Czech Republic reminded me why I fell in love with Europe in the first place. And yet, it made me feel emotional. (You know, I’m still a girl right? Even though most of you guys are guys…)
When I first starting to travel, I was 20 years old. I had no idea what I was really doing, but I guess that’s the beauty of it, isn’t it?
I was after the touristy paths, the great highlights and yes, I had a to-do list.
I didn’t know a lot about the world. In fact, my perception of the world was still closed. I wasn’t that open-minded yet and my English was terrible. Obviously, my accent was terrific though!
My first trip was in France and in Germany. I was the one crying in the middle of a train station in Germany when I realized that German don’t speak French even though they were right next to France. Worse still, my English understanding was super limited and I couldn’t understand anything of this harsh German accent (sorry guys!).
After a few days, I started to enjoy the challenge and began to open my mind to the world.
I visited a concentration camp not too far from Berlin and I was absolutely interested. I always loved this part of history. Not that I’m a creepy freak, but it amazes me to hear about humanity and the lack of it. How easy we forget, repeat the same mistakes and remember it is another thing though.
At the end of that tour, the guide quoted Mark twain and here I was, admiring her. I wanted to become a tour guide.
“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”
Then, she said something like: thanks for being here during your holidays. We can, perhaps, make a difference by giving tribute to those who died.
It was true though. We, humans, could make a difference by being aware.
And as you can see, it officially marked my life as I remember this moment as if it was yesterday.
Then, every year, I came back to Europe seeking new pieces of history, new challenges. Every year I was going for a bigger cultural shock by picking destinations where they don’t speak English too much. I remember picking Slovakia and my dad was very worried as it wasn’t the plan at first. He told me something like why do you want to go there? And the innocence and curiosity in me was responding a simple why not? I met some people who just visited Slovakia and I’m only two hours away. Why not?
For some reason, some countries, let’s say less popular, less touristy, sound more dangerous than others for the westerners.
4 years ago I canceled my flight to go to Prague to stay longer in Greece. I was glad to finally make it to Prague. In fact, it was a dream come true.
There’s something you should know though. On the top of my dream list, there were two countries among many others that have been floating in my mind for a while already. Poland and Czech Republic. After that many times in Europe, I always decided to keep them for later. Why, you may ask.
It was my dream (history wise dream) to visit Poland and Czech Republic since my first trip in Europe. There’s so much history in both countries and I really wanted to visit Auschwitz.
When I was younger and passionate about books, I’d read many books about life during the concentration camp. This is my way to pay my respects by visiting and being aware of the horror stories that happened not so long ago.
When I was planning this trip, I had no idea that I would finally decide to visit my top dream countries. It always have been my excuse to come back to Europe again. But it just made sense I guess.
And here I was in Brno, walking in the streets….I turned a corner when I could hear the beautiful sound of a man singing/performing in the street. He was singing hallelujah. I know how cheesy this sounds. But, it made me feel so grateful. I was already so grateful to be there and it was the singular drop missing in that grateful-jar of mine. I was trying to hold my tears…
Wow. I was in Czech Republic. After 8 years, I was finally there.
Needless to say that Brno was gorgeous and not super touristy in comparison to Prague.
We kind of forget that behind Prague’s beauty there’s also a lot of creepy stories starting with the Jewish quarters, the socialism and the defenestration.
There was something special about it, something strong.
Eastern Europe was about to be such an interesting experience. An historical journey through a dark past…
Czech Republic once again triggered my love for Europe.
And if you have just a simple doubt that perhaps, you shouldn’t visit Czech Republic, or Eastern Europe….
Start with Prague. Open your mind. And fall in love.