Archive for April, 2003

Greetings from Suburban Bohemia

Ahoj All,

After heaps of snow last few weeks it has now turned very tropical and I am sitting here on my new balcony in my shorts admiring my fantastic new rural (yes, that's correct, rural) outlook.

I have finally found a more permanent place to live.  I am in a suburb that was obviously built in the 60s and 70s for the more “sucky” of the party faithful.  It's one of the nicest areas of Prague and I am also literally on the edge of town, with nothing out my window apart from a panoramic view of some paddocks and forest. 

The rent is 7,000 Czech Crowns (equivalent to NZD 440) per month, and it takes me about 20 mins to get into town by bus/metro.  That's if I don't get sidetracked by the fantastic Czech Beer garden at the end of my street.  I'll be living here at least until the end of August.

As well as getting more settled, I am managing to see a lot more of the the country, thanks to making friends with some nice Czech people (with cars).  Although hooning down the motorway at 160km in a 1970's era Škoda isn't everyone's idea of a relaxing weekend (I didn't know that they actually went that fast!).  “Hey – no need to wear a seatbelt – I'm a great driver”.  Coming home after everyone has had a few beers is actually more relaxing.

One of the other great things about living here is that it's not called Central Europe for nothing.

I had a fun trip to Berlin last week, hanging out in the backpackers hostel with a very interesting range of people.  I have attached a photo of a short stretch of the Berlin wall (at least some of which is still standing) which I thought y'all might enjoy. 

To be honest I probably won't rush back to Berlin.  There is a lot of “oral history” there, but because of WWII bombing and the strange attitude of the Germans (where they simply hide / cover up / ignore the history they don't like), there is very very little physical history.  A good example of this is Hitler's bunker which is fully intact but completely closed off and covered up by a carpark! 

Also, I didn't have a lot of time for the Germans.  They are a very strange people.  I mentioned to a some Czechs that I was going to Berlin and the reaction I received was consistently along the lines of “WHY on earth would you voluntarily want to go to Germany?!”.  Having been there and returned, I now think I understand why they'd say that (notwithstanding the fact that quite understandably the Czechs hate the Germans with a passion).  I get another compulsory trip to Germany next month when I go to Dresden for a few days on a Visa run, but this time around it was certainly great to get home. 

My travel destination for next week is a very beautiful town in the south called Cesky Krumlov (another high speed Skoda drive?) and my other short term target is Krakow in Poland.

I looks like I may (touch wood) have a contract from the beginning of May teaching the board of directors of one of the big banks here.  If I get it, then my travel options will be narrowed a bit as I will be limited to weekend travel only.

Other photos attached this week show the effect of acid rain on an otherwise very beautiful forest on the Polish border (that's actually a hotel in the background), and a chandelier made entirely from human bones from a monastery in a very pretty town to the north west of here called Kutna Hora.

So, I'm still alive, still having a great time, and no, I'm not bored yet!

 

Cau

 

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