So you’re all forewarned, this blog has nothing to do with tips or places to visit, but there was no way I could create an entire blog site about the Czech Republic without mentioning this. Consider this your disclaimer.
My boss at the school I worked at was big on the idea of integrating us fully into the Czech culture. I was all for this idea of hers. A lot of my favorite memories were made on the trips she’d take us into the countryside. There we were, 12 very American 20-somethings and our middle-aged Czech boss, traipsing all over the place as she prattled on educating us about the history and various tid-bits about each place we visited. It wasn’t the learning of new things that made this so neat, though that was a bonus, it was the time I got to spend with the other teachers away from work. It was the time we got to act our age instead of being the ones in charge of a group of students. It was jumping onto each other and screaming and acting stupid. As our year went on, those trips were the glue that bonded us all together. The made us more than colleagues. They made us a family.
I’ll answer the question I’m hoping you all have on your mind. Why on earth did I call this blog “the nature”? Well, if you’ve ever talked to a person who doesn’t speak English as a native language, you’ve probably heard their humorous little take on our language. The Czechs main short-coming is in their use of articles. There are so many other funny things they say that I could list. Really, I could make another blog completely about that topic, but I won’t bore you. “The nature” was the first one we heard. When our boss came into our office one day and announced that, if we’d like, she’d take us to “the nature” on Sunday afternoon, we all snickered to ourselves. It was such a common occurrence that soon all of us were calling it “the nature”. What does the term “the nature” refer to? Anything outside, quite simply. The nature could be the castle gardens or a mountain trail. It could involve a 10 mile hike or a trip to a Renaissance-themed city.”The nature” is all-inclusive.
I’ll never forget our first trip into “the nature”. After being in Prague for only two weeks and having seen only a handful of trees collectively, my friends and I couldn’t imagine what “the nature” would look like. We joked that we’d probably have to take the metro there and get out of the train only to see trees and, well… nature for miles around. Not for one moment did we think this was what would actually happen, but we actually were herded onto the metro and then herded off a few stops later only to emerge from the station in the middle of… nature. Trees, mountains, grass, fields. It was something out of a picture book. I couldn’t believe it was real. Somehow that magical metro had transported us from the definition of city living into the middle of nowhere.
To close, I will just leave you with this one little tip. Prague is stupendous. The buildings are old and wonderful, the people are friendly and warm, the festivals and movement of the city is overwhelming… but “the nature” is where the real magic is. Somehow I didn’t appreciate trees and fresh air and mountains and the like until I felt the freedom that wide open spaces can offer. It was a freedom to let loose and be me with people I loved. It was a chance to get out of my stuffy, tight, itchy, “professional” clothes and put on my ratty jeans and baggy t-shirts. The days in “the nature” were invaluable to me. I loved every minute, even the freezing cold ones.
I’m including a video of one of our trips to “the nature” so that you can see just what I mean when I say that we “let loose”. Tell me that you can imagine YOUR teachers behaving like THIS…