Yesterday I went to my first ever ice hockey match. The atmosphere was amazing – chanting, beer, pizza slices the size of your head and a stand out mascot. Very similar to Aussie rules except about 20 degrees colder. And to top it off ‘our’ team won (Praha Sparta). Unlike the opera, I would definitely make an effort to go to another ice hockey match.
This morning we ventured out for a walking tour of Prague. To be honest I don’t remember a lot of what our tour guide said, but he was entertaining and after our coffee stop the tour was very enjoyable. We got to walk along Charles Bridge, see the old town square and visit the President’s palace. I particularly appreciated our guide’s story about a Czech man who died from a burst bladder. It is tradition to not leave the room before the emperor, so when this man visited the emperor he drank a bit much and couldn’t hold it and died from a burst bladder. We were informed this is a complete myth and doctors have said you can’t die from this, but it is still a good story.
I have discovered that it is just as likely I will die from heat exhaustion as from hypothermia here. All the buildings are so heated that when you walk inside with your four layers, three thermals, two pairs of socks and your mum’s best old wool cardigan you almost pass out. All of these are absolutely necessary outside however as -11 does warrant the layers.
Last night we went to the opera. It was beautiful and lovely and the ‘opera-ers’ had amazing blue hair. However one does not know pain until they have sat through three hours of opera in a language they don’t understand whilst simultaneously trying not to overheat from the warmth of their thermals (see above). I did have the advantage of knowing the plot was very similar to the little mermaid when I walked in, but it deviated enough to keep me on my toes. I believe going to the opera in the Czech Republic is more something an Australian student would do to tell people they have done it rather than something you do out of enjoyment.
What was just as exciting (okay at least 5 times more exciting) was the snow storm we were greeted with when we left the opera. There were many snow angels made, snow eaten and skidding (and falling) accomplished. 20 odd squealing girls walking through a snow storm is a sight to behold.
With a real feel of -20, our 2 hour walking tour of Brno city was exhilarating in more ways than one. We got to see inside two of the biggest churches, went into a Cappuccino crypt (no, not the coffee), learnt insight into the architecture of some of the oldest buildings and got some amazing pictures at the top of the church tower. I also got 12,000 steps on my fitbit today which is equally exciting.
One of my favourite stories from our walking tour of Brno was regarding a wonky pillar (see attached picture). The city had commissioned a man to design a building, it was a beautiful building with lots of intricate detail. When eventually the man was almost finished the building process the city came to him saying that on second thought they didn’t think this building was worth as much as they had agreed to pay him. Having pride in his work and knowing his skill this man decided to spite the city and finish the building, but with a design flaw. He made the centre pillar above the arch way twisted. I appreciate this story. It is a true reflection of Czech homour and clever spite.
Blog written by Pietta Gresham who's on the AIM Overseas International Law and Human Right's program (January 2017).
To view the full blog, go to https://czechheroutweb.wordpress.com/.