It was a Sunday afternoon and upon arriving in Brno I could not contain my excitement. I had just spent three days in Prague and I was already in love with the Czech way of life. Our lovely course coordinators planned a great dinner for us at a traditional Czech restaurant complete with schnitzels, potato pancakes, lots of meat and soft drinks (in Czech, beer and wine are soft drinks as our convenor Martin told us). It was so great to be welcomed in such a humbling way.
The next morning, I awoke for my first class. Full of anticipation I got out of bed with my notebook and about five pens, eager to take notes. The lecture did not disappoint. After a tour of the main shopping precinct (priorities right?) I just needed to go home and spend a night in the accommodation, thankfully this was easy because we were allowed to take all the leftovers from the night before.
On Tuesday, we were taken on a tour of the town, Brno. Brno is so amazingly beautiful, filled with a rich history and buoy has it seen a lot of history. Remnants of communism are still apparent but this is contrasted with colourful houses and gardens. The tour ended at a rooftop bar which I would become familiar with that night.
Wednesday and Thursday were super interesting. On both days we were taken on a walk down history lane. On Wednesday we visited Austerlitz Battleground where Napoleon fought a major battle, it was so fascinating. Thursday night was spent in a nuclear shelter located right in the middle of the Brno, in there we watched the movie Goodbye Lenin which despite the freezing temperature in the shelter made for a pleasant night.
On the way to Budapest we spent some time in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. We were taken on a tour of the town which discussed propaganda particularly from the communist era. The best part was a derelict square in the middle of town which was covered in Graffiti. A statue of communist leaders once stood there.
Budapest is also absolutely amazing. On the Friday night we experienced the magnificence of Rudas Baths. This is one of the oldest baths in Budapest and it opens at nights on the weekend. I spent a large portion of the night there, bonding with classmates and I also treated myself to a massage which was incredible.
On the Saturday our coordinators took us on a tour of Budapest and to the parliament. The parliament is grand, decorated in gold and all things majestic. That afternoon we were taken to the House of Terror, a museum dedicated to the horrors of fascism and communism.
Come the Sunday, we were given a full free day to explore Budapest. I walked around and just soaked up my time there.
The first week really demonstrated how great this program will be. It's been a whirlwind, full of action-packed adventures. I cannot wait for week 2! :)