So, it may be news to some of you, maybe a shock to some, but I decided nearly a week ago to decline my contract in the Czech Republic and return home. However, I am not coming home without spending some time traveling Europe and taking in some new sights, smells, taste and attractions. If you really want to know more about my choice to return home you will have to talk to me personally, because I am going to talk about the fun stuff here.
A matter of days before leaving Ostrava, in the Czech Republic, I noticed on Facebook that a good friend of mine was traveling in Europe with her sister. They were nearby in Munich and so I asked if we could meet somewhere and catch some sights which led us to Prague. A mere 3 ish hour train ride from Ostrava put me at the central station and a matter of minutes on the local metro dropped me off at the bottom of a hill that would soon become my worst enemy. Carrying everything that I owned on my back was just a little salt on the wound, but a little sweat helps you sleep at night. The receptionist may not have been so fond of the sweat on her desk but its natural and I couldn’t help it when I leaned over to sign my receipt.
After getting settled in and meeting up with my friends for lunch (a good old hamburger with a side of beer) we took a look at some flyers and decided on the beer tour for our evening amusement and tourism. The beer tour consisted of an english guided tour to three local hotspots, some insider tips on the national and local customs/culture, three very tasty but different beers and some new friends all for about 300 Kc (the local currency, 20 Kc = $1). Not only did we get a lesson in czech beer and customs but a chance to eat nearly 1 kilo of pork knee for dinner and a fantastic walk home up the hill to our hostel in the middle of the night.
In the following days we explored the city in further detail, enjoying a free tour of the old town area which was mostly a history and culture lesson much needed. The pictures again have more to say than I can tell you, but there is nothing like walking around and experiencing it for yourself. The US can’t offer the same experiences because of our short history in comparison to the European countries. Not only do the buildings, streets, walls and people tell a story but the story isn’t just history. The Museum of Communism opened my eyes to the real effects and events from the Cold War era. It wasn’t much before my birth that the Czech republic and other areas in Europe were under the influence of communist and socialist powers and government. Images and video of violence and rebellion in the very square I walked through to return to my hostel everyday was more powerful than I was expecting. It may be just before my time, but the citizens of Prague older than I may very well have taken part in the protests in the streets of the old town square and experienced the grasp of communist powers first hand. Previously, this was history to me, purely text in a book. Now it is more of a reality in my mind although it is in the past, there is still evidence to be discovered first hand.
Besides the history lesson, the sights were incredible. Take a look at the castle, the stone paved streets and endless alleys from the past.