Before this semester began I signed up for a little trip called ‘Czech Trek‘. It promised three days of hiking, rock climbing, rappelling, and cave experiences in the beautiful Český ráj. Besides hiking, I had never done any of the activities listed so I decided to be brave and take the plunge. This might be the right time to mention that I have a fear of falling and small dark places, which I would be experiencing a lot of.
Right, so our group left Copenhagen on Friday the 17th on a bus for a whopping thirteen hour drive. Surprisingly, it felt shorter than the 8 1/2 hour flight from Dulles to Copenhagen. After the grueling bus ride – by the way, playing Frozen at midnight after spending two hours on a ferry is NOT a good idea – we were greeted by the beautiful Bohemian Paradise and the sprawling castle we would be calling our home.
Sadly, however, we were not lucky enough to stay in the actual castle. We were, instead, placed in the hostel in the courtyard of the castle. At least we got to eat in the castle?
The next days, as promised were filled to the brim with outdoor activities. I will admit that I shed a few tears, gathered a few scrapes, and sort of conquered my fears. I should also mention that the supervisors from DIS were absolutely amazing. I never realized just how important the personalities of those in charge are to trips or activities in general. Also, shoutout to my trekking team for never making me feel like a loser during my minor freak outs!
I had never zip-lined before and the idea of only being supported by ropes and contraptions while gliding between cliffs scared the crap out of me. But by the time we reached the activity – so after small, dark places and climbing up ladders on cliff sides – I was more than ready to strap in and fly from one rock to another. It was such a liberating feeling and I would honestly do it again! The high ropes course, not so much.
All of the activities were guided by two Honzas – I kid you not! We met two more when we went rock climbing – Tom, and Zuzka. They were all so incredibly passionate about their job and so encouraging that you never felt bad if you couldn’t complete an activity. By the time we got to rock climbing I was so exhausted that I made it a mere 5ft up. When I finally got my feet back on solid ground, Zuzka was there to congratulate me and reassure me that I had done a good job. And ya know what? I’m proud of that! I may have not made it as far as I wanted to, but at least I tried.
We spent our final day in Prague which I had never visited before. It was an astounding city with so much history and beauty. We spent most of the day on a walking tour which I highly recommend. It’s an easy way to learn about the city and see it all at the same time. We went from the city center, to Prague Castle, and to the Lennon Wall. We ended up walking so much that afterwards we all just sat in the sun listening to the street performers and watching tourists take photos with selfie sticks.
It was an absolutely amazing experience and I am so glad I decided to step outside of my comfort zone. It was really cool to see Czech outside of its touristy areas and learn more about its natural history as well as Prague’s personal history. I’m not sure if I’ll make it back to the Czech Republic so I am so glad I got to see these two different sides of it.
Shoutout to my Mom who looooves Starbucks!