A summer in Europe:

July 21

It’s 5:20 a.m. Canadian time, but right now I’m sitting at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, sitting at gate A64 waiting for my 12:05 p.m. flight to Prague.
I’ll be boarding within the next 10 minutes or so, so I’ll be quick.
When I got here from Montreal I was told to take the sky bus to gate A64. What the heck is that? Where is gate A64?
I quickly learned that “customer service” is quite different in North America than in Europe.
Europeans have a more do-it-yourself attitude.
So I just walked along and followed all the English signs I could find and found my way to an outdoor subway type of contraption which I assumed could only have been a sky bus and found gate A64.
The first thing that struck me about Frankfurt as we were landing was the remarkable landscape and architecture.
The industrial area, or what appeared to be the downtown centre, was covered in immense, curvy shaped, asymmetrical buildings.
It was amazing. And the green space was magnificent. All around the centre were beautiful green trees and bushes and small lakes.
It was quite different from what I am used to seeing at home.
The second thing that struck me was the food.
Definitely not top notch.
I tried a salami sandwich and maybe growing up in an Italian family with homemade Italian sausages made it difficult for me to enjoy salami over here.
Day one – Montreal to Frankfurt and my grand tour of the Frankfurt airport.
I guess it’s not much, but it’s still something.

July 22

Today I went on a tour of the city of Prague. What a site to see. There is so much history in this magnificent city.
I took a stroll on Charles Bridge which King Charles IV had built 650 years ago.
He also had Charles University built, which today has over 50,000 students.
King Charles IV was known for his promiscuity and actually died from syphilis.
Although I did notice one thing. He may have been a philanderer, but at least he managed to construct a bridge that lasted 650 years. At home, we can’t seem to make them last for more than 20 years without them collapsing.
I also learned something interesting today, well, absurd really.
Prague has no women in parliament or in charge of government in any way.
They are not allowed, or so the female tour guide told me. I could hardly believe my ears when I heard that!
Even more weird, no one seems to mind or even care!
That’s the beauty of travelling. Being able to learn how others live all over the world.
Often times, other countries are so different from what we know and what we are used to.

July 24

Last night I slept quite well, considering the locals were right outside playing bongos and having a very loud dance party.
In Prague, you can try asking your neighbors to quiet down, they won’t.
Disturbing the peace? Doesn’t exist!
Luckily, I had a pair of earplugs. They worked relatively well, seeing as how I slept through the night.
I started my day with my tour group of international travelling students by getting on our now usual bus 107 Suchdol and headed toward Dejvicka metro station.
Then we got on the metro and got off at Mustek, the main stop.
I was getting hungry and running out of options for food. Every restaurant had menus written in Czech and waitresses who only spoke Czech so I figured I had to stop to eat at some place I knew well! McDonald’s.
Somehow, whenever I’m away from home and starving, the golden arches that rarely catch my attention at home are my only refuge in a country where I can’t speak the language.
Some of the other travelling students and I stopped in to eat together.
As I laughed and spoke with some of the other travellers I had met, I finally grasped the idea of why travelling and experiencing different cultures is so invaluable.
My European adventure in Prague, so far, though only the beginning, has taught me many things about people and life.

July 30

I haven’t even submitted an entry to my journal in the last few days since I have been so busy having so much fun!
Today is my last day in Prague. I’ll be sad to leave behind the friends I have made and this beautiful city.
However, I write today with some interesting news. I have seen crosswalks… being put to use.
I only first discovered the point of a crosswalk a year or two ago. In my 23 years of life, I’ve never actually seen a driver stop at one in Montreal to let a pedestrian cross. Ever.
Although the drivers drove insanely quickly down the streets of Prague, they’d always slam on the brakes at the crosswalks to let us cross.
It was somewhat shocking. Do I step on the crosswalk? Is this guy going to run me down?
Wow! He stopped. Montreal really is different from this place!
However, more important than the crosswalks, I learned something else today.
As we spoke of our departures, which are coming up tomorrow, the travellers I had met and I all talked about how much we would miss each other.
That’s the best part of this trip. We are able to make all different sorts of friends whom we can learn from, share our experiences with and, in some cases, maybe even cry with.
So, I must bid the beautiful city of Prague adieu.
Though my plane leaves tomorrow, my memories will last a lifetime.


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