A couple of months ago I realised just how little time I had left in the CZ, so I decided to start making the most of my weekends! Within that time I have visited many different cities both within and outside of the Czech Republic. Last weekend, I’d booked the Monday and Tuesday off work, and so took a trip to Munich for 4 days. It took 4 and a half hours on the coach to get there, and luckily my hostel was about a 10 minute walk from the coach station.
I’d booked into a 6 bed dorm, and shared with 4 guys; a Brit, a Canadian, an Australian, and a Chinese. To be totally honest, it did feel a little weird sharing a room with just guys- I usually try to book into girls dorms but they only had the mixed dorm available. But they were all really friendly, and we all got on well. I got into Munich quite late on the Saturday, so I just stayed in that night to watch the Eurovision! The hostel put it on in the bar, and I sat with a few others judging all the acts for ourselves. The Canadian and American friends I met had never heard of it before, so we had to watch it! I really liked Serbia…
On the Saturday, I left bright and early and grabbed a coffee and pastry at a nearby cafe with my new Canadian friend. Seriously, I love coffee and pastry breakfasts- it’s what morning dreams are made of. After this, I joined a walking tour, which was interesting. Now, I don’t have a clue about football, but there was some sort of trophy handover happening at the Ratheus Glockenspiel (the main centre) so there were lots of happy, slightly intoxicated football fans around. The tour started at the Ratheus Glockenspiel first, which was really interesting as we watched the small figures begin their performance in the tower as the clock struck 11am. Our tour guide told us that this tower clock was ranked the second best to Prague’s Astronomical Clock. I found Munich’s much bigger and exciting; a jousting contest, a wedding scene, and court jesters dancing! Prague’s clock features a skeleton ringing a bell, hauntingly reminding you that you are an hour closer to your death, whilst freaky-looking prophets pop their heads out of small windows.
We visited a number of other sites, from the Gothic church with a Reneissance dome roof, to a Greco-Roman classical-themed area, to areas associated with Nazi Germany, like Knockers Alley, and a square where Hitler gave very important speeches. It was all really interesting and I’m glad I joined the tour. It was with Sandemans New Europe company, and my tour guide was called Heim. He was very funny and informative!
That night, I stayed in again- it was pouring with rain which naturally puts me in a lazy mood, so I had a few drinks with some of the other guests at the hostel. That’s one of my favourite things about hostels- you can just sit in the common room, and strike up a conversation with someone, others will join, and before you know it it’s midnight and you’ve learnt about a stranger’s life. For example, I had a stereotypical traveller conversation with another Brit, the type that the Inbetweeners 2 Movie would mock, about my life in China and his life in Zambia. The things we had seen, what we ate, where we visited- all really interesting stuff! The Brit in my dorm gave me an interesting book to read too, which was a nice touch.
On the Monday, I’d planned to go on a Third Reich tour, guided by Heim, our tour guide from the previouus day. We had to meet at St Marys Column at Marienplatz at 2.30pm; I got there early, so I went for a little wander first. I visited a few churches, which were all really pretty. Then, it was 2.20pm; time to head back to the square! Somehow I managed to take a wrong turning and got very lost. By the time I got to the column, it was only 2.40pm but everyone had already left! I had missed the tour 😦 Luckily, it was a beautiful, sunny afternoon so I took a trip to the English Garden.
The English Garden is definitely somewhere I’d recommend a visit to, especially if you’re on a budget; essentially, it is Munich’s Hyde/Richmond Park. But maybe more interesting (yes I said that). I took the long route around, first passing a few nudists (the English Garden is popular for nudists), and then passed a fast-flowing river where surfers were practicing in the waves! I feel like you would never see something like that in Britain, it would all be bordered off no doubt- but here, as long as you were professional, you could go surfing, in a river, in a park! I carried on walking around, climbing to some high points to get a better view of the city. I reached the Chinese Teahouse, walked the rest of the way round, and exited the park where I started.
On the Tuesday, my last day, I had a bit of money spare that I’d originally saved for the Third Reich tour. Not wanting to waste it, I simply HAD to go shopping instead. Once I was satisfied, I returned to the hostel and made my way to the coach station. It was a bit scary as I couldn’t find my 17.00 to Prague anywhere, and when I asked the staff they simply replied that they didn’t know, because I was travelling with a different company! How was I to know what to do?! Luckily, I spotted it, checked with a few people it was the right one, phew it was, and boarded a semi-empty coach back to wonderful Prague.
I got back to my flat around 10.30pm, preparing myself for my Wednesday lessons. But then I turned on my Czech phone and saw that all my classes for Wednesday had been cancelled! I spent that day relaxing, and eventually went into the staff room to do some lesson planning, but it was nice to have (another!) day off. The Thursday was a full 6 hours as normal, and then on the Friday I just had 3 classes, as the police and fire units from Prague 6 came to visit, so we learnt all about that and watched a riot horse display too! There have also been water problems in Prague 6 at the moment- meaning that we can’t use tap water, it’s got a couple of viruses in the water such as Ecoli at the moment. Instead, we have to wash our hands in buckets of mineral water and collect tap water from these giant carriages outside public places. So, all in all, it’s been a very eventful but fun week! 🙂