Vienna

 Cities like this in Europe are my favorite. I love all of the history and the fact that they've kept so many of the old buildings in tact. We didn't do a ton of research leading up to this trip so it was really fun to be surprised at every turn.

Our absolute favorite surprise was Prater. We thought we were just searching for this old time ferris wheel that has the best views of Vienna. Fortunately, we decided to adventure on the tram and found ourselves in this incredible sports park/carnival/water park/green space. We were in AWE. It turned out to be Wurstelprater, the oldest amusement park in the WORLD. It's open 24 hours day, 7 days a week and is FREE of charge for entry. Prater also includes a sports stadium as well as a large public park and several restaurants. We could've gotten lost in there for days and not seen anything else in Vienna and been perfectly happy. It was so peaceful compared to the more touristy spots we'd been visiting.

My second favorite thing in Vienna was Naschmarkt. Sadly, it's only open on Saturdays from 7am until 6pm but it's incredible! It ranges from fresh meat, cheeses, and fruits to garage sale type items like clothes and antiques as well as souvenirs. Nashmarkt is a great place to eat breakfast or lunch, grab some fresh produce, or go home with some cool vintage jewelry. The market was alive with locals and tourists alike, some drinking wine at 10am and others tasting every type of candy that was available. It is also located in the middle of some beautifully painted buildings so the entire experience is extremely photo-worthy.

Other top recommendations include:
Schonbrunn Palace ** The FREE gardens are the BEST part. Walk to the very top for an awesome view of Vienna

The Danube: A day trip to Bratislava via the Twin City Liner, walk along the river bank to admire all of the graffiti, OR Strandbar Hermann (if it's sunny, this is a super fun BEACH bar on the river!) There are also lots of 2-3 hour river cruises available as well.

Hundertwasser Village

Hundertwasser Village

KunstHausWien
Hundertwasser Village
Coffee at Alt Wien
St. Stephen's Cathedral
ANY Rooftop: Cafe Bar Bloom, Rooftop restaurant of Sofitel Vienna, Sky Bar Roof Terrace
Eat: Griechenbeisl, Albertina Passage, Cafe Central
Drink: Bockshorn Irish Pub (the smallest and oldest pub in Vienna), Loos American Bar, Kleinod

Prague

When in ANY city in Europe, I highly recommend bike tours, ice cream everyday, and afternoon naps. Obviously drinking at local watering holes and eating the regional cuisine are a no brainer as well.

The best thing about a bike tour is that if you do it on the first or second day you arrive, then you've got a tiny glimpse of everything in the city. They are often fast and you normally don't get to stop for pictures everywhere you'd like but then you can go back the next day and spend more time at the things you liked most. In Prague, I took a tour with Praha Bikes. I was SUPER surprised that our tour guide was a 21 year old guy from Austin, Texas. I proceeded to make all kinds of fun of him and undermine his credibility to be giving us a tour of Prague but alas, it was pretty good. 

My favorite touristy spots were Old Town Square and the John Lennon Wall. I stayed in Old Town so I walked around there everyday and it's just quintessential Europe. Super busy, lots of street performers, beautiful buildings, and again, ICE CREAM. It has officially become one of my favorite cities in Europe.

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The John Lennon Wall is the only place in Prague where graffiti is legal. Because of that, the art changes daily. In addition, there is a street performer playing live Beatles songs in front of the wall. I could've stayed there for hours. 

I also recommend spending some time near the bridges and water. Either taking a cruise or just enjoying a coffee. The Charles Bridge is definitely impressive. 

However, my favorite part of Prague was definitely the cocktail bars. Originally we set out on a speakeasy bar crawl but it turns out that speakeasies, where the door is hidden or there is a password, is far more popular in the states than anywhere else. Fortunately though, we happened upon three really great cocktail bars in the process. Anonymous Bar and Black Angels Bar are both in Old Town, they had completely different vibes but both unique with delicious drinks. Hemingway Bar is a little more on the outskirts of Old Town but the staff were so much fun and the drinks were extra playful. I could've stayed there for days. 

All in all, the sun doesn't set until almost 10pm in the summer so needless to say there is SO much to do and also SO much daylight. Walk around and enjoy!

Mountains and Beach, what more could you want!

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After a whirlwind tour of South Africa, I can say with certainty that Cape Town is one of the most uniquely beautiful places I've ever been. The entire peninsula is one big group of mountains that are all surrounded by gorgeous beaches. Who doesn't love to sit on the beach and look at a view of the mountains? I can't thing of another place on Earth besides Queenstown, NZ that has as many hiking opportunities as they do water.

The one thing I can say that I WASN'T prepared for was the lack of partying/safety at night solo. I'm happy to stay in as much as the next person but exploring nightlife is one of my favorite things to do in a city. I love meeting new people and trying new cocktails and fun bars. My advice: take a friend or stay in a hostel that hosts activities. I highly recommend Yours Truly hostel, they have two bars on site that are both really fun. For a quieter option, I loved The B.I.G. hostel. They host group outings daily and have a ton of great, more local recommendations. Favorite places included El Burro, Up Yours, and Kloof St House (best cocktail bar)

Another surprise on this trip for me was that hop on/hop off busses, albeit super hideous and touristy, are an incredible way to get around a place. Multiple locals that I met suggested it so I gave it a go and ended up loving it. I highly recommend it if you're going to CT. You can see everything you need to see for less than $20, do the two day option and see the city at your own pace.

Cape Town is also really affordable. Ubers are the safest transport option and are between $1 and $5 almost always. Uber to/from the airport was $10 each way. 

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Highlights:
- Cape Tour - 100% book this one: www.luckyandlost.co.za/1-day-essential-tour Super fun, young couple who owns and runs it. Definitely the best local experience with some homemade cape malay food.
-Kirstenbosch botanical gardens: I normally ALWAYS skip botanical gardens but this place is absolutely incredible.
- Spier Wine Farm: If you have a lot of time, stay at the farm and enjoy all of the amenities. If you don't, I recommend Wine Flies tours company.
- Safari: There are a few one-two day trips from Cape Town but I recommend going to Kruger National Park. If you're not into safaris, still go for at least a day trip! Kruger National Park is still awesome without safari!
- Shopping: Biscuit Mill is only open on Saturdays, Green Market is all African touristy items and each vendor has pretty much the same thing, V&A Waterfront is pricey but has a variety of items from trinkets to fancy art pieces.
-Learn something about Nelson Mandela: I went to Robben Island which was super interesting but it does take 4 hours because of the ferry and lines. There are lots of other options in South Africa to learn more about his legendary life. Take the time.
 

Rolling Solo

For the past few years, I've been traveling solo as much as possible. As a woman, I think it's a rite of passage and something everyone should do at least once. However sometimes, it's just circumstantial because no one else can afford to take time off. 

My first big solo trip was to Australia when I was 21. Long story short, the girl I was then was not prepared to take on the world by herself. Ten years later, I started traveling on small trips here and there, staying in my own rooms, taking my own flights, until I got really use to the idea of not having to care what anyone else wants to do. Today, I'm not necessarily sure that was such a good thing. 

I think traveling alone is life changing. My solo trip to Thailand was one of the most terrifying experiences in the best way. Language and food barriers being the biggest factors. However, I think people are more likely to approach you/speak to you if you're solo. I met so many amazing friends that I still have to this day! You go out of your way to be extra friendly and open to new ideas and experiences and the rewards are endless. There are SO many great things about traveling alone.

However, sometimes there are averse effects. People who don't travel easily may seem more annoying. They ask a lot of questions, they take forever to get ready, or they are a little culturally unaware. Trust me, I get it. But there's something about South Africa that has changed me. I want to be better. I want to share my experiences so that my friends can have the opportunity to grow and travel. It's the main reason we started Legit Trips.

So I leave you with this for the end of my first post back in the blog world. If you find yourself being annoyed with your fellow travelers, remember these three things.

  1. Be patient. You weren't always as awesome as you are now and someone was likely very patient with you several times in order for you to learn and gain experience and be a better traveler.
  2. Everyone is a consequence of their own experiences. Remember that not everyone has had the life you have. For that, consider yourself fortunate if you've traveled a lot more than your friends. 
  3. Pura Vida. No Pasa Nada. You're on VACATION! Remember to enjoy it because if you're letting other people ruin your time, the only person to blame is you.

"Life is about creating & living experiences that are worth sharing." - Steve Jobs. 

So go out there and travel alone but don't let it ruin you! Other people are still awesome and fun to be around so don't miss your chance to experience them too!

Love,
Lundy