I had anticipated doing a separate post for Friday and Saturday, but Saturday ended up being such a long, loooonnnng day, that the Friday post never came into fruition. So warning in advance, long post ahead!
On Friday I headed out to a traditional Czech lunch hosted by the international club. Well, if by “hosted” you mean “we will lead you to a restaurant and get you seated then dump you”. I bumped into a friend and ended up sitting on a table with him and a group of lovely Germans. There are a lot of Germans here, which is surprising considering how close it is – I would think they would chose somewhere further away for their study abroad!
I had Moravian roast pork, with spinach and potato dumplings. And, of course, a beer.
Afterwards, my friend and I met up with our Czech buddy (that’s how we met!) who took us to “Vinobrani”, which is a celebration of the new wine “burčak”. It is a young wine, so is quite sweet. There was a bit of music and some market stalls set up, but unfortunately it began to rain, so after trying some wine we headed into the church looming over the square to have a look around.
The rain eventually stopped enough for us to head out to a second hand shop (my friend and I both needed jackets of some description for the oncoming cold weather!). Our buddy pointed out there was a famous cemetery across the road, so we went to have a look.
It was probably the most spectacular cemetery I have ever seen. My buddy said it has been used in films, and I can see why. It is basically your stereotypical gloomy cemetery.
We wandered around for awhile, and I had an interesting time listening to the conversation between my buddy and our friend. My buddy is still trying to learn English (she can speak it, but not very well) and our friend (born in England, but moved to Germany when he was twelve) studies Czech at university, so I gleamed a few tips from them.
On Saturday morning I was up bright and early to head out on a hiking trip organised by the international club. I was really looking forward to it, but boy was I in for a long day.
I was lucky enough to meet another Australian girl from my dorm on the tram, so we hung out for the day (she is from Queensland). But as soon as we arrived at the train station and discovered about 100 other people were coming on the hike, the day pretty much slid into the mottling first gear it would idle along in for the rest of the day. After waiting for an hour, we were eventually ushered onto a train, which took two hours to reach our destination. We hadn’t been informed where we were going, when we were getting off, or what we were doing (I only found out about the meeting time and place via email the night before) so I was already getting frustrated.
Upon arrival there was still a clear lack of direction, and I almost died when our apparent leader pulled out a map and uncertainly began to lead the way.
I won’t bore you with the details of the gruelling frustration that scarred the entire trip. The national park we were at, Český ráj (AKA Bohemian Paradise), was absolutely beautiful, but i feel I could have enjoyed the trip so much more if there hadn’t been so many people (who all walked incredibly slow), actual leaders who knew what they were doing, and a bit more information given (the leaders never spoke to us as a whole about where we were going, as they didn’t know where they were going).
A group of 8 of us eventually took the lead (because the leaders never lead, despite that being what leaders do) and followed the track to a castle we were meant to visit. We were there for a good hour, in which time we sat and had a rest, looked around the castle, and waited some more, before the rest of the group eventually showed up.
There was some random event going on at the castle, so there were some birds hanging around.
Once the group arrived, we eventually hunted down the clueless leader and informed him that unless everyone picked up the pace there was no way we were going to make the five kilometres to the train station (we had a train at 6:40 allegedly). Something must have finally clicked, as he mustered up everyone after ten minutes and sent us marching.
However, the fun still didn’t stop, as upon finally reaching the town, it was revealed they didn’t know where the train station was. Cue half an hour of 100 people following some Czech girl as she asked locals for directions. Three wrong turns and back tracks later, we finally arrived at the station. At 6:30. For a two hour train ride. And there was no food shops open. I conceded defeat and was almost ready t die of starvation by the time I got off the train in Prague at 9pm.
So while the place we went to was beautiful, I am really, really disappointed with how the day was run, and frustrated that I didn’t get to enjoy it as much as I could have due to the constant annoyance. It is safe to say I am never going on a trip run by the group again.
Here’s hoping I have a better day today!