Used currently without permission (but will gain permission shortly):
(Michelle with her cousin Rachel)
Later that day, we took a trip to the largest mall in Brno, not too far from their house, which looks just like any mall in America. They have this awesome playground, too, with a cute little train that goes all around the park area. This playground had so many things that would be a lawsuit waiting to happen in the U.S. A fun game to play (in Czech, in Denmark, really anywhere) is “How many of the things around me would be cause for a lawsuit in the U.S.?” For example, they have this sort of pyramid of bars that you can climb on (kind of like a “mesh” pyramid) that is maybe two stories high. If a kid fell, they could easily seriously hurt themselves. The train, though it moves slow, was just a bench that you straddle with nothing keeping you in on either side. I would’ve loved to have something as awesome as that playground as a kid.
The next day, Michelle took me into Brno. It was a very quick and cheap train ride from their town into the city. Brno isn’t too interesting in terms of architecture or attractions, but I think it is a more authentic picture of Czech life than Prague was. Though the most authentic experience was definitely being at their house, since everyone around is Czech, and pretty much the only things in the town are a church, a soccer field, and a pub. In Brno, we saw the Cathedral, the main square, and walked around and went in some really cute shops. We stopped to get a latte macchiato and apple strudel (for less than $3) and also went to an awesome Indian buffet that was only $5.
Brno was interesting – everyone walked around expressionless. I am sort of used to this because it is pretty similar in Denmark, but it felt fundamentally different. I may have been a little tainted since Michelle had already mentioned that many Czechs are unhappy, but you could almost feel it. Walking around in Denmark, you wouldn’t think it’s the “happiest country in the world” from looking at the people (blank faces + all black clothes = happiness? yeah okay…), but after going to Czech, I definitely think the mood is different here than it is in Czech. Czech is very beautiful (Moravia is a gorgeous area), but something about it definitely felt a little depressing – something I don’t feel in Denmark, even on the dark and rainy days. Prague didn’t have this as much, but I was mostly around tourists.