So, I am currently in the Polish countryside at a camp called H2O, it is the most beautiful camp I have ever been to and while we are here, my group is teaching English at different schools around. My group has been teaching middle school aged kids. I have a lot of free time while I am here so I wanted to post about my time spent in Prague last week! My group spent four days in Prague, wandering and exploring.
When we arrived in Prague, after our day of travel by bus that I detailed in my last post, where we stopped in a small village for lunch and toured a castle, my whole group was just hungry and tired. We stopped at our hotel and dropped off our luggage.
And luckily, our Czech tour guide, Fred had dinner plans for us. As we walked to dinner, my whole group seemed to be reminded of God’s perfect timing because although we didn’t understand why we had to travel all day and why we arrived in Prague at night time, God had this amazing sight in store for us:
The most beautiful sky to welcome us to Prague.
While walking across the St. Charles Bridge (Which yes, is featured in Mission Impossible 1) I came across John of Nepomuk again. The first martyr who was thrown over the bridge because he would not divulge to the King the details of the Queen’s confessional. His statue is both on the St. Charles Bridge and the bridge in the other Czech town I stayed in Cesky Krumlov.
Fred had dinner ordered for us by the time we arrived at the restaurant and it was of course, dumplings and goulash… something we had about four times in a row in the Czech. Mainly because it is what they are famous for but by this meal I think my whole group was ready for anything but dumplings and goulash.
Then, on the walk back from dinner, some of my group wandered around, some went back to get some sleep… I leisurely walked back with a group of people, snapping pictures as I tend to do.
I captured this gem:
I also saw a sign for this and was very tempted to enter…. Who doesn’t want to go to the museum of medieval torture instruments? I mean, come on…
Anyways, so then the next day our tour guide Fred had planned a tour for us with his friend Charles. This is Charles:
Charles is an older business man who gives tours. He lived under communism and capitalism so he is very open about talking about both and expressing what he likes and doesn’t like about both systems. So, that was interesting. Charles was very knowledgeable and gave us an amazing tour of Prague with some insider insight which was truly priceless.
We started our tour by seeing this memorial right by our hotel for 9/11. This is a dedication and commemoration for the United States of what happened on 9/11. It was truly touching to see this display.
Then, we kept walking and happened across what they call a lock bridge, where couples write their names on locks and lock them to bridges. The most famous of these is in Paris but I have seen them all over Europe.
We then proceeded to the Prague Castle and went to the Cathedral there. Cathedrals are such a striking sight for me, I am not used to worship spaces that look like this, so every time I enter a cathedral I am in awe of its beauty.
Then, we went into the Prague castle. This was my favorite room there, a ballroom of sorts
We also saw the room where defenestration has happened many times throughout Czech history, Prague is the defenestration capital of the world. More defenestration has happened there than anywhere else in history. Defenestration is the act of throwing someone out of a window. This has happened many times in Czech history. I love that about Prague.
Then, we walked to the Jewish section of Prague, which I was excited about because I love Jewish history. On the way, I spotted this nugget of awesomeness… hahahaha
And of course this was a beautiful sight as well, Prague in all its glory.
When we arrived in the Jewish section, we were first shown this statue of Moses. Which reminded me of the verse I have been carrying on a note with me since I began this trip, which is Joshua 3:7, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.” Seeing this statue of Moses, in a sense renewed my hope in this trip or at least reminded me that the Lord is always with me, wherever I go.
Then, on a light hearted note, we saw this restaurant which Charles informed us was Laura Bush’s favorite when she was in Prague as the First Lady.
Then we finally reached the city center of old town where we had lunch (Once again, dumplings and goulash…) Then we had the rest of the day free, so most of us went back to the hotel and went out for dinner later.
Speaking of dinner, this was mine. THE MOST DELICIOUS MEAL I HAVE EVER TASTED. Mostly, because I had eaten goulash and dumplings for four to five meals in a row. Therefore, the majority of my group went to the Hard Rock Café and had some American food, finally! I was so pleased with this cheeseburger that I think I shed a tear of joy. Not that I haven’t loved the food over here, because I have but a nice cheeseburger between authentic European dishes does help.
The next day, we had a free day! I love free days. Especially in new cities, we are just able to wander and explore which I love. I explored the city with these people: Austin, DJ, Ben and Brooke.
We walked along the river and crossed a bridge and explored a part of town we hadn’t really been yet.
Saw some really cool graffiti art.
But then, we got really hungry… So we stopped in a random restaurant and this was my meal:
After lunch we wandered the city in search of some shopping, I always love seeing these fake statues, these people are so cool.
We found a really cool bookstore with random items everywhere so we shopped a little… Here’s Ben and Austin shoppinnn.
We kept wandering, which is when I saw my dad’s name as the name of a restaurant… Made me miss him, not that I didn’t already.
The rest of the day was spent wandering until it rained we headed back to the hotel, where Ben, Austin, DJ and I swore we were getting sick from food poisoning from that restaurant but we were all fine and we went out with a group to a pizza place later that night. Ben and I had an awesome political discussion over dinner which was a blast.
The next day was a planned day for us, Fred our tour guide was to take us to Czech Republic TV for a tour. We took the underground transportation to get there which was designed very differently than all of the other public transportations we had taken in Europe so far. Apparently it was designed and installed by the Communist regime in Czech.
After the full day at Czech TV, followed by a dinner boat along the river, we were all exhausted but not too exhausted to head over to the John Lennon wall. So Ben, Austin, Michael, Tyler and I walked over to this wall honoring John Lennon and listened to an amazing street performer and took some cool pictures.
Then, we encountered yet another lock bridge. So many couples in love all over the world.
Anyways, I hope you’re all enjoying these posts! I know they come few and far between but that is partially due to my availability and access to time and WiFi. They come in high demand among my group but resources are scarce. We all receive very little and that very little is spent on homework. I have posted all of my edited photos on Facebook from this trip so far. I have made them available for those who don’t have Facebook by making them public. (Go to facebook, the website, search for Abby Christine Rime) They should just be on my wall in albums titled “European Adventure.” That is if you want to see more pictures from my journey!
It is so surreal that I have already been in Europe a month. I never thought I would be able to do this. The longest I had ever been away from home and my family before college (which doesn’t really count because I was only about 5 minutes from home at college) was the summer after my senior year when I went to North Carolina for two weeks for Conference on National Affairs with my Youth in Government family.
That situation is like this one, this is just magnified times a million. Not only am I traveling with people who I barely knew before this trip, I am also not able to communicate home without WiFi, which is a scarce commodity. We are also traveling in foreign counties, where just about everything is different.
This experience is a combination of every challenge I have ever encountered in the US, times a million. If you know me well, you know I’m not a huge fan of being uncomfortable, but really who is though? But, I especially have been labeled as spoiled, or been called a princess or even a diva from time to time, whatever label you prefer. This really just means I am not low maintenance, sorry about it. That hasn’t made this experience easy but I am also adjusting and adapting to this lifestyle and through that growing.
I think I am learning so much about myself at every turn that I am at times losing sight of who I am at the core. This experience can be really overwhelming and it requires dropping all of the defense mechanisms that people spend their whole lives building, mostly because instead of having time to get to know each other and drop those walls slowly, we drop them quickly due to the intensity of this situation. We grasp for whatever inclusion we can find because we are 1,000’s of miles from the people who truly know and love us the most. What I mean is, I am sequestered away with these 24 other students and my professor and her husband. Granted we do meet locals everywhere we go, those relationships are not of the main concern here because they last maybe a week depending on how long we are in a place. But, I am in constant communication with at least one person on this trip from my Bethel group at all times, there truly is no such thing as alone time. Even the most outgoing and energized extrovert’s need time alone sometimes, try it from an introverts point of view… Believe it or not, I am an introvert. I recharge when I am alone, being in very large groups exhausts me because I analyze everything around me, all the time. Within this trip, for safety purposes, we aren’t really supposed to ever be truly alone. We have at least one roommate in every living situation, we eat our meals together, we share WiFi areas, and everything is done together. This is something I am learning to adjust to and it is also teaching me a lot about myself.
Anyways, now that you have a little insight on my feelings at this point in the journey… Here’s what’s coming up in my travel future, I will be in Poland until next Thursday. I teach English until this Friday and then Friday night, my teaching group of 7 Bethel students is staying at the camp that we are at because a youth group from a nearby church is coming to spend the night here and we are helping with their organized overnight camp. Then Saturday, we are teaching them an English lesson and Saturday night we will be going for a night of homestays. There are two boys in my group and 5 girls. 3 girls will go to the youth group leader’s home, Domi. Domi is a youth group leader as well as an orthopedic trauma nurse, she is an amazing woman. The two boys will go to one of the boys from the youth groups house, and the same with the remaining two girls, they will go home with a girl from youth group.
Sunday is the day of rest. All of the Bethel students will come home from their homestays and we have the night to relax. At this point, we are done teaching English for good. Monday, we are doing a day of activities that include rock climbing and obstacle courses, etc. Then Tuesday, we will be going to Auschwitz to tour the concentration camp. We were supposed to do that this Monday, but we had to reschedule. Later that night we will be having a Bethel group bonfire. Thursday, we leave to go back to Vienna for one day and free travel begins! I am going to London for four days with four girls, then from London I am flying to Lisbon, Portugal! Where I will meet my friend from my Bethel group, Brooke. We will be staying with my friend Francisca’s friends! I met Francisca in German class in Vienna and we also lived in the same building and became very close. She has a house with three friends in Lisbon and they are going to host Brooke and me! It is such a priceless opportunity to be hosted by them, I am really excited. After free travel, we will all meet back in Vienna and head to Millstatt, Austria. We are staying in a castle there for three weeks. Until my next post! Take care, Miss y’all so much!