Bonjour Strasbourg!

P3311796.JPGAh, Strasbourg; I visited it for the first time in my life about a month ago, and well and truly fell for the beauty of it. I can’t say whether it was the bright timber houses or the overall fairytale-esque feel of the place, but I fell for it.

The reason I went to Strasbourg was actually a rather cool one: I had been one of a few students who got chosen from my school after sitting for an entry test to go on the Euroscola trip. This meant that we were going to not only visit the European Parliament but alsP3311776.JPGo sit in the MEPs’ seats and have our own plenary session.

The first day in Strasbourg practically consisted solely of travelling, but the second day was packed with action. Once hopping off the tram at our stop we stood gazing at the beautiful EU Parliament building. It was massive, I can tell you that!

Our morning session lasted a few hours and during that time we had the chance to ask Michael Crammer, an MEP who was talking to us on a video call, some questions. I had prepared one beforehand and despite feeling as if I lacked the confidence to speak in front of some 570 people, knew that I would kick myself afterwards for losing the oppurtunity. In short, I was chosen to pose a question and with all the courage I could muster, stood up and spoke into the microphone on my desk.

If you have been following my blog for some time you may have probably noticed that I often write about our right to a freedom of expression (no surprise, really. I write a blog after all!) – if you have, you may have a hunch of what I asked Michael Crammer 😉  In simple terms, I asked him what the EU’s position is about libel suits and garnishee orders being used to bully and intimidate journalists, as is currently happening in Malta. He replied that for nearly thirty years he was “deemed an idiot” in Germany for strongly opposing nuclear power, and now here we are in 2017, working towards using renewable energy sources whilst trying to phase out nuclear power (a great ‘who’s laughing now’ moment, right?). His point was that freedom of speech is important because it helps bring change and limiting it is

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Timber houses in Petite France – this area practically screamed “Beauty and the Beast”

intolerable.

You have no idea how glorious it felt being addressed to personally about such a matter in the EU Parliament – I’ll never forget that feeling.

On our third day in Strasbourg, we visited the Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe. We then walked through the city centre and one of the main roads, and if we turned at a 90 degree angle to our left we would have realised that we were standing beneath the great, gigantic intricately designed work of art that is the gothic Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg. None of the dozen photographs I took of it can do it justice – it was so, so breath-taking. The view from the top was just as wonderful, if not more so – I can clarify this because we walked up the 300-something steps within the turrets. It was so unreal that it was as if one were looking down at an unrolled map or a little wooden model of Strasbourg.

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The Parliament
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Inside the hemicycle
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Poster at the Court of Human Rights
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Addressing Crammer in front of the hemicycle
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Street book fair (situated in the perfect place: close to the cathedral)
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Descending the turret

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And before I forget:

My shared Instagram page is picking up! We’ve been adding plenty of new photographs to it these past few days.

So if you’d like to check out our snaps, see the link below:

https://www.instagram.com/amycoramegan/

Be sure to have a look through our portfolio on Shutterstock, too:

https://www.shutterstock.com/g/Amy+Cora+Megan



As always, thanks for stopping by!

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Travel Tips: Prague

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Ahoj! (Czech for ‘hello’)

It’s not nicknamed “the golden city” for nothing – Prague is a real life fairy tale with all of its beautiful Baroque buildings, breath-taking views, fabulous bridges and of course, its castle. I fell in love with this city just after one day of being in it, and I am sure many of you would too.

Here is a definite list of must see places and things to do in Prague, the heart of Europe:

  1. Go to Old Town
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View from the top of Old Town Hall Tower

Stroll through the charming narrow streets brimming with small shops, museums, coffee shops and the sort. The square is the main attraction here, and don’t miss out on what it has to offer:

 

-Take a lift up Old Town Hall Tower

-Watch the hourly mechanical puppet show inside the astronomical clock located on the outside of Old Town Hall Tower

-Admire the church of Our Lady before Tyn

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Church of Our Lady before Tyn

– Visit the art gallery.

2.     Visit John Lennon Wall

2016-07-25 10.37.48.pngThat’s right, Beatles’ fans; a wall covered in fantastic graffiti of Beatles song lyrics and many messages of peace is located right in the heart of Europe. The Knights of Malta own this wall and have painted over it several times, but have now given up and left it to be decorated by new artists each day. There’s even John  Lennon Pub just down the road from there.

3. Walk across Charles Bridge

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Charles Bridge as seen from a boat on the Vltava river

It’s the oldest bridge in Prague, and in my opinion the prettiest. Thirty Baroque statues of religious figures were placed along either side of the bridge, but many of the original ones have since been placed in the Lapidarium and have been replaced by replicas. Charles Bridge is pedestrian-only which gives you the best opportunity to take in the views, browse through the street vendors’ stands and enjoy the street performers’ music.

Top Tip: Look out for the small statue of a golden sleeping priest. Legend has it that if you touch the small metal cross resting on the bridge in front of it your wish will be granted.

 

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‘The Bridge Band’ performing on Charles Bridge

4. Take a river boat tour on the Vltava

You’ll get to see Charles Bridge from a different angle and will be able to go through one of its sixteen arches. Look out for the castle on top of the hill and keep an eye out for Franz Kafka Museum close to the river bank.

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A river boat next to a vegetation-covered wall

 

 

 

 

5. Take a tram up to Prague Castle

Have a look at the royal gardens before entering the castle. You are able to buy tickets to see specific areas within the castle since it is so big, but I highly recommend visiting the glorious gothic-style St. Vitus Cathedral; its 2016-07-25 10.37.06.pngstained glass windows are a must-see. Golden Lane is a quaint medieval street which can also be found within the castle.

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Left: Stained glass inside the cathedral. Right: The cathedral.

 

6. Visit the Jewish Quarter

In the 13th century, Jewish people were ordered to vacate their homes and settle in one area. This area is today known as the Jewish Quarter or Josefov, and still houses the various artefacts which the Nazis transported from other occupied countries to form part of a “museum of an extinct race”, as Hitler called it. All of the six synagogues (except the Old-New synagogue) and the remaining monuments form the Jewish Museum in Prague, which is open to tourists.

 

Miscellaneous Notes:

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