Well, it's been a busy few weeks, but for a change there has been a bit more play and less work.
Apparently, Britain is the only country whihc doesn't get blistering hot summers- so it begs the question for me really, why do I keep moving away to these other countroes with skin like mine?! Yep, the sun came out in full force about 3 weeks ago and hence so did all the inhabitants of Brno.
It all kicked off on the Saturday really. Trace was all set to leave for italy on the wednesday, so she suggested some dinner at a new place not far from my house. the food was gorgeous and really cheap. A miscommunication also ended in the discovery of a new refreshing summer drink for me called kinleys tonic with lemon and was absolutely delicious. We were invited to our gay friends' engagement party that night too, so we dolled up and went out. It was quite a quiet affair considering the hosts, but it was a free bar and free food (with free fruit on the tables which by the way is an excellent idea and removes all the guilt of chips and cheese after a heavy night!)
Suday dawned another sweltering sweat box of a day. Hana suggested everyone should go to the lake, so at 1pm we headed over there and to my delight it wasn't a disappointment! Set out of town (but only 15 mins away from me), surrounded by lush forest and countryside, food stalls and bars rim the edges of the lake, there's a lake cruise and watersports, not to mention swimming. (no this is not an ad for it, but i was really impressed). We waled half way round and found a spot in the sun on the grass near the amenities with Jitka, Theo, Jana, Anthony, David, Jack and his mates.
It was lovely just relaxing in the sun, lemonade in one hand, in good company. We were joined by ther cutest ginger rabbit you've ever seen at one point too until its 11 year old owner feared for its capture and hsatily removed it. We left as the sun went down as it was getting cooler and headed home.
After another normal start to the week, we had the tuesday off for labour day. Another beautiful day summoned everyone to another patch of grass, but this time in lily-anne's neck of the woods in lesna for a picnic. Another big group of us gathered for food and beer until the sun went down and we reluctantly went home for work the next day. I could get used to these 3 day weeks bot being so taxing!
Despite being knackered on the wednesday, I met Jack and David for the students English club festival night which turned out to be brilliant. It was held in another nook and cranny with loads of rooms and a big cellar, with live music, comedy and even a pole dancing battle (which even the guys were impressed with rather than drooling over due to the pure skill it takes to hold your body up off a pole). The music was also great for Czech bands, original and a bit on the funk, jazzy side.
The rest of the week passed in a blur until friday night when I headed off on my weekend to Krakow.
It was a knackeringly long journey due to a big wait in the middle from 11pm- 3am in the middle of nowhere but once there it was great. I arrived at the hostel at around 8am. It was amazing, the inside was decorated with care, it was clean and colourful, so close to the town and station and had a really good atmosphere.
As i was alone the first day, i signed up for the tour to Auschwitz that day. We got there and were immediately put into guide groups. The weather was amazing to walk around in, but I feel like it should constantly be raining over a place where such atrocities happened. It was a little difficult to get a real feel for the things that happened in the camps due to the sheer amount of tourists, but it was harrowing regardless. The guide was amazingly knowledgeable and told us so much about each place we saw, like how they used the wash rooms, cyclone b in the gas chambers, the punishments, some of the survivors and soooo much more. The pictures will show you some of the stuff I saw too.
We got back late, and I went straight out to get food before flopping into bed. I got up early to meet Alex and Niamh at the station before going to get breakfast. Coffee and a bagel later and we were all ready to sightsee. Being with a pole was great, the real polish experience is what she promised and that's what we got! She knew so much about the history, all the places to go out of the tourist traps, etc. We saw the castle, around the city a little bit before dinner (where we had traditional bright pink cold beetroot soup and dumplings which was nicer than it sounds trust me) and then down to the jewish area called Kazimierz where we went to the old synagogue and ate proper traditional jewish food which were corsses between pizza and sandwiches. We went for a few drinks that night to a really cool place on the outskirts of the centre in a really nice bar with trees outside and fairy lights. The beer was really nice and had ginger or raspberry syrup in too, which was scrummy.
We left pretty early as Niamh had to leave early. The next day was pretty rainy so me and alex decided on Schindler's factory, which was fantastic. The remnants and exhibition left there was great, but i'm so overloaded with information! We left to get my last traditional polish food of peirogi which was another kind of dumpling but this time filled with cabbage and mushroom. It was absolutely delicious and so filling! When Alex left for home I went to a final museum, which was the whole history of krakow at a musuem under the main market square. It was really informative and interactive, so i ended up spending about 3 hours there. I left to eat before finally heading back to the train station at 10 pm to get back to Brno.
I arrived back at 7am the next day (and thank god for sleeper trains- the best discovery of my life in Europe and travelling so far!). I debated whether to go to Znojmo with some of the teachers for wine tasting but as I was so tired I decided against it and thank god i did. As it was our last holiday before the end of the school year and another scorching day, the ones who stayed behind all went out for dinner and a couple of cocktails to celebrate the last leg of the school year before the end which was great. I'm going to miss this group of people, it's taken some time and the last few weeks have really changed the city and the way i feel about being here, but it feels like a family that I'm going to be leaving now. It'll be a bittersweet day to leave now.
So there we go, there's your update for the last few weeks. Pictures will be up next, so enjoy :)