Елена Бухвалова (FCE)
The Holiday Trip I Will Never Forget (эссе, 2010)
Let me tell you about our trip to Prague last April. It was a remarkable journey in every aspect.
First of all, after examining a lot of options my husband and I bought tourist vouchers from Moscow. Then we studied a great number of materials about the Czech culture, customs, cuisine and felt entirely prepared for an exciting trip.
Our adventure started even earlier then we had expected. The famous Icelandic volcano with an unpronounceable name, which peacefully had slept for two hundred years, erupted one day before our departure. After that a big cloud of ashes started to move slowly to the south-east. As dust is very dangerous for plane engines, most of flights to Europe were cancelled or postponed for some indefinite time.
Unfortunately, our flight was not an exception. It was first delayed and then completely called off. As a result, we found ourselves on Sunday evening in one of the most expensive cities with a very restricted amount of money. To begin with, we decided to stay in a hotel and then try to settle our affairs the next morning. Luckily, on Monday we succeeded in getting new vouchers by train and on the seventh day of our journey we eventually arrived in Prague.
My first impression could be expressed in one word ‘Bright!’ Almost all the buildings in the historic part of the city are covered with red tiles. In combination with pastel colourful walls it looks very neat. Frankly speaking, I did not understand why they call Prague ‘Golden’ but it is really beautiful and charming. It is generally admitted that this city has a special atmosphere. Very romantic, a bit mysterious and calm. It is a pleasure just to walk along its lovely old streets, listen to music, which is heard from everywhere, and observe.
At the same time Prague is a modern capital, which is very convenient for living. There are a lot of cosy cafes, gorgeous boutiques and shops with affordable prices , museums and hospitals. To our astonishment, the city’s public transport strictly follows its timetable and nobody checks tickets. Surprisingly, how organically the past and present combine!
It is amusing how two Slavonic languages differ and resemble simultaneously! Separate words are alike very much. For instance, the Czech ‘otvoreno’ means ‘open’ in Russian and ‘rano’ corresponds with ‘morning’. On the contrary, a number of words have opposite meanings. For example, ‘pozor’ signifies not ‘shame’ but ‘attention’. This circumstance causes a lot of confusing situations with tourists. Fortunately, we had no such difficulties because we met only friendly people who listened patiently to the Russian speech if we were not able to explain it in English. As far as I noticed, most of middle-aged and young Czech master international languages very well. It reflects the fact that modern Europe is a united space.
The borders are almost transparent now and it is very easy to visit neighbouring Germany and Austria when you are in the Czech Republic. Due to this fact, we were able to attend Vienna and the former Bavarian capital Regensburg. It is astonishing that you suddenly find yourself in another country and it gives a feeling of freedom.
Of course, eating local food is a very pleasant part of every trip. The Czech cuisine is not exotic but it has a lot of unusual matches. For instance, sweet sauce for meat or cold ice-cream for hot strudel. Naturally, the Czech famous beer deserves a special attention. There are a lot of kinds of this beverage and it is impossible to taste them all. Nevertheless you can try?
In conclusion of my story, I would like to say that I really enjoyed our trip and hope to visit the Czech Republic again.