I have had such an excellent time learning and exploring in Prague with my fellow classmates. It is bittersweet knowing we are already coming to the end of our program. Prague is so beautiful, the food is amazing, and it’s incredibly easy to get around with public transportation. It’s crazy to think that in just a short amount of time I have been able to navigate the city without worry. The area we are staying in is very busy and filled with many tourists, which has been interesting to experience after two years of isolation.
During our last couple of days in Czechia, we took a trip to the region of Moravia to visit a few wineries in a village outside of Brno. Vineyards are a large part of the culture in the Czech countryside of Moravia. Most of the vineyards are owned and run by families now, but for four decades they were taken over by the Soviets and nationalized. During the last winery we visited, owned by the Springer family, I had the opportunity to ask about the history of their family’s vineyards. The Springers have been in the wine business long before Soviet occupation, but when communism took over the Czech Republic (at that time Czechoslovakia), they were forced to give up their vineyards and work in a bakery nearby. Once the Soviets fell, the Springers got their land back, but it took quite a few years to get things back to how they were. I admire the dedication the Springer family has towards keeping their family’s traditions intact. Following the introduction to the western world and open markets in the post-communist era, many family-owned vineyards have incorporated a variety of vines and now produce a large selection of red and white wines.
We spent most of the day touring the wineries and trying their large selection of wines. Moravia was a nice, quiet, change of pace from our typical city experiences in Prague. We spent the night in Brno and set off in small groups to explore the town and, of course, its food offerings. Something I have found to be a big difference in Czech culture is their norms of service. Most servers I have met have been very blunt with quirky personalities. It’s very different from the overly friendly, ‘customer is always right’ service that is the norm in America. Yet, I appreciate this difference and, personally, think the Czech service culture is a bit more realistic. Overall, the experiences I have had in Czechia will stay with me as I continue to move through life and my education. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from other cultures and recognize similarities and differences. We are on the train back to Prague, marking the program’s second to last night. Tomorrow we will meet for our reflection dinner to close out the program. Prague has taught me so much about the importance of remembering history so as to not take anything for granted. Czechia is rich in history, from the architecture, to the food, to their cultural practices regarding wine making and beer brewing. This experience has been greater than I could have ever expected. Stay tuned for my post-departure video coming soon!
Ahoj for now.