Need happy stories or some good news for a change? Look no further! Every Monday, I’m posting happy travel stories to brighten your day and temporarily distract from these uncertain times! Today, it’s about a day trip to Brno with the International Club. (Hilarity ensues).
I was barely a month into my study abroad in Prague when I decided to sign up for my first solo venture: a day trip to Brno with the International Club. This seemed like an easy way to get out of my comfort zone, seeing as the trip would be led by Brno experts but I’d still be throwing myself in with a group of people I had never met.
Early morning Saturday, September 30, 2017, I arrived at a train station in Prague ready to seize the day. Well, not really. I grabbed a coffee but still managed to sleep through the 3-hour train ride to Brno. Early mornings are decidedly not my thing.
Once we arrived, the tour of Brno began. When I say we covered everything, we really covered everything. It was so cool. We toured the Špilberk Castle, the Ossuary of St. Jacob, Liberty Square and the Labyrinth under the Cabbage Market before settling down for lunch.
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The Špilberk Castle in Brno, Czech Republic, is a former medieval fortress open to visitors who are eager to see the ancient prison tunnels and tour the castle grounds.⠀ ⠀ Read all about the friends I made alongside this castle adventure in this week’s #goodnews e-newsletter! Sign up via the link in my bio!⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #medieval #castle #czechia #fortress #somegoodnews #sgn #travel #gltlove #womenwhotravel #womentravel #solotrip #throwback #stayhome #staysafe #prague #daytrip
Along the way, I had started chatting with some of the students on the trip and we ended up eating lunch together. The two girls were from Italy and I instantly started peppering them with questions about what to see and do in the country. They were curious about American life, and I did my best to answer them back.
After lunch, we were off on our own this time to check off Brno’s remaining sites. This is where the trip took a turn into a real adventure. Soon, the students and I who had only just met, were running all over town having the best time. We grabbed dinner at the open-air market, took that photo at the Church of St. Thomas, said a big hell no to the Capuchin Crypt, and raced to Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul to visit before it closed at sundown.
We must’ve looked pretty crazy, racing up the steps to the top of the tower, running back and forth between the view spots. But what an incredible sight. Brno at sunset. I’ll never forget.
Moments later, we were back with our group at the train station, waiting to make the 3-hour journey back to Prague. Instead of sitting alone this time, I found myself with an ever-growing group. The 3 hours went by quickly as we discussed our semester plans and what we wanted to do when we graduated. When the train arrived, we all decided the conversation had to continue, and decided to see if there was a pub open that could accommodate us all.
We wandered through Prague’s lively streets until we stumbled upon what I’m pretty sure is the Bernard Pub. There are a few locations, but from what I recall, we went to the one in Prague 3. It’s hard to remember because it was late and we were so not focused on the specifics. We just wanted a table.
But there we were. All crowded together with students from Sweden, Italy, France, the Netherlands and the U.S. In total, I think there were seven of us there.
Our server got a kick out of our little international hub, and his jokes left us rolling. He’d balance a drink on his head or quip a funny remark. I thought my sides would split.
We all stayed at the pub until the a.m., just talking about life in Prague. It struck me halfway through the night that this is what I had hoped for when I signed up to study abroad; forming international friendships over shared experiences. I didn’t want the night to end.
Luckily for me, the meetups continued. A week later, the International Club hosted a potluck, where a bunch of us reconvened.
We ended up hanging out quite a few times over the course of the semester, usually over dinner and drinks. I formed lifelong friendships with people I still keep in touch with.
If I’m ever back in Italy (hopefully someday soon), I have an open invitation from the friends I made that Saturday.
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