A Charming Escapade

Tahera Fatima travelled to Prague in Czech Republic, Vienna in Austria, and Bratislava in Slovakia along with her husband, Hasan Mirza recently. Her love for travelling and the scorching heat of her hometown, Dubai, made her take this two week-long trip to Europe. With a climate below freezing point, it made for the perfect destination for a lovely escape. 

Speaking of Prague, Tahera said, “Known as the ‘City of Hundred Spires’, it’s one of the most fascinating cities in Europe. I absolutely love cold weather and have a high tolerance for cold, but both Prague and Vienna were beyond my imagination of a cold winter.” She goes on to say that the people in Vienna spoke English fluently and were very friendly and helpful. The locals in Prague, on the other hand mostly speak Czech so it proved to be a bit of a challenge for the couple to go around, however, the people here too were very hospitable and helpful in guiding them through. Bratislava is a small town that possesses that typical ‘small town charm’, and is the capital of Slovakia. A two day visit to this city is ideal for its history, and the plethora of cute churches, castles, and palaces dotting the lovely place are a must-visit. “I’d recommend a trip to Prague to a fan of gothic architecture, history, Romanian culture, and someone who loves absolutely crazy winters,” Tahera urged. Vienna is another place she thinks people must visit, as it is a city that changes one’s soul; an experience one will carry for the rest of their lives, she opines.

The Charles Bridge, St. Vitus Cathedral, and the John Lennon Wall are a few spectacular sights one must visit in Prague, the couple suggests. A historic bridge that crosses the Vltava River, Old Town Square, and Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge dates back to the 9th century and is currently used as the official workplace of the President of the Czech Republic. The John Lennon Wall, filled with John Lennon-inspired graffiti and pieces of lyrics from The Beatles’ songs, is a sight worth witnessing. The St. Vitus Cathedral on the other hand is a Roman Catholic metropolitan cathedral that is currently the seat of the Archbishop of Prague.

The popular dish Tredelnik – a chimney cake filled with Nutella and cream and the Angelato ice cream are two things Tahera insists everyone who visits must taste. In Vienna, Tahera recommends travellers to visit the Belvedere Palace – a historic building consisting of two Baroque palaces, the Orangery, and the Palace Stables; Vienna State Opera; and St. Stephen’s Cathedral – the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna. She also suggests visits to Café Sacher, Stephansplatz – a square at the geographical centre of Vienna; Imperial Palace Hofburg – the former imperial palace; and Hundertwasserhaus – an apartment house built after the idea and concept of Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The Bratislava Castle – the main castle of Bratislava that stands on the isolated rocky hill of The Old Town is a spectacular sight, she says. In addition, Cumil – the offbeat bronze statue of a sewer worker resting at the top of a manhole— and Zeppelin Café are the places in Bratislava she considers the most beautiful.

“I believe in the adage ‘When something good happens, travel to celebrate. If something bad happens, travel to forget it. If nothing happens, travel to make something happen.’ You never know until you go!” an amused Tahera says. She associates travel with meeting new people and learning new languages and cultures. She attributes travel to the change of one’s mindset for the better, as it isn’t just an escape or a new place to see, it is a learning experience. Having travelled across several continents, Tahera considers her Euro trip to be one of the most dynamic and exquisite experiences. “Europe has got my heart,” she reminisced, while ascertaining that she will certainly travel to the quaint continent again.

–Tanya