Off on your hols with your sis? Roll with that and make her give you a lift in your mum’s car. #regression.
Crucially, you must stay loyal to being a neurotic traveller and force your super-relaxed sis to arrive three hours early for the flights. That’s a good 90 minutes before check-in. Feel suitably embarrassed.
Spend so long at the airport you know your fellow travellers better than you know some of your neighbours and you have to go to Smiths cos you’ve finished your book. You’ve read your book: a surefire sign you’re kid-free!
Fall asleep on ‘Jill’ in seat 11C.
Awake refreshed and glide through airport with ease and hand-luggage only. Waft smugly out through airport doors. Turn round. Go back inside. Haul on more layers. Hit the cold again.
Arrive at the apartment your cousin has rented for you and wander around its wonderful rooms, trailing your fingers across the walls in manner of Cinderella at the ball.
If you have any energy after your late night flight, pop out for a quick snoop around the neighbourhood. Because you are young and relevant and like a homing pigeon for what’s hot, you stumble across a bar you were desperate to go to. Accidently stay until the wee hours.
Despite the late night, wake up early: THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO. Pack a bag, pack your printed, laminated fun schedule (actual thing) and head out for coffee and apple pie.
Hunt down the Christmas Markets. Christmas markets make my heart beat faster. Cut me and I bleed mulled wine for the month of December and I like to chug it al fresco. We found the markets at Old Town Square better than the ones at Wenceslas and when it comes to Christmas markets, I know my shit so trust me on this.
Drag yourself from the trdelnik, twinkly lights, sizzling sausages and magnificent Christmas tree (it has a viewing platform- joy of joy!), and head to the Museum of Communism. In fact, don’t. It’s crap. Go to the DDR in Berlin instead.
Head on to find the thrift shops of Prague. Show your dedication to fashion by getting distracted on a short-cut by an upside-down-horse. Stop for a snifter at the Kino bar by the horse’s bum.
Now, not everyone will have a handsome actor in their family (peers down nose) but Han and I do and if you do too (secret handshake) then pop along to their film set. Try and do this once you’ve had several beers and half a dozen mulled wines: it’ll add to the confusion of arriving in a parallel medieval world where people in North Face are avidly watching your cousin Tom slice n dice baddies. Happily, Tom’s captivating and kind girlfriend was there and she’s well-versed in set etiquette (setiquette?) so ignored our refusal of hand-warmers, heated insoles and penguin jackets. She also knows her stuff when it comes to on-set buffets so she proved an excellent tour guide. Listen to your onset sage and try and hold back on nudging everyone and whispering ‘that’s my cousin’.
Defrost in town later when you pop for a ‘quick drink’. Get massively lost when you keep ending up at the Christmas tree which is where your heart is, but not the people you’re meant to be meeting…
Accidently stay out til 4am.
Wake with a hangover, but it doesn’t matter because YOU ARE KID-FREE. You can have a bath without an Igglepiggle bath toy giving you the eye and then crawl back in to bed. Crawl back out in raging hunger. Head to Café Lounge and order three breakfasts. More if you’ve got the koruna.
Belch out some room for more food as you stroll to the farmers’ market for cake, fried fish and mulled wine.
The next recommendation is hard to orchestrate but with high output: if possible, get the shits and make a dash for a scuzzy metro toilet run by a Czech grouch. Han managed to get locked in her cubicle and thoroughly recommends perching on the loo while listening to her sister gripe next door. Aim for the stars, people.
Go back and sleep. You can do that because your kids are at the in-laws.
ANOTHER COUSIN HAS ARRIVED! Wake up! Go out for supper en masse and admire their lovely faces and feel content.
Take a night-time walk across Charles Bridge and sip ginger tea as you feel superior to all the drunken stags. Because you are cool and edgy, search out a bar you’ve had recommended. It’s a bit swanky so schlep next door to the tiny hole in the wall serving becherovka and hot dogs.
Meander more. Drink more. Play a board game (it’s the best: I’ve asked for it for Christmas). Realise it’s 4am again. Bugger.
Balk in horror at the realisation that you’ve got to get to the airport on a Sunday on four hours’ sleep from a place you don’t know the address of. Recruit your progressive cousin to book you an Uber. Modern!
Rejoice in being at the airport dead early so you can read your book and hunt down Jill for a nap. Spend conscious part of flight glowing in the memory of Prague’s magic and doing happy mulled wine burps.