I'm in Europe right now. I had a hell of a time getting here. I thought the worst was over. I thought getting home should be easy.
Then all the pilots on Lufthansa airlines thought it would be a good idea to strike.
Seriously. Not only that, they are striking over issues that don't actually exist. It's a 'pre-emptive' strike. They aren't mad about things now, they are worried that things won't get better at an appropriate pace.
Basically I can't believe my bad luck traveling this time. Although I'm not superstitious (much), considering that so far 5 out of the 6 major legs of this journey on plane/train have been plagued by serous problems, I am starting to have a pretty fatalistic attitude.
With that being said, I've been able to decompress a bit since I learned about the strike this morning. I changed some of my plans and headed out of Prague quite a bit earlier than I originally anticipated, and made it back to South Moravia around 2pm. I spent a few days in Brno last week, but they were all at my day job--and every night was a night out with coworkers. Now, don't get me wrong, they were great times, but I never really got a pulse on what Brno looked like and how to get around. Today kinda changed that.
After I got in I headed to the hotel to check in by foot instead of taxi. That was the first good decision. Instead of just being whisked around, I got to see and internalize where I was and how to get from A to B. After I dropped off my things, I made it a point to try and get lost (which is something I enjoy doing, as long as I have backup plans if I get *really* lost), and I gotta say Brno in the daylight with a little sunlight is a beautiful place.
Prague is a wonderful town, but it is full to the brim with tourists, whores, hustlers, pimps, scammers, and just plain leeches. Everything is 3x (or more) as expensive as anywhere else in the Czech Republic, and everyone looks at you as a walking $$$ as opposed to a person. There are beautiful things to see and do in Prague, but you constantly have to be aware that your sole purpose being there is to fuel there economy, and everything else is a distant second.
Brno on the other hand is an almost sleepy 400,000 person city. When I was out in the city square it was mostly populated with older couples enjoying a walk, families with lots of (relatively) well behaved children, younger couples who looked like they were actually enjoying themselves, and a very small amount of tourists who were just trying to blend in.
There are some problems though. Most people in the center of Prague have pretty good English skills, but that isn't the case in Brno. Prague has some of the most picturesque scenery and gorgeous architecture I have seen, and Brno is a step lower in quantity and exquisiteness. But Brno is someplace that feels comfortably alien, as opposed to hostilely alien.
All in all, hopefully I can get this flight snafu taken care of in a reasonable manner. I am grateful however that a bad event (canceling the flights, making me super angry, and causing me to leave Prague quite early out of angst and frustration) actually turned into a happy, positive experience. It is that, turning the bad into the good, that is the most rewarding part of traveling.
And of course, photos to come (when I find the cable) :D
Cheese A Day by Jeremy Pickett is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at cheeseaday.blogspot.com.