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Bargain Travel Europe guide to Europe travel on a budget for unique vacation destinations
to secret spots missed by travel tours.

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Conquer Love and Indulge Your Inner White Knight

Prague budget destination Karlsbrucke photoSo love conquered her heart like the white knight of fairy tale romance. You want to take a romantic honeymoon in Europe, but Paris is too expensive after the blow-out reception for for two hundred of your parents’ friends and the Morgan Stanley guy. Prague is one of Europe’s great romantic destinations. Not as cheap as it once was since having discovered tourism, but Prague is still a bargain by half. The savings on the liquor bill alone would cover at least two bridesmaids dresses. Clubs for dancing and music light up the night along the riverbank of the gentle and wide Moldau River. The lines to get in to the hottest spots start just after sundown. And dinner cruise boats even take the party out onto the water, beneath the spectacular lit palace walls of one of historic Europe’s first romance cities.

Tax Free shopping and world reknowned porcelain from exquisite legacy estate pieces to still good quality factory knock-offs for the tourist trade are attractions to Prague, along with the Original Budweiser in this former East European communist satellite turned eager European Union newbie. Unlike much of Western Europe ravaged by the bomb damage of two world wars, architectural history remains largely intact in this original city of romance (see Orloj Astronomical Clock).

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Prague Tax Free Shopping photoCrossing the Karlsbrück, the signature stone bridge built in 1357 from the central district old city surrounding the town square lined with restaurants and alleyways of shops (some staying open to nearly midnight eager to snag last minute souvenir hunters on the way back to the hotel) across the river to the walled city of the Prager Burg which ruled one of Medieval central Europe’s most powerful King Karl of Prague budget sight-seeing photostates is like the march of an assaulting army. Slogging through bastions of tourists armed with digital cameras entertained by all variety of street artists at the feet of the time blackened statues of the saints lining the stonework where Holy Roman Emperor King Karl IV intended to honor his 14th Century piety you pass jazz quartets in funny hats, stick puppeteers and jugglers on unicycles. The old meets new incongruity of religious solemnity meeting modern tourism commerce is only just slightly less palpable here than the smarmy merchants selling fake Dior sunglasses across the Tiber from the Vatican.

Your march of conquest leads up the steep walk to the top of the hill which overlooks the Czech capital city. To the north on the horizon is the odd curiosity of the upper half of the Eifel Tower sticking up from a ridge top, a replica presented by the builder of the original, giving the impression that Paris is just over the rise.

The walled old Prager Burg is a journey itself through five century’s of palace living (see Prague Castle). The monarchy here from Empire days to present, from early gothic cathedral to modern sculpture garden, the Czechs just added palaces like architectural addendums, a building style code while not exclusive to Prague is especially noticeable. (See Stairmastering Old Europe). And one is reminded that Popes and Holy Roman Emperors of ages past were certainly not adverse to the Medieval version of selling counterfit souvenirs themselves – relics and indulgences.

The Castle itself offers a gated medieval living arts section where period artisans recreate the earlier age. Climbing narrow stone floors you discover the old toilet hole that dumps out of the wall to the woods below, but please refrain from use. It doesn’t flush. Or try impressing your new honey bunny with a cross-bow in the medieval version of a carnival side-show. No kewpie dolls awarded here, just a souvenir target commemorating your cupid’s aim. And if a medieval key chain charm isn’t enough to satisfy your inner Lancelot, the blacksmith armorers will make for you a custom suit of jousting armor, from bassinette helm to spurs. Though I suspect the shipping bill will be significantly more than the duty-free porcelain tea set for your mother-in-law. © Bargain Travel Europe

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Plan a European Destination Wedding on a Budget