneven cobbled stone streets, to the ancient walls that surround this city, there is so much to explore.

I can imagine how beautiful this town will be during winter especially on Christmas time.

So in short, I believe this place is beautiful any time of the year!

us in rothenburg 2
us in rothenburg 1

rothenburg 6

The views around the town are tremendous, from the main square, to the towers to the alleys. We were only there a day, but would have loved another!!


Upon the suggestion of the Rothenburg ob der Tauber tourism office, I gathered all the courage to climb up the 65 meter city tower. I have climbed towers and love the views from the top. This tower though is perhaps the most interesting and most treacherous so far! The kids seem to be enthusiastic about it, in fact, I didn’t want to but they insisted! We entered a wide spiral staircase in the Rathaus, just off of the main square. Soon the stairs start to get narrower and steeper. By the time we arrived at the last stairs it’s shocking to see that it is less like stairs and more like a ladder. The inclination is almost 90 degrees!

city tower 3

city tower 2
city tower 1

The viewing platform at the top can only hold only a few visitors at a time. Benjamin was delighted to be at the top but Pristine was scared. She actually froze and cried. Me? I don’t like heights but I had to take pictures.

rothenburg 7

THE PLONLEIN (“Little Square”)

One of the most famous postcard images from Rothenburg ob der Tauber is definitely the Plonlein. A narrow half-timbered building with a small fountain in front, it is framed by the Kobolzeller tower and the higher Siebers Tower, with lovingly restored townhouses to the right and left, creating a charmingly picturesque effect.

plonlein 1

The Plonlein Rothenburg ob der Tauber

You can say that people who come to Rothenburg come here to take pictures at this very spot. It’s the place that I had specifically searched out because I have seen so many photographs of it and wanted to capture one of my own.

By the way, can you imagine Belle from Beauty and the Beast coming out from one of these houses and belting out the song Provincial Life?


rothenburg 5

We were at Rothenburg for a day trip from Munich and calculating the total of seven hours train journey to and fro, we were at Rothenburg for only four hours tops. It was enough to see the major streets and sights (the ploinlein!) but if I had to do it all over again, I would choose from the list of charming hotels or inns at Rothenburg and I would gladly spend a night or two so I could explore it more/travel slower.

Rothenburg Tourism suggests Hotel Rappen, a hotel located right before you enter the gates to the town. We had lunch at the restaurant’s beer garden and can’t forget the delicious bratwurts, spinach & cheese pancake and of course, German beer that we had!

Now, I have this uncurable addiction of scrolling through booking sites to see prospective hotels and I’d probably choose Romantik Hotel Markusturm or Hotel Reichs Kuchenmeister next time. I see there will definitely be a next time!

rothenburg 8

We loved, loved, loved our time at Rothenburg ob der Tauber – old, classic, historic, clean, quaint, just lovely. I loved feeling like I had been transported to another time and place, so different than my life back home.

It is definitely worth a stop if you’re in Bavaria region because nowhere else will you find such a wealth of original buildings dating from the Middle Ages. We just roamed around the cobblestone streets, visited the Christmas store (it’s surreal to see vast collections of Christmas decorations in August), checked the Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments (!), climbed the city tower, and peeked through windows of souvenir shops.

torture museum 1
torture museum 2
I saw my favorite chocolate shop!

lindt store

Though it could get touristy at peak times during the day when the tour busses arrive, it’s just so lovely to wander around and walk around the wall and the main square is picture perfect. There are lots of lovely little shops, bakeries and restaurants and the atmosphere of this place is just wonderful.

I am glad we went, thankful both my kids weren’t bothered with the long train ride. As for me, I am so happy to be able to fulfil one of my travel dreams with them at my side.

Lastly, there are several “Rothenburgs” in Germany. Make sure you are going to Rothenburg ob der Tauber as it seems that people really do sometimes drive or ride the train to other, nondescript Rothenburgs by accident.

Do you like charming little towns? Which one is your favorite?

5 Reasons to visit Innsbruck, Austria


A while back, Timehop app reminded me that it’s been a year since my solo travel to Austria. I wrote about how I spent one week in Austria but barely touching on Innsbruck, which is probably my favorite Austrian city as of the moment (I’ve only been to Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck as of this writing).

Here’s a list of reasons why you should include Innsbruck in your next travel.

1. Innsbruck is a charming small town


Yes, it is a city but with only 130,000 inhabitants, Innsbruck is considerably small. I have lived in the big city of Tokyo and now living in Dubai, I long for a more chill vibe. And the Austrian alps as backdrop? I instantly fell in love with this place the moment I stepped out of the train.

However, despite not looking like a big, glitzy city, there are loads of cool places to hang out – parks, cafes, co-working spaces, bars and restaurants and WiFi is everywhere.

Did I say charming?

You can wander through narrow alleys, marvel at noble squares and be amazed at the ornate Baroque architecture. Literally, every corner is beautiful.



2. Innsbruck is eye candy


The rows of houses at Maria Hilf street along the Inn river is a sight to behold against the picturesque Austrian Alps. I could stare at it for a long time.

3. If you love the mountains, Innsbruck is for you.


The unique thing about Innsbruck is its spectacular location hemmed in by the Austria Alps. Take the Patscherkofel cable car to the top of the Patscherkof Mountain at 2246 metres or get aboard the underground train from the city center to Hungerburg and from there take the cable car Hungerburgbahn up to Hafelekar mountain station. The Nordkette cable railway stations designed by the brilliantly talented, recently deceased architect, Zaha Hadid, are the futuristic gateway to these majestic mountains.

TIP: Don’t forget to get your Innsbruck card to avail of these cable car rides for free, along with other discounts on other attractions.


In history, the Tyrol region is referred to as the wilderness by the Austrians mainly because, 85 per cent of the region is mountainous. If you love climbing mountains, you will love the unforgettable sight above, unless it’s cloudy of course, in which case, you just need to come back.


…or wait till the weather clears.


By the way, there’s no need to be a certified mountain climber, you can get on a cable car to take you to the top of famous ski landmarks and enjoy the view from there.


4. Small villages straight out of a fairy tale book!


Innsbruck is surrounded by small holiday villages with pastoral landscapes, wooden chalets with sloping roofs bedecked with flowers, and wrap around porches.




5. It’s close to nature


Innsbruck is a beautiful combination of urban and natural playgrounds. Tyroleans love the outdoor life and hiking in the summer or skiing in the winter is a normal weekend routine. The day after I arrived at Innsbruck with feet still dead from roaming around Vienna and Salzburg, I went out with my friend and her family to climb a “little” mountain. We started halfway and reached 2,000+ meters in a few hours with me pondering on how unfit I am!


Mountain climbing/hiking in Innsbruck is a beautiful way to keep fit to be able to eat the schnitzels, strudels and sausages while on vacation!



  • via its own airport
  • 2 hours by car from Munich (or shorter if by train)
  • 4 hours by train from Vienna (several airlines from Dubai flies to Vienna non-stop) and 2 hours from Salzburg


When you think of travelling to Austria, the first place that comes to mind is often Vienna. However, I hope these photos helped you decide that Innsbruck is a city not to overlook!

How I spent one week in Austria


As if I needed scarier reality check that time flies so quickly other than the fact that we’re in the last quarter of the year, it has been a year since I traveled solo to Austria. It was a spontaneous trip, a ‘just go’ sort of thing.

When I got back, I had all the best intentions to write and extensive post about my trip, the things I learned and maybe entice a few of you to include Austria in your list of destinations to visit in the near future and to know some tips before going or while you’re there to make your Austrian getaway much better than mine..but allow me to say that the reason I wasn’t able to write about my trip till now is this – ‘life happened’. Oh, well.



I left Dubai late afternoon to arrive in Vienna’s Schwechat airport at about 9 pm. Vienna is a short flight from Dubai, only five and a half hours so it’s totally doable even if you only have a few days on your entire itinerary. My first impression once I got out of the airport and onto the train station? Deja vu – it was like I was in Narita airport in Japan. Everything about the train station that night looked and smelled like Narita.

I stayed at the Motel One Wien Haptbahnhof which I chose from searching for hotels in Vienna from based on price and proximity to the main train station. I’d be arriving late at night and it’s a new city for me so I didn’t want to take a cab or bus from the station to the hotel without having the ‘feel’ of the city yet.


The hotel was basic but had a very comfortable bed, hot shower and breakfast. It was enough for me as I will be checking out early in the morning anyway. I can see the Vienna’s main train station (Wien Hauptbahnhof) from my hotel window. It was cold that night!

I took a shower, reviewed my next day’s itinerary and slept. No – I could hardly sleep that night as I was thinking of a lot of things. This solo travel, I’ve not done this in a long time plus the thought of just having like, 12 hours in Vienna – how many things can I compress in those 12 short hours?


When I arrived at the train station, I saw a crowd gathered near the ticket offices. They were obviously not from here. During this time, migrants and refugees from the Middle East and North Africa arrived by the train loads in Austria (Vienna) aiming to get to Germany.


When I saw these people including women and children and elderly at the station without certainty of their destination (Germany stopped accepting them at the borders), their future or even certainty what could happen in the next 24 hours, I was taken aback – here I was flying from Dubai to Austria and these people…

But I was already there so I just moved and went on my way and thought I’d just make the best of this trip. Hats off to Austria for being tolerant and understanding of the situation. There were volunteers who would distribute food and water, free of charge.


The places I visited during my 24 hours in Vienna included St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Schonbrunn Palace, Naschmarkt, Ringstrasse and of course, before I started my tour of the city, I had to take a bite of the chocolate cake known as the world’s best because you know, priorities.




Vienna’s crisp, cool autumn air reminded me so much of my time in Japan. I didn’t go to any museum or watched any opera concerts Vienna is popular with as I had to leave in the evening for Salzburg.



I left Vienna on a 7 pm train toward the west, to Salzburg. I’ve been dreaming of visiting this city since the day I watched the movie The Sound of Music for the first time (probably a couple of decades ago!).  The train to Salzburg had my phone changing carriers from that of Austrian to German and back again because the rail road track was skirting the borders of the two countries. Too bad I couldn’t see anything as outside was pitch dark.

There were tents temporary put up by the Austrian Red Cross just outside the main station at Salzburg.  And lots of policemen. Refugees and immigrants, hoping to “walk” up to the Austrian/German border came all the way to Salzburg. Europe’s migrant crisis felt so real. Back home, I only see this in the papers or on tv or hear on the radio.


I had to take a bus to my hotel in Salzburg. The city was quiet and calm (and chilly!) at around 9:30 pm. I felt safe though even walking alone.

The location to my accommodation in Salzburg was a bit of a trouble to find. After getting down from the bus and walking for a few minutes, Google maps says “you have arrived at your destination” but for the life of me, I could not see any sign or something that looks like a hotel or inn – because, silly me, the accommodation that I chose wasn’t a hotel at all!!

Interesting place to stay. Hard to find but worth the effort (easier to find when you know you’re looking for a seminary not a hotel or inn!).

This was the front door of Gästehaus im Priesterseminar. I knocked at the door at 10pm and it’s obvious no one would hear me. I finally found the door bell only to be answered by a lady who was obviously upset because it’s late and was speaking in German! I replied with my very rusty German I learned at the university in Japan almost 20 years ago. It didn’t work. LOL!

I had to stop a man walking home if he can help me with German. Thankfully, everything went well and the lady opened the door for me.The rooms are quite large, very clean, and decorated very sparsely. This lack of clutter was most welcome. I somehow remembered the first time I arrived at my school dormitory in Japan!


This inn is a repurposed church and I had an amazing stay in it. The location cannot be beat. Public transport outside the guest house and the old town just across the river.

I woke up early the next day and had breakfast while reviewing my itinerary – I only have a short time and intended to cover as much as my feet could survive. First up was to go to the Salzburg Info Center located at Mozartplatz at the Old Town. After I picked up my Salzburg card (TIP: You should get this card!) and map from the tourism office, I just crossed the street and found myself at the Old Town and proceeded to the Salzburg Cathedral and onto the furnicular to take me to the Hohensalzburg – Central Europe’s largest and best-preserved fortress.

The fortress offers a perfect vantage view of Salzburg.



I walked around a bit around the Old Town again and found out it’s not only in the Philippines where Christmas starts early – there were many Christmas ornaments for sale in the streets of Salzburg already!



Located at the northern boundary of Alps, Salzburg was founded around 700 b.c and since then has kept great economic and cultural importance for that part of Austria. The rich baroque architecture invites everybody to walk through its narrow streets. I got lost in one of those streets near the house where Mozart was born, but it’s a really small town and the more you get lost, the more you find beautiful corners and things…

Salzburg is a wonderul city to go on vacation. It was relaxing and very laid back. At 6 pm, the shops and stores close down for the night. This surprised me a little, but was actually a nice change of pace from the ’till midnight’ open for business malls and shops in Dubai. The city became quiet early, with the exception of a couple of restaurants and bars.

I did mention about the Sound of Music movie and I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t take the famed Sound of Music tour. I had to leave for Innsbruck in the evening and there was no way I could fit it in my very short stay in Salzburg.

TIP: If you have time and the interest, take the Sound of Music Tour.

The nearest Sound of Music experience I had was stepping on this landmark staircase where Maria and the children sang Do-re-mi!


This one!

Sound of Music

While it could be a little cheesy (says my other friends!), they have a true appreciation for the musical and the tour gives the opportunity to see different parts of Salzburg as well as some other towns where the film was shot, like Mondsee. I am definitely going to go back and take this tour with my kids soon. But even without the tour, you can always drop by Mirabell Palace and Gardens just to appreciate the well manicured gardens or just people watch, like I did while resting my very tired feet.


Before I knew it, it was time to go back to the seminary to take my luggage and walk to the station to catch my train to the next city on my list. Oh Salzburg, I wonder – do you think the people who live here are aware how beautiful their place is?


Read more: 24 hours in Salzburg



Before I write anything about Innsbruck, let me share this photo – taken from my friend’s living room when you look out the window. How would you like to wake up to this view every day? I would LOVE it.


Tyrol’s capital is a sight to behold. Innsbruck was the reason I didn’t spend too much time in Vienna and Salzburg. I have a friend who lives in Innsbruck and I wanted to spend more time with her and the city she now calls home. The last time we’ve seen each other was way back in 2008, in Japan.


Innsbruck is not just a beautiful city but a city with very rich history. In the heart of downtown Innsbruck is the towering Triumphal Arch or ‘Triumphpforte’ as it is referred to locally. Dating back to its construction in 1765, this grand design was initially built to commemorate the marriage of the Duke of Tuscany and Princess Maria Ludovica from Spain.

While the Triumphpforte was originally intended to be a monument of joy, the Triumphpforte would go on to take another meaning. During the marriage festivities, Empress Maria Theresa’s husband, Kaiser Franz I, died. The occasion quickly took on a somber tone. The Triumphpforte captures both emotions effectively. The northern façade of the monument is dedicated to mourning the late Kaiser Franz I. The southern façade is dedicated to the nuptial union.

The arch reminds me of the the one in Paris. In fact it looked like the smaller cousin of the Arc De Triomphe. Its a nice backdrop for a photo and has trams and horse drawn carriages moving along below it.

Immediately on my first morning at Innsbruck, my friend (who just had a baby 2 months prior) went to hike in the nearby mountain. It was a totally new experience for me. You can read more about it here.


I totally mastered how to look like I’m not dying . But if you thought mountain climbing/hiking/trekking is difficult on the way up, wait till it’s time to go down! My knees were trembling like a newborn giraffe! In the photo below, my friend’s husband who is a pro at this mountain hiking thing, (and carries a toddler on his back!) waits for me and my friend as we take photos – I need evidence to show that I did not just see the Alps from afar, I climbed it! And I survived! But that’s nothing as my friend hiked this mountain with a sleeping baby tucked in front of her in a baby carrier!


The following day, I was on my own and ready to explore the city. I couldn’t wait!

But first a very important TIP: Get the Innsbruck Card.

With this card, you can avail all of the public transport, including lifts and cable cars, free entrance to museums, hop on hop off bus, and many, many more. Of all the Austrian city cards I’ve used, this is by far the most worth it. The Innsbruck Card is available for 24, 48 or 72 hours. Children aged 6 to 15 years enjoy a 50% discount.


The Inn valley is best viewed from above so off to Patscherkofel I go to take the cable car ride up!




I am totally in love with Innsbruck. It’s my idea of a perfect getaway from the concrete jungle, from the hectic city life. A trip to the nearby small villages just outside the city made me fall in love with Innsbruck more and more.



Everything at the small villages were simply gorgeous, from the churches, to building windows, to the wall art. My goodness, even the cemeteries are beautiful.



I took cable car rides which I highly recommend you do when you are in Innsbruck. Ride to and from the mountain is free with the Innsbruck card. If my hands weren’t freezing, I would probably spend more time here than I did.


I’d probably put in a separate post about these trips to the mountains as this post has gotten probably unbearably long. Are you still there?


If I have to do it again, the only thing I’ll change is to spend an extra day or two at Salzburg and explore Innsbruck again, longer. I’m planning to take the kids with me next time and maybe get on a train to take a short trip to Munich (Germany) or down to Venice and definitely get to Hallstatt.

That said, I think it’s obvious by now that Innsbruck had been the highlight of my solo travel to Austria. I loved the time I spent with my friend and her family (I even loved the chance to lull her new baby to sleep – ah, that newborn smell!) and I loved the fresh air, great food and lots and lots of eye candy.

Have I convinced you to include Austria in your travel next time?

Prague with kids

kids at charles bridge 1

I took my two children to Prague last month without any fear. The city of a hundred spires is pretty easy to navigate, safe, with excellent public transport and offers lots of things for adults with children to enjoy. Just for reference our trip to Prague was a short one: arriving Wednesday afternoon and leaving Saturday afternoon. We were there for 4 days and 3 nights so here are the places we managed to squeeze in our schedule.

1. Charles Bridge

Benjamin at Charles bridge

An icon of the city, Charles Bridge is a picturesque span featuring 30 statues of saints is regularly packed with street vendors and musicians, and links sections of Prague on either side of the Vltava River. On the east side of the Vltava River is Prague’s historic Old Town district, marked by the Old Town Bridge Tower at the foot of the bridge.

charles bridge musicians

TRAVEL TIP: Head out early to avoid the throngs of tourists! We were there before 8 am.

P B and Ariane in charles bridge

Above photo is Charles Bridge at around 7:30 am. And below photo is Charles Bridge at 9:30 am.

charles bridge at 930 am

2. Kampa island

Kampa island in winter

Kampa Island – was announced the second most beautiful city island in the world. (First place went to St Ludwig Island in Paris and third place was assigned to Ada Ciganlija Island in Belgrade.) The above photo was taken on my first visit to Prague in December and Kampa island, seen from above while I was standing on Charles Bridge.

early morning Kampa 2

kampa town 1

Kampa is an island on the Vltava river in Prague on the side of the Lesser Quarter (Malá Strana) from which it is separated by the Devil’s Stream, a narrow artificial channel in the past used to power water mills.

Kampa island stream

The way to Kampa island is very easy. You can reach the Kampa Island either from Charles Bridge (the staircase was added there already in 1884)

way to Kampa island

View of Charles Bridge from Kampa island. Early morning was absolutely bliss – no tourists, even the locals seem to be still sleeping.

early morning Kampa 1


john lennon wall 1

Kampa island’s most famous spot is probably the John Lennon wall – a symbol of freedom and rebellion against the communist regime in the 1980’s. It is situated right across the beautiful building of French Embassy in Kampa.
On the death of John Lennon, youths of Prague decided to have a symbolic burial place for a man they admired for his fight for equality and peace and freedom for all.

john lennon wall 2

If we had more time, I would have loved to take the kids around Kampa island to explore that beautiful, quiet little corner of the city.

3. Prague Castle

st vitus cathedral

Roughly the size of seven football fields, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world. Built and renovated during 13 centuries, the complex includes churches, gardens, alleyways and royal residences. What you see from a distance that you think is the castle is actually St. Vitus cathedral. The entire complex is the “castle”.

prague castle entrance

There are plenty of open spaces inside the castle for kids to run around.

prague castle grounds

prague castle 2

There’s a long stairway leading up to Prague castle from Mala Strana (Lesser town), 208 steps and we climbed them all! From the Old Castle Steps there is a wonderful view of not only the Lesser Quarter’s rooftops but more or less the whole city of Prague. As we were about to climb the stairs, Benjamin slept so I had to carry him all the way to the top. It nearly broke my back but I could not NOT let Benjamin see this view.

prague castle 1

prague castle view

Going down the castle is easier towards the other side of the castle.

prague castle going down

Getting There

If you would like to walk, you have several options:

Nerudova Street – walk up the picturesque (and quite steep) Nerudova street from Malostranské námestí and at the top take a sharp right onto Ke Hradu. You will end up in front of the main entrance to the Castle.

Castle Steps (Zámecké schody) – start up Nerudova from Malostranské nám?stí and take a quick right onto Zámecká street. Then turn left to climb the romantic Castle Stairs, which will take you to the Garden on the Ramparts (Zahrada na Valech).

Old Castle Steps (Staré zámecké schody) – the stairs start near the Malostranská metro station and will put you at the beginning of Ji?ská street. You will be rewarded with one of the most beautiful views of Prague.

Getting There by Tram
Taking the tram will save you a walk uphill or up the stairs, and the ride is quite scenic. Take tram 22 (e.g. from Národní trída or the Malostranská metro station) and get off at one of these stops:

Královský letohrádek – if you get off here, you can start with the Royal Garden, Belveder and Ballgame Hall, then cross the Deer Moat bridge to get to the Second Courtyard
Note: The Royal Garden and Deer Moat are closed from November through March

Pražský hrad – as its name suggests, this is considered the main Prague Castle stop. Get off here if you would like to start at the Second Courtyard.

Pohorelec – getting off here will enable you to walk to the Castle through Hrad?any and arrive at the main entrance. This is probably the nicest route (and our favorite).

4. Petrin Hill & Observation Tower

petrin tower

At Petrin hill you can find an elegant lookout tower inspired by the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris. Built as a mini version of Paris’s Eiffel Tower, the Petrin Observation Tower was built in 1891 for the Jubilee Exhibition. The tower is 60m tall, which doesn’t seem particularly high until you add in the fact that it sits at the summit of Petrin Hill, which is 318m (1043 feet) high.

We took the tram #22 from Malostranske namesti and got down at Ujezd stop. Once we crossed the street after getting down the tram, we saw a mini park with cherry blossoms still remaining, though leaves have started to appear in the branches. The tulips were beautiful.

petrin hill 4

These (desert) kids – how happy they were with the green spaces.

We took the funicular up to Petrin hill and enjoyed time at the gardens.

petrin hill 2

Petrin hill has beautiful gardens, kids play area, an observatory, their local so called Eiffel Tower and some nice cafes. If there are food trucks in America (or lately, in Dubai too), they have this at Petrin hill in Prague.

petrin hill 5

We bought sausages and drinks and decided to eat our lunch on the grounds. What a lovely picnic day in May!

petrin hill 3

Petrín Hill is definitely recommended as a hike, the grounds are huge and you could walk around for what seems like forever. It is within walking distance to the Prague Castle district among other places. If we lived close to this, I swear I’d be taking the kids here as often as I could!

To reach the Observation Tower and other attractions at the top of Petrin Hill, take the Funicular Railway. This departs from Ujezd street in the Lesser Town (Malá Strana), near Ujezd tram stop. The funicular railway forms part of the Prague public transport network, so a single ticket for travel on trams, buses and the metro is also valid on the funicular.

5. Trams

tram 3

Czech Republic’s beautiful capital city, Prague, is crisscrossed by trams that complement the subway and bus system, providing transportation to virtually all corners of the city. Everyone is welcome on the tram, including furry friends.

tram 2

tram 1

Most children especially boys, love to ride on the trams. Prague has an extensive network of trams and if you like you can go round the city on public transport all day. All you need is a day pass. You get your ticket at the vending machine which you will find at most tram stops or at the metro stations. The price of a 24-hour ticket is 110 CZK (US$4.5). Children under 6 are free. Be sure to validate your ticket at the beginning of the 24-hour period. You can expect random checks, and there’s no clemency for foreigners.

So that’s what we managed to squeeze in our schedule. We definitely missed to go to Prague zoo, ranked 4th best in the world. It’s interesting to note too that all of the above places we went and activities we did, everything was free, except for the tram which obviously you need tickets to use. There are so many other things to do in Prague for the kids to enjoy however, we did not have the luxury of time to do all…which is ok as it only means one thing: We need to go back!

Prague in May

view from hotel window

Prague is…a very charming and beautiful city. It’s so easy to fall in love with it, I know because I am in love with it. One of the best things to do while in the city is to simply wander around. The city is very easy to navigate and most of the interesting spots are just walking distance from each other (or a short subway/tram ride away). This is what I love most about this city.

I already planned the walking trips and routes and I planned it well. After all, I am with the younger kid this time. The one problem with my plan? The weather, even in early spring month of May.

A friend who lives there already warned me: it could still rain in May but well, I was stubborn. And I really wanted to be so positive I could manipulate the weather with my thoughts and ask it to favor us.

The day we arrived? It was raining.

We didn’t have any umbrella, I left my waterproof jacket I bought from my previous visit here last December, I packed Pristine’s waterproof jacket too inside our luggage (actually, it is not Pristine’s Columbia waterproof jacket – we borrowed it from my friend during our first visit and brought to return it). Thankfully, Benjamin’s waterproof  windbreaker was in my back pack. I put it over his thick fleece jacket. My sister had a light leather jacket which was useless with the one digit temperature, no bonnet or gloves or socks because like me, she was expecting the weather to be ‘warmer’.

rainy wednesday

Look at her. She could totally write a blog post, “how to smile beautifully even when you’re freezing cold and cursing under your breath

It was already cold and wet and we were dragging our luggages in the cobblestone streets and looking for our accommodation. I bought a local SIM at the airport  but somehow the data has not been activated yet till get got to the city center. What does that mean?

No Google maps.

In the cold.

With shivering children (+ 1 adult) in tow.

I asked around but it was either everyone was in a hurry to seek shelter from the rain, didn’t speak English or didn’t care. I tried to recall and squeezed my brain out with the location map of the hotel. I have familiarized myself with it. I know it’s on Karlova street – I just wasn’t ready to face the realization that Karlova street had some little corners and that the cold and rain dripping  your face could make things more confusing that it really is.

We finally found the building after asking a receptionist from another hotel who was so kind to help us even if we were guests of another hotel.

After checking in at our hotel, we took a hot shower and decided, no, we won’t waste our time. We ventured out, never mind the rain!

rainy wednesday 2

rainy old town

It was already almost 4pm when we got out of the hotel but the wonderful thing about this season towards summer is that the days are longer. The sun is still bright even at 8:30 pm! We went to the Dancing House which was a short tram ride from the nearest train station where we bought tickets (Staromestska), wandered at the Old Town, heard the Astronomical Clock bell, ate at a local restaurant, visited the Chocolate Museum and walked around the Old Jewish quarter before calling it a night. We were cold but it’s not every day we’re in Prague.

What I’m really trying to say in this post is, when it rains in Prague when you are there, do what you were going to do anyway, but wearing a waterproof!

I won’t make this post long. To finish, a little tip:

What to Pack for Prague in May

Though temperatures are warming up (and it did for the rest of our stay there! More in another post), showers can put a damper on your sightseeing. Keep this in mind when packing for May travel to Prague.

Don’t forget:

  • A water-resistant jacket
  • Waterproof shoes
  • Umbrella

More about our trip next, this time, sunny pics!

Getting a bite of the World’s Most Famous Cake

Photo by Wien Tourismus |

Photo by Wien Tourismus | Peter Rigaud

Having a sweet tooth, I probably first knew about the Sachertorte before learning any name of a single popular, historical building in Vienna.

Vienna is home to the Original Sachertorte, two layers of dense, not overly sweet chocolate cake with a thin layer of apricot jam in between the layers and dark chocolate frosting on the top and sides. It is known as the world’s most famous chocolate cake.

And there are two famous, rival places to go for the cake in Vienna – Hotel Sacher or the Demel cafe.

I had my Sachertorte at Hotel Sacher.

When I was in Vienna just a couple of months ago, I was kind of obsessed to try and taste the world’s most popular cake but I didn’t know much about it until the Filipino (surprise! He’s lived in Vienna for 30 years) waiter who served me at the Hotel Sacher cafe shared to me a story that in Vienna, they take chocolate cake so seriously that the city’s two main producers once fought a nine-year legal battle about it.

The cake in question is of course, the Sachertorte.

sachertorte at cafe sacher 2

The legal battle, which ran from 1954 to 1963, was centred on which had the right to call its Sachertorte the “original”.


The first Sachertorte was created for Prince Metternich in 1832 by Franz Sacher, a 16-year-old pastry apprentice in the royal bakery. He was decades ahead of his time as the chocolate industry only began developing in the mid-1800s, and it wasn’t until the late 19th century that chocolate cakes became common. Sacher’s son Eduard, who served as an apprentice at the Demel pastry shop, refined his father’s recipe and took it with him when he opened the ornate Hotel Sacher in 1867.

cafe sacher

Because of this, the Sachertorte was the subject of a lengthy legal battle between Hotel Sacher and Demel. In 1955, the Commercial Court ruled Hotel Sacher’s version closest to Franz’s pioneering recipe and granted the hotel the exclusive right to identify its cake as the “Original Sacher-Torte.”

The first day that I was in Vienna, I headed to Cafe Sacher to order a slice of Original Sacher-Torte with a generous dollop of unsweetened whipped cream and a cup of Wien Melange. I won’t lie, the weighing scale tells me not too many sweets on this trip but I am eager to blow as many calories on the chocolatey indulgent dessert because of the history. Perfect excuse, no?


1. Go there early.

Kaffe Haus

Photo by Wien Tourismus | Karl Thomas

Whether you decide to try out the Sachertorte at Hotel Sacher or at Demel, head out early so you can enjoy the peace and quiet and ponder over the fact that your tongue is going on an adventure to taste a world famous food. Both cafes can get congested later in the day (especially the Cafe Sacher), sometimes with a long waiting time.

2. Don’t rush through it!

Kaffee Haus

Photo by Wien Tourismus | Peter Rigaud

The Sachertorte takes days to make and an afternoon (or morning) to savor. Eating Sachertorte in Vienna is an unhurried ritual, can even be a sweet, romantic date. Put down your phone, while you’re at it, too. This deserves your undivided attention.

* The Original Sacher Torte is still made almost entirely by hand using Franz Sacher’s recipe and is a closely guarded secret.

3. Keep an open mind

sachertorte at cafe sacher

Even if this is reputed to be the “the most popular chocolate cake in the world”, it can’t please everyone. Some like it, some don’t. I’d be curious what you think of it!

So, after my rendezvous with the Original Sachertorte, I wanted to walk around. Vienna’s Ringstrasse, a grand boulevard that encircles the historic city center in a 3-mile loop was just around the corner so I went there for a post-torte power walk. Learn more about Vienna.

Are you going to visit Vienna soon or is it in your travel plan? Would you include ‘eating the Sachertorte’ on your to do list if you’re there?

Hiking in the alps at Innsbruck, Austria

mountain climbing header

After spending 24 hours in Salzburg, I moved on to the west of Austria, to Innsbruck to visit a friend I haven’t seen since 2008 and of course to see and explore the Tyrolean capital city.

Where is Innsbruck?

Innsbruck, is the capital city of the federal state of Tyrol (Tirol) in western Austria. It lies about half way between Munich (Germany) and Verona (Italy). Innsbruck is located in the broad valley between high mountains, the so-called North Chain in the Karwendel Alps (Hafelekarspitze, 2,334 metres or 7,657 feet – I’ve reached the peak of this! More in another post.) to the north, and the Patscherkofel (2,246 m or 7,369 ft – I’ve been to the peak of this too!) and Serles (2,718 m or 8,917 ft) to the south.

I took the train to Innsbruck from Salzburg and the travel time was a little bit over two hours. Travelling by train around Austria or within Europe for the matter can be an inexpensive travel option IF you book tickets way ahead of time and if your schedule is fixed. Check out the SparSchiene Österreich type ticket on my other post: Austria on a budget.

salzburg hbf

I would assume the view outside would have been beautiful but I was travelling at night, leaving Salzburg at 7 pm so there was nothing I could see but darkness. Interestingly, my phone’s cellular network changes from Austrian to German, meaning, there were parts of the route that was really close to the Austrian/German border. The next time I visit, it will be a longer stretch so I can hop on a train and go to Germany too.

I arrived at Innsbruck’s main station past nine pm already. My friend who lives a few minutes away from the main station has two kids both below the age of 2 and it was late for her or her husband to go out and pick me up at the station. They didn’t have to too, I was bent on challenging myself to get to to their apartment with 2 G’s: Google maps and my guts. She already told me which bus number to take and which bus stop to go down. After the short bus ride, I needed to walk for a few minutes to reach their place. It was already late, dark and cold but thankfully, Innsbruck is a very safe place. The silence on the roads made me a little anxious though, this was by far so different from the always vibrant Dubai.

The route to my friend’s house from the bus station was pretty simple, as per Google maps but me and my sense of direction…I made a couple of wrong turns and ended up circling their block dragging a heavy luggage – the sound of the wheels of my luggage on the cobblestone sidewalk was so loud with the eerie silence of the early winter night.

Long story short, I finally rang their door bell. My friend’s kids and her husband was already asleep so we had to contain our giggles! We were so happy to see each other again. We hugged and spent so much time talking, catching up that we even forgot to take a selfie before her baby roused from sleep, wanting to nurse again. I can’t believe I am already here! Weren’t we just fantasizing about this trip years before?


good morning innsbruck

We slept late but me and my body clock – I always wake up early. The above photo is what’s in front of my friend’s apartment. I was there late September and I think that’s already the start of winter. There were some snow on the mountain tops.


mountain climbing 9

My friend and her husband are avid mountain hikers/climbers. I was excited of the idea when her husband said we will climb a “little” mountain today but I won’t lie, I was terrified. Living in flat Dubai for nine years, I don’t think my feet are made to climb inclined terrains. Much more, my feet were already dying/dead from all the walking around Vienna and Salzburg for the past two days.

But no, not now, I should do this! My feet can die later.

The “little” mountain was 1,840 meters high. We started about halfway where we park the car and started our hike. I was only using my Nike Free shoes and I wasn’t sure how it’ll hold up with the inclined terrain but like, I had other shoes…

It was cold in the mountain at around 3 or 4 degrees celcius and lower as we got higher.

mountain climbing 3

The estimated hike time to the peak at Birgitzer Alm (a small log cabin inn/restaurant) at 1,840 meters was around two hours. However, we had to take breaks, multiple breaks! This was the part where I realized how unfit I am despite doing regular cardio and strength training exercises 5-6 days a week.

rest stop

Cez, my friend’s husband didn’t require any rest but had to stop because of me {thank you for understanding!} and his wife, my friend needed some break too. There’s nothing compared to the energy and endurance you have to spend when hiking an elevated terrain! He and their little girl is used to hiking on weekends.

mountain spring water

We passed by a spring water, free flowing from the source. Mountain hikers/climbers stop by to drink water and refill their bottles here. The water was delicious!

My friend and I as we almost reached the peak.

mountain climbing 2

The view of Innsbruck and the little villages from where we stood was beautiful. And look, we’re above the clouds! One more thing that made us feel we were on Cloud 9? Me, that I was able to survive our hike up. Lack of proper sleep and semi-dead feet yet I’ve never felt more alive than ever.

mountain climbing 1

But forget about me, look at this woman beside me (and that cute little baby head peeking out!). I want you to do a silent applause for my friend. She has just given birth six weeks before when this picture was taken and now, she is mountain climbing carrying her infant! My shivering thighs were so embarrassed. She has not hiked for a long time due to pregnancy and child birth yet here she is, sharing this achievement with me, with her baby boy nestled in her chest while I only had my own body to carry!

The alm or mountain lodge/cabin offering rest and refuge for hikers was getting so near. My friend’s husband suggested we take the shortcut instead of the winding route, there’s a direct one but with steeper slope. (Yes, he’s carrying their other child, a two year old girl. This family rocks at this activity!)


I want my agony to end soon at the same time, want to take up on the challenge so I said yes. Plus I was already very hungry and they said there’s good food at the alm. Mmmmm.

birgitzer alm

Here we are!! We all still looked alive! Or not…


Thinking what to order…everything on the menu was in German language.

alm menu



apfel strudel

Truth be told, I wanted a cold beer but decided I would still prefer to go down the mountain on my feet, using my two legs instead of rolling downhill so…

mountain climbing 5

Why I’m smiling in this picture? Because we’ve conquered the tough part (climbing up) and now it’s easy peasy going down…or so I thought!! Going down was definitely NOT easy at all. You need traction, balance and lots of strength in your knees and legs.

mountain climbing 7

By the time we reached our starting point, all of my legs were shaking. Golly, this was just my first day in Innsbruck and I have lots and lots of walking planned to do in the next couple of days and I didn’t pack any spare legs in my luggage!


mountain climbing 4

I won’t lie, it was exhausting but YES! And if I lived there, I would do this often. Maybe. Just maybe.


I want to thank my friend Melba and her husband for accommodating me in Innsbruck. I had such lovely time with them and I don’t think I could have survived climbing that mountain without them as inspiration.

First Christmas market experience in Prague!

christmas market in Prague

I love Christmas, who doesn’t? The bright lights, Christmas trees (bonus if they’re REAL!), carols…Growing up in the only Catholic country in Asia – Christmas is a huge thing in the Philippines. It’s probably the biggest and most important and anticipated event of the year.

I spent a good 19 Christmasses before I left to live in a non-Christian country (my first Christmas in Japan wasn’t what I expected it to be) and sure there are lights and Christmas decors there, it’s never the same. After 10 years in Japan, we moved to Dubai. There are Christmas decors here too but then it crossed my mind – what would Christmas look like somewhere else where Christmas is traditionally celebrated? Like in Europe perhaps?

christmas market 4

Prague is about 6.5 hours flight from Dubai so I chose it as destination for the plane tickets I won from a contest by Fly Dubai. I can only take one companion so I took my preteen daughter Pristine to embark on a new adventure – a trip to Prague, Czech Republic for the main purpose of hopefully experiencing a bit of Christmas a few days before the actual big day –  by visiting the Christmas market for the first time!

This is our first travel alone together and I was excited to see how she’d take it. She has not been to Czech Republic (neither have I) so we explored it together, got lost together and massaged each other’s feet after hours of walking.

christmas market in Prague 1

Tourists and locals alike flock to the Christmas market to buy presents, eat traditional food or sip hot wine or simply marvel at the sight of the huge tree at the center of the square. The tree is of course, real!

christmas market 10

We visited the oldest and biggest Christmas market in the capital city of Prague located at the Old Town Square which was only 5 minutes walk from our hotel.

christmas market in Prague 2

christmas market in Prague 3

On our first day in Prague, we joined a walking tour, had lunch and went back to the hotel to rest. When night came, we bundled up to go out and see the Christmas market all lit up. I cringed at the idea of going out in the cold but it would be a shame not to – it’s at night time when everything comes alive!

Prague Christmas market night

It was drizzling so I couldn’t take my proper camera out. So tip if you’re traveling during winter and want to take good photos using an SLR camera, either you could check the weather forecast first before you travel or have a waterproof photography gear.

Prague Christmas market night

christmas market night 3

It’s just so much different during the night, isn’t it? I love the photos I took even though these were just from my iPhone.

The dates during which Prague Christmas markets are open are usually different from year to year. In general, you’ll find at least some markets running from the last week of November into the first week of January. The Prague Christmas markets run from 28th November to 3rd January.


christmas market in Prague 4

christmas market in Prague 5

What’s so enchanting about Christmas markets are all the little things that never change: children gathered round the crib; grown-ups gathered round the hot mulled wine (svarené víno or svarák) stalls; the nutcrackers, the carols, the candlelight. Foreigners come here to stock up with gifts and delicacies. Locals often just drop in for a few drinks and a bite to eat.

hot wine

pork roast

christmas market in Prague 7

We loved everything about the Christmas Market in Prague, most impressive of all is the Christmas tree, shipped in from Ceská Lípa, which is north of Prague. The tree is erected at the Old Town Square and draped in a blaze of lights. It is switched on every night around 5pm, and makes a spectacular sight, set against Prague’s dark gothic skyline.


1. Book a hotel around Prague 1, that’s the nearest to the Old Town and Wenceslas Square soyou can leave your hotel and be in the midst of the markets in minutes. Grab a drink, browse the stalls, and soak up the atmosphere. And when you’re ready for a warm bath, it’s just a short walk home.

Pariszka street

During our visit to Prague, we stayed for two nights at The Intercontinental Prague using the loyalty points I got from the IHG® Rewards Club. The hotel is located on the fashionable Parížská shopping street in the Old Town area of Prague, a fantastic location that allowed us to walk to most important tourist spots including the Old Town Square where the Christmas market was taking place.

intercontinental prague

2. Take your time. Remember, this is a market. There will likely be more than one vendor selling similar products so there’s no need to impulse buy at all. And the price of the same item will differ from one vendor to another!

christmas market in Prague 6

3. The market usually gets busier at night, so if you want more time to check things out at a slower pace, a daytime trip would be better. Also, you can take more photos of everything in the market without too many tourists crossing in front of you during daytime.

4. Take it easy on the mulled wine. Hot alcohol hits harder. No, really.

warm wine

5. Keep warm. It was around 0 degrees celsius at night when we were there early December. No snow yet but it was raining on the our first night in Prague. You might be better off wearing waterproof winter jacket as well.

Prague is a picturesque city throughout the year, although the spirit of the city during Christmas time is extra magical. We could not forget the time we spent in Prague even if it was a short one. We would love to go back again, Christmas or not, next time, bringing the whole family.

A short trip to Prague, Czech Republic – an overview

prague at charles bridge

This is a simple travel guide for Prague, Czech Republic based on our personal short trip to this European city nicknamed, “City of a hundred spires”. What we did was do the free tour on the first day we were at Prague, had late lunch and went back to the hotel to rest and went out again at night to see the Christmas market at Old Town. The next day, Pristine (my preteen daughter who was with me during this trip), walked around the city on our own, going to Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. More on that in the next posts!

hop hop prague

For now, an overview.


First things, first: money. Czech Republic uses the Czech Koruna or Czech crown as its currency. Check for the conversions. I tried to buy Czech money from Dubai but the exchange centers did not have them, including the ones at Terminal 2 in Dubai. I exchanged USD to koruna at the money exchange shop at the arrival area of Prague airport as soon as we arrived as I need it to buy bus tickets.


north of iran
There are several airlines that fly direct from Dubai to Prague’s Vaclav Havel airport. Playing on certain dates on shows Czech Airlines having the cheapest flight during off season for US$300 round trip. Yeah, it’s time you change your perception that traveling to Europe is too expensive. With proper planning and budgeting (and saving beforehand) it is totally doable.

However, we got on a morning flight from Dubai to Prague with Fly Dubai, one of the UAE’s budget airlines that has some pretty cool new destinations from and to Europe – Prague, Sofia or Bratislava…just to mention a few. I won 2 business class tickets I used for this trip from an Instagram contest, by the way.

pristine at bus 119 stop
Unlike the other European airports I have landed before, there is no train service from Prague’s Vaclav Havel airport to the city center. But don’t fret! There are buses that travel frequently from the airport to the city center. The cheapest option is to take a city bus. After arrival just find the kiosk where you can buy bus tickets. You can also buy from the driver but at a slightly higher price.

Bus 119 leaves from outside the Arrivals terminal and runs from around 4.20 in the morning until around 11.45 at night. It will take you to the Nádraží Veleslavín metro station on line A (Green Line) or take #100 that goes to the yellow line Metro station Zlicin. From there, you can take the metro using the same ticket to continue to your destination. The metro will get you to the center in no time (6 – 8 stops, depending on where you’re going). The most popular metro stations on the route are: Malostranská – Lesser Town (Malá Strana), Staromestská – Old Town (Staré Mesto), Mustek – bottom and middle of Wenceslas Square, Muzeum – top of Wenceslas Square.

pristine at subway

Don’t forget to validate your ticket when you get on the bus or train!

Reference: Public transport fares in Prague

subway map

There are several hotels in Prague, depending on your budget, purpose and preferred location. We spent our first two nights at my friend’s house, a short 30 minute train ride from Prague’s main station.


The next two nights, we spent it using my IHG Rewards Points at Intercontinental Prague. The hotel is a short walk from Staromestská subway station and very close to the Old Town, the location of Prague’s biggest and oldest Christmas market (one of the reasons I chose this destination).

Intercon entrance

Booking your Prague accommodation through the above affiliate links will cost you nothing extra and helps support this website. Thank you!

tour meeting place

Of course you could walk around and tour Prague by yourself but I would suggest booking a walking tour with the Sandeman’s Prague tour – it’s a FREE tour that work on a tips-only basis! We arrived in Prague from Kolin on a Monday, rushed to check in and l our bag at the hotel and walked back to Rudolfinum, the meeting place and start of the tour at 10:45 am. I admit, I did sweat a lot running to catch the start of the tour! 

prague free tour

Our guide was very passionate about the history of the city and had a sharp wit that made our walking tour on a cold, wet day in Prague very memorable. There are other free walking tours in Prague. Make a search and book which one you think is best!

prague free tour 2

The walking tour lasted for a little more than two hours, ending near Wenceslas Square. It was a bit of a challenge to walk in the rain but our guide was flexible to seek shelter and expand his talk to discuss history under one corner with a roof, for example as some of us were wearing non-waterproof jackets. We couldn’t use umbrellas at one point because the wind was strong.

Wenceslas Square

TIP: When traveling to Europe (or any place when it’s winter), it could be a better idea to bring a waterproof winter jacket. After living in the desert for a long time, I’ve completely forgotten about that.

I wanted to purchase a local SIM card so I have a number my husband can use to call me if necessary. Most of all, I wanted an internet connection while on the go, because, duh, Google maps…and Twitter and Instagram or Facebook. There’s an option of renting a pocket WiFi device (it was not cheap and needed deposit) so I opted to buy a SIM. There’s a Vodafone kiosk at the end of the arrival area where I bought a SIM with 4GB data for 600 Czech crowns (US$25). The cheaper option is 1.5GB at 500 Czech crowns (US$20).

back to airport

Our time in Prague was up very quickly! We were there for 4 nights, 5 days. It was raining all of the days except for one – I thank God for giving us one full day of sunshine so we were able to see the city, including Prague castle (more on separate post!)…this was after I bought a waterproof jacket though.

rain and boots

Weird things like this always happen to me. Oh, well.

going back to airport

Prague, we really enjoyed our short stay and your charming old world cobblestone roads…except when we’re dragging a heavy bag!


prague from terrace of Lebkowicz

If you’re planning to visit the city soon, I hope this little guide will help you in some way. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment! I can’t wait to write about our first mom-daughter travel experience in Prague!

Pack everything, including your morning brain

terminal 2

Funny things happen when you are not used to flying Business Class. Or should I say, when you have not flown business ever in your life. My first ever business class was to Prague last week courtesy of the free tickets from Fly Dubai which I won from an Instagram contest.

Our flight was at 8:50 am and thankfully we live near the airport so we didn’t have to endure panic attacks at 3am.We arrived at the airport fine and ready but we left without breakfast. It’s my first time at Terminal 2. There was a McDonald’s, KFC and Paul Bakeshop. I know there would be meals inside the plane as it’s almost a 7 hour flight but I don’t think I can wait that long till meals are served, nor can my daughter. We opted for McDonalds. I was already disgusted with the thought of having something greasy early in the morning and the ridiculous price of McD’s inside the airport but what to do…urgh, to think I don’t like having a burger for breakfast…lunch or even dinner. I can’t remember the time I ate at McDonalds.

I munched on the burger, accepting defeat then halfway through, I realized…HEY, we’re flying business right?? Don’t business class people have that special access to something called LOUNGES?

I put down my burger and stormed out of the airport food court. My daughter was puzzled. “Where are we going, mama? Why are you dashing mad like that?”

I looked around and there it was – a few steps from the food court, there it was…the FLY DUBAI lounge for business class passengers! And it had buffet breakfast with real food – fruits, salad, scrambled eggs, sausages, sandwiches. For FREE.

fly dubai lounge

I felt so so disappointed with myself I can’t even eat…it was pointless to be inside the lounge.

My daughter told me, “Don’t be too sad, mama. Well at least you realized it before you finished your cheeseburger!” I cannot just get over the fact of what just happened.

It seems that you don’t need much time to board when you’re in business class, it says you can even be at the gate 25 minutes before departure time. But knowing me (OCD), I told my daughter we’d be early at the gate just in case. There were so many people near the gate that we weren’t able to find a seat. Oh well, no big deal, we’ll just stand, a punishment for people who eat cheeseburger for breakfast! (Something like that).

My eyes were wandering through the area, looking at different kinds of people and having my weird airport thoughts…I saw it…a sign pointing to a special waiting area for Fly Dubai business class passengers.

What’s wrong with this morning?!

We followed the signs and there it was…the waiting area WITH NOBODY there. All empty seats. Thankfully, we did not stand outside for an hour or else..I would really hate myself.

My daughter just laughed it out. I love the innocence of children. My children. They always see the good in a situation. I wonder who birthed these. Maybe I was like this before…then I grew old.

Our departure time neared and we were whisked in a shuttle bus to the plane. We were finally settled inside the plane, enjoying some good stretch. I was already thinking what to drink, the stronger the better maybe so I could knock myself out (I never drink on the plane).

*I didn’t drink anything with alcohol on our flight to Prague because duh, there’s a new city to explore. I don’t want to sleep in the train and end up in another country!

Boy, this is so different than sitting in economy. You know, thoughts maybe rich people don’t even entertain because it has become so natural for them. It was rather chilly so I took out one of my jackets in my hand luggage (backpack) and saw Pristine’s eyes widen, her mouth open wide.

Uhm, Mama! Where is my winter jacket? THE winter jacket.

You know, this one, the one that I specially asked my husband to buy in Japan during his business trip last October…which he did and packed and brought to Dubai specifically for this Prague trip.


Pristine and I totally forgot about the jacket. It’s in our living room at home, resting at one corner. Weather forecast for Prague was single digit temperatures and rain. I can’t believe the travel jinxes even before the plane took off!

I packed our bag one week before our flight. I thought good things happen to people who pack early?!


Pristine had one jacket with us, the fleece one but it is obviously not enough. I have one fleece jacket along with another one, I could give her my fleece jacket to layer, never mind if I feel cold (behind a daughter with an over sized jacket is a shivering mother).

us in prague

In the end, my friend whom we were staying in Kolin right after we arrived lent us a waterproof jacket. What a life saver!