Below is a story about a recent trip to Eastern Europe written by one of the student’s at my English school, Smith’s school of English Ohtsu. Two of my student’s traveled to four European countries together, along with 20 other people, a tour guide, and their cameras!
My students’ names are Masako and Kimiko. This story was written by Masako after they returned from Europe.
If you are interested in reading about Masako & Kimiko’s other adventures, please click on the following links.
We were going to move to Prague. Along the expressway there were beautiful farms, pastures and hills. We visited Cesky Krumlov, a world heritage listed area, comprising of a castle, churches, shops, restaurants, cobblestone plaza and surrounded by a canal. People keep the area in its original state as much as possible so we felt like going back into medieval times. We had lunch at a local restaurant near the plaza. We arrived in Prague and then we had to say good-bye to the bus driver who drove us for three days with careful safe driving. We took a picture together. Kimiko gave him 5 euro for a tip, big-hearted! We had dinner at a restaurant in Obecni dum/Civic hall. “Smetana (famous Czech composer) hall” is included in this historical stone building. Beer and dishes were nice but our beautiful waitress was unfriendly and rude. She took Yoko (one of our tour member)’s plate away without asking though she was still holding her knife and fork. Kimiko covered her plate with a piece of bread quickly. Yoko stared at the table blankly. By contrast, other waiters served with smiles and provided courteous service. Panorama hotel was conveniently situated for the guests nearby a big supermarket and subway station. Our room was on the 21st floor. We held a small party with Yoko and Noriko, both of them were married women but single travelers (like us), in our room for two hours or so. While drinking, eating and chatting, I realized there were a diverse range of lifestyles though we are from the same generation.
Another sunny day. At first we went to a carbarn and took a chartered classic wooden tram with terrible suspension and noise. But the mood was awesome. The tram driver had to change rail connections by switching them himself. It’s an old style maybe. There were many sightseeing points on today’s itinerary. Prague Castle, Karluv/Charles Bridge (the oldest stone built bridge in middle Europe), Old medieval town, former city hall and Bohemian glass shop including lunch and dinner. We heard a funny story about the stone-built bridge. 600 years ago, king Karl IV ordered to gather eggs for glue for the stones of the bridge, but people gave boiled eggs to the king because they thought raw eggs were breakable. Really? We enjoyed a lot and walked a lot. How delicious the mug of beer at dinner was!
After having breakfast, we asked a concierge to book the tickets for a pipe organ concert in the evening. We bought 24 hours transfer tickets. The weather was rather warm like early summer. We went to Mucha Museum. I love his works but there were lighting reflection problems to see some paintings. I wondered why. We walked around the city and took Trams. At lunch time we saw many workers drinking beer and wine. It’s ok. This is the Czech Republic. We enjoyed an hour-long Vltava/Moldau river cruise. Along the river medieval buildings and modern buildings were well-matched. The restaurant where we had dinner served us a cold pizza, Boo! We didn’t tip the waiter! The concert was nice. The old historical church itself had nice acoustics and atmosphere. During this tour we saw many skillful street musicians. Listening and playing classical music seemed more common than in Japan. Went back to the hotel and packed our baggage. I asked our tour guide to check my suitcase’s weight in advance. Phew! Barely pass the luggage allowance.
The morning of departure, we were all set up to go. Had breakfast and then left the hotel. Our flight wasn’t full so we could have two seats each again. Watching movies and listening to music for killing time. I could sleep well as usual.
Sat. Apr 9th
We arrived at Kansai airport on time. While waiting at the baggage claim we exchanged goodbyes with our temporary fellow travelers. When we left Japan, the cherry blossoms were in bud but they are in full bloom now. I felt like travelling through many countries and seasons within ten days. Both of our husbands picked us up at Ishiyama station. Kimiko’s husband walked up to the gates, on the other hand, my husband waited for me in the parking lot. What made the difference? The depth of love did? Hmmmm