Monday, July 16, 2007

Delays Throughout Moravia

Prague is made up of two former regions- Moravia and Bohemia. Last short trip, we visited southern Bohemia and we just got back from a trip to Southern Moravia. From the trip descriptions, it seemed that this trip was going to be incredibly more fun; we had wine tasting, touring various cities, a trip through a cave by boat on an underground river as well as tour the old capital Brno. Our actual journey differed greatly from what was expected.
We started out early in the morning, and at first we were worried that there would not be any breakfast. We were a little upset, because we did pay for our breakfast as part of tuition, and I think they noticed that we were being little snots and needed to eat, because right before we left at 8, they brought out our daily breakfast. Breakfast in Prague is pretty decent, although completely different than what you find in the States. I usually get houska, (a type of bread that is typical in the CR) cheese, ham, cereal, and lots of coffee. There never is any hot food, but it is filling and I would guess a little healthier than the usual fare in the US, and it is fun to try a new breakfast lifestyle.
Anyways, after we all tried to shove as much food in our mouths as possible before the bus left, we started to head out to our first destination, Telc. We drove, played some bus games, and chatted. But all of a sudden, something was wrong. The bus stopped on the side of the road, and our bus driver got out and was talking on the phone. I thought he had stopped to talk on his cell, and I thought it was a little rude, but we soon learned that the bus had broken down. Apparently, it had overheated, and it could no longer start. We managed to make it another 2 kilometers, before pulling over in a truck stop.
We were told that backups would arrive in 2 hours. We waited. We were told another 20 minutes. We waited. Finally, a backup bus arrived when we had been sitting at a rest stop, in the burning sun, in the middle of nowhere, without food, for a good 3 and a half hours. Needless to say, a lot of the people on the trip were in a pretty tired mood. But Cara, a new friend, and I decided to embrace it and before the bus came, we wandered around and discovered some interesting bill boards, met a guy with a flat tire (who couldn’t speak a word of English), and explored a beautiful field next to a forest with a brilliant blue sky. Maybe I can get a hold of that picture...
My point is as long as we continued to have a good attitude, we could enjoy other new experiences that we missed. The three and a half hour delay, however, really through off the rest of the schedule. We missed the wine-tasting that was scheduled, and had to sprint through Telc, just grabbing a bite to eat and listening to Petr Bilek, our tour guide, who described every building’s architecture. Obviously, we were all really disappointed; wine-tasting is always very fun. After Telc, we headed to Mikulov, which would have been a fun city to explore. But we could blame missing these sites that on the bus breaking down, and we realized it was noone’s fault and we could look forward to the caves in the morning. We enjoyed walking around the city for the rest of the night, and the view was great. Mikulov lies right next to Austria and Slovakia and from the top of the hill next to the Chateau we could see the two neighboring countries. Of course, it was great just to be with my new friends in this new place.
After a nice ending to the mix ups on Saturday, we started out fresh on Sunday. But once again, things did not quite line up. We were told to meet at the bus at 9, and we were all on the bus at 9:10, but for some reason the bus didn’t leave until 20 after. And then we got lost. It took forever, and Petr Bilek blamed it on us staying an extra 5 minutes at the gas station. I don’t quite understand his logic, but we once again missed one of the scheduled events. We were supposed to go on a boat on an underground river through a cave, but we were 20 minutes late, and we missed the launch. The culture here is completely different than in the United States. If there was group of thirty tourists in the United States, things would be changed if they were a little late. The boat would have waited for an extra five minutes before setting off, and the business would have preferred to make more money than launch the boat on time. In the Czech Republic, it seems like timeliness is more important, and the mind-set is less focused on making money. Perhaps this is a remnant left over from the Communist regime; it can be annoying. If we get off schedule, which seemed to happen a lot this weekend, we are screwed. In short, we missed our boat trip, and instead just toured one of the caves after taking a gondola and a little train. This was still a blast, but not quite the same.
After caves, we went to Brno, and once again had to sprint through, just grabbing food and listening to Petr rasp away. I wanted to explore the city, but we didn’t have enough time because the caves took longer than we thought and we had to leave right away. It seemed that we were in transit more often than sight seeing.
The trip to Moravia was scheduled to be amazing. Things changed around, and there were a lot of disappointments. But we still had a great time, and it is amazing that we had these opportunities to see a unique part of the Czech Republic. So, all in all, it was worth the eighty hours of bus ride.

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