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(Credit: Anna Zakelj)

Before the storm of tests and papers that is finals week at BCB, in the lull of spring break, a friend and I made our way to Prague. The trip was an adventure. We didn’t plan much, didn’t have much money to spend, and I forgot my passport at home, adding an air of excitement to the journey that was accentuated by my whiteness and US citizenship. The trip was filled with encounters with odd and wonderful people. In transit, in a subway station in Prague, loaded down with backpacks and sleeping bags, we were approached by an old man. He exited the train going the other direction and walked up to where we stood waiting for ours to come. “You traveling?” He asked in a loud, goofy voice. “Where are you from?”

“Slovakia and the US,” we responded respectively.“The US! We’re neighbors. I’m Canadian. I’ve been living here a long time, though. I came over when I was young, just a little older than you two. I used to travel a lot. One summer some friends and I took a long bike trip through a few different countries and one guy died.” My friend Veronika and I looked at each other, confused. Was this the punchline to some strange joke? Should we be laughing? “We drank beers for lunch before cycling,” he continues. “We weren’t thinking about the consequences, forgot about the alcohol. He swerved and got hit by a car. He was young. 30 something. But that’s another story. What’s past is past.” Before we could really respond, our train came and he left, flashing a peace sign with a toothy smile and an emphatic “Bring back the hippies!” The whole interaction lasted less than five minutes. Let’s use this as a learning experience. As we part ways and go adventuring during the summerbreak, let us always bring our passports, be willing to talk to interesting strangers, and remember to never drink and cycle!

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Prague covered in fog prepares for a rainy day

Prague covered in fog prepares for a rainy day

Prague – the city of dreamers, travelers and adventure seekers. There is so much that could be said about the capital of the Czech Republic: from its breathtaking architecture infused with history, to its rich café culture that brings together the old and the new – both in generations and spirit. Prague is a city for those who wish to get away from everyday concerns and troubles of day-to-day life by losing themselves among medieval Gothic cathedrals or walks along Vltava, followed by a coffee or brunch in one of Prague’s old-style coffee shops. Yet, even in those moments of “being away” from our Berlin home, the phantoms of old life recur. I would like to focus on the latter, and talk about how traveling to a new place, especially one as contemplative and imaginative as the city of Prague, made me think and re-think in new ways about life and myself.

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