3 walking classes means that I often end up in places that I never would have thought to go. European Mentality is the class that most often surprises me. My professor is incredible – he is a geologist, writer, philosopher, and in general is knowledgable on just about any topic you broach with him. He has taken us into cafes where he has been told to leave with us and take “those American students to a McCafe because they don’t know how to appreciate a good coffee,” through streets of neighborhoods that I didn’t know existed, and of course, he was the one who (cruelly) made us meet him at the Charles Bridge at 7am.
Last week, he took us to a street art exhibit that even with a map I don’t think I could have found on my own. It was in a completely unmarked building and then up about 6 flights of stairs. The exhibit had all of the works painted directly on the walls. There was also a class of about 8 year olds there which I found to be a poor judgement call on the teacher’s side, but not my place, I guess.
Yesterday, Vaclav took us on the metro to a stop that I am not quite sure where we were. Somewhere in Prague 7. He then took us a walk along the river. At one point, we were walking around the river on a path covered in rocks and leaves and it was pretty slippery and I swear I was suffering from PTSD because I was convinced that I was going to fall and dislocate the other ankle! But I didn’t, in case you were concerned. After hiking up a hill (by far the scariest part for me because the chances of slipping were considerably higher), we walked through this creepy area with discarded trash, tires, rugs, and I swear, some dead bodies. We walked past this little shack and a man came out and started screaming at us in Czech. Somehow I don’t think that he appreciated Vaclav’s sense of adventure as much as we do, especially since it involved walking through his “front lawn.” I believe that the point of the walk was to find real street art, as opposed to the street art painted on the walls of last week’s museum, but a lot of the buildings had been torn down. That being said, it was really neat to see such a different side of the city. A side that doesn’t look like Disney World or have Communist housing units. A side that, quite frankly, looked nothing like Prague. And yet, we were no more than 10 minutes from the center of the city.
Post Script: I apologize for the quality of these photos. You would think that by now I would remember that class with Vaclav means going somewhere unique and adventurous and I would therefore remember to bring my camera. Oops, you figured wrong. Because I forget constantly, so my iPhone has to serve as the next best thing. Sorry!