Dreaming of Winter: My European Travel Plans

Back in September, Nomadic Matt announced a contest to send one of his lucky readers to Eastern Europe for twelve days. At the time, I was suffering from the college blues and travel was always on my mind. However, from my little dorm room here at Rice, I didn’t know when I would have the option to travel again. After spending two months in the Philippines the summer before, I felt stuck here at school.

So when I read about Matt’s contest, I knew I had to enter. Why not? I figured if I didn’t win, no loss on my part. So, at 10 PM on a Tuesday night, I rounded up some friends and made a music video for a rap I wrote about how much I love traveling.

Here’s the video:

And on September 26, 2012, I received an email saying I’d won. A few days later, the official announcement came out and I started planning my trip.

So now, I’m headed to Europe for twelve days this winter, and I’m leaving on December 10. With just a few weeks left until my departure, I’ve really started thinking about what I want to accomplish to make the most of my trip without spending a ton of money. Here are some of the things I’m planning to do while I’m there:


Prague (by Proz.com)

Of course, I’m planning to visit Prague Castle and the surrounding areas. I also really want to see the the skeleton cathedral, Sedlec Ossuary, which is made of the remains of over 40,000 people. I plan to photograph the beautiful Astronomical Clock, which is famous for being very regal but extremely difficult to read. Prague is also famous for its art, so I hope to check out some of the art museums and exhibits throughout the city.

Something that has always fascinated me is cathedrals and their history. Prague just happens to be full of them. I am extremely excited to journey to the “city of spires” and learn about the history of this gorgeous city.


Vienna (by Hostels Club Blog)

History, architecture, and art all blend together in this majestic city. I hope to visit the various cathedrals and historic sites such as Schonbrunn Palace and Hofburg Palace. Also, Vienna is famous for its music scene, which I am hoping to explore by going to the Opera and other, smaller shows. As a violinist, Vienna is a dream city, and I’m hoping to check out the Vienna Symphony while I am there!

I’ve been dreaming of Christmastime in Vienna for over a month now. Why? Because of the beautiful and world-famous Christmas markets. I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to visit this city during such a wonderful time of year, and I will definitely spend a significant chunk of time exploring these seasonal markets.


Budapest (by Four Seasons)

Budapest is famous for its baths, which are present throughout the city, and I’ll definitely check those out. I’m also planning to visit Castle Hill to see the spectacular views of the city. Of course I’ll make my way to the Royal Castle, and hopefully to the House of Terror to learn about the fascinating history of terror practices.

One of the things that excites me most about Budapest is the ruin bars. These bars are made out of renovated, abandoned buildings. Local artists and bar owners decorate the inside of these buildings with colorful lighting, artwork, and vintage furniture.

Of course, I’ll take plenty of photographs, meet plenty of people, and play Snapdragon a bit too. And I’ll bring you all along for the ride as well. In just a few weeks, I’ll be headed to this beautiful area of the world, and I couldn’t be more excited to explore it.

Please like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter for updates, cool photographs, fun facts, silly jokes, and other shenanigans!

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  1. Alex says

    Congrats of course on winning!

    I just want to say: when you’re in Vienna, check out the Spanish Riding School (at the Winter Palace). Although show tickets are really expensive, you can go to the daily training very cheaply, and the hall where they practise is beautiful (plus, it appears in a couple paintings in the summer palace, so it’s kinda cool).

    In Budapest, they recently opened an old underground hospital/nuclear bunker for tours called ‘Hospital in the Rock’, near the palace in Buda. It’s a really interesting and creepy tour. Not very well known yet (some friends who used to live their told us about it), but definitely worth a visit!

    And in Prague…. Well, it’s just beautiful. With excellent dungeon style bars.

    Have the most amazing time! Looking forward to your posts :)

    • Kay says


      Thank you so much for your kind words, your advice, and for stopping by my blog! I’ll definitely have to check those places out. I’d love to know more if you have any other recommendations for places to see, restaurants, or good photography spots :) I’ll definitely be updating my blog as much as I can while I’m there!


  2. Andrea says

    Congrats on winning! You’ll have an awesome time in these cities – we’ve been to all three so please don’t hesitate to check out our blog posts and ask questions if you have any – happy to help. I think I answered your question on the Facebook travel group about things to see in those cities – but just to reiterate, don’t miss the House of Terror museum in Budapest, the great food and wine in Budapest, Vienna’s Christmas markets and art museums and all the great art in Prague. Enjoy!

    • Kay says


      Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my blog. I really appreciate all of your suggestions and will definitely try and hit all of those places while I’m in the cities! Your blog is really fantastic and I can’t wait to read more. Thanks again for your help :)


  3. Carissa says

    If you want any local contacts, I have a Russian friend who lives in Prague. She knows her way around and could probably give good advice of things that are not super touristy.

    • Kay says


      Yes, please! I would love to contact her and hear her suggestions for Prague. You can email me at kay@thekaydays.com or Facebook message me :) Also, if you still want to meet up sometime to tell me about your time there, let me know when you’re free. You’re the best!


  4. Emm in London says

    Oh wow, that is such a fabulous video! You absolutely, 100% deserved to win.

    Thanks for popping by and leaving a comment on my blog. You’re going to 3 places I am absolutely dying to see so I’ll be sure to visit again and read all about them!

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