A leisure day in Czech Republic

6.3.2015

A leisure day in Czech RepublicIf I open my “Guide du Routard” (“Trekker Guide” – collection of sort of French travel guide such as “Lonely Planet”) about Czech Republic in the “Culture, men and environment” section, this is what I can learn there: - Beer is the most popular beverage in Czech Republic (and Czech people are the biggest beer drinker in the world) - Typical dishes are named “Gulaš“, “Smažený sýr“,“Smažený řízek“,“Knedlíky“ or “Bramborák“; - Famous Czech people are Charles IV, Franz Kafka, Antonín Dvořák, Milan Kundera, Miloš Forman or Václav Havel; - A summary of the history of Czech Republic. But nothing about leisure that Czech people like to practice.

If I open my “Guide du Routard” (“Trekker Guide” – collection of sort of French travel guide such as “Lonely Planet”) about Czech Republic in the “Culture, men and environment” section, this is what I can learn there:

-   Beer is the most popular beverage in Czech Republic (and Czech people are the biggest beer drinker in the world) but there is also wine;

-   Typical dishes are named “Gulaš“, “Smažený sýr“,“Smažený řízek“,“Knedlíky“ or “Bramborák“;

-   Famous Czech people are Charles IV, Franz Kafka, Antonín Dvořák, Milan Kundera, Miloš Forman or Václav Havel;

-   A summary of the history of Czech Republic.

 

But nothing about leisure that Czech people like to practice (and honestly it’s pretty normal, after all it’s mostly a travel guide). For me, make an EVS it’s not just working on a project in an organization as a volunteer and enjoy the weekend to travel and visit the country in which we are, but it’s also live in a country during one year and discover little by little its people, its culture (different from what can be found written in the books) or its habits. During my visits in Prague in December and January, I noticed in the metro and at the train station the large number of people carrying skis or snowboards. I then thought that winter sports would be a popular leisure in Czech Republic even if it seemed incongruous because in my mind it wasn’t a very mountainous country and therefore not conducive to skiing and snowboarding. And moreover, my “Guide du Routard” said nothing about that! Finally after a few conversations it appeared that winter sports are something really popular in this country and that it was normal to go skiing (but also ice-skating) during winter time. So when I was offered to go skiing, I obviously accepted.

One Wednesday morning in February, it is at 9 AM, at Valeč the weather is foggy and it is time to leave for that skiing day. My last –and only- time on ski was more than 15 years ago, so I am like a child, impatiently waiting for this moment. After an hour’s drive, we are in Boží Dar, ski resort located in the Krušné Hory (Ore Mountains) at the german border. After the ski rental and the purchase of the pass for the day, it’s finally the moment to put the skis and head to the slopes. As I follow innocently my ski companions (much more experienced than me), I start to go down a red slope ! For some, this may seem ridiculous but I almost have no memory of how to ski this was somewhat difficult. Despite some good advices (which were really useful, thanks Roos ;) ) the twenty to thirty minutes following are a succession of falls. While  I start to have regrets about this day of skiing, I finally find a ski lift and I decide to watch a resort map to find blue slops. I will not tell the rest of my day in detail but it was much nicer, despite further falls. And there were beautiful landscapes, with a blue sky and a sea of clouds on the horizon.

But all good things must end and finally arrives 5 PM, time to go. Just before Karlovy Vary, one of my traveling companions suggest to go to sauna. For me, sauna is really popular in Czech Republic and is also part of Czech culture. This light not be the case but that’s the impression that I have: indeed, there are saunas in almost every cities and you can even find saunas at home! Seen through French culture, where sauna is rare, it looks like something popular. Although I went to sauna for the first time here in Czech Republic. But finally, despite our efforts we did not find sauna susceptible to welcome us in Karlovy Vary.

As we passed in front of the KV Arena, I proposed to go to see the ice hockey game that would begin soon. Unfortunately, nobody wanted and so I should wait before seeing a match of this extremely popular sport in the Czech Republic may be the most popular in the country.

Instead of the sauna and thus the ice hockey game, we went to a tea room, or “Čajovna“ in Czech language. Apparently, even if this kind of establishment is still quite new (twenty years) in Czech Republic, they are now quite popular and witnesses of the love of Czech people for tea. In any case, they are always very welcoming places where you feel comfortable and where you can taste good teas necessarily but also small dishes (like couscous or pita bread with hummus) and shisha for extremely reasonable prices. On the other hand, as a tea uneducated person, I am always puzzled with the vast offer so I always chosen somewhat at random (usually after 20 minutes reading the card).

 

So this is my story about a leisure day in Czech Republic. And this confirmed my idea that the EVS is really a good way to discover a country, certainly a lot more depth than just a holiday or travel, and it is really worth!

Autor: Baptiste Bertrand   |   Sekce: EVS - Baptiste   |   Tisk   |   Poslat článek známému


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