THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF CZECH
The Czech Republic is a wonderfully odd place. Being, as it was, both an ancient kingdom and a part of the Soviet Union, each town is a mish-mash of medieval splendour and depressing concrete apartment blocks. Streets are riddled with abandoned objects, a pram filled with bricks, a half-finished construction site. Roads, too, follow no good sense, and sometimes ended in a large barrier, or coincided with the tracks of a tram-line.
The Czech Republic is decidedly awesome in all its peculiarity - the people too. Don't get me wrong, they are lovely people, and human, just like you or me. But there is a certain charm there, a je ne sais quois. Maybe it was the way they dress? On one particularly broiling day under the Czech sun, we spotted five shirtless pot-bellied men, and one man wearing a shirt but no pants.
Whatever the source of its charm, the Czech Republic warmed my heart.
OTHER WEIRD WONDERS WE ENCOUNTERED
The many army supply stores, where one can freely buy ninja stars, batons, and brass knuckles. Naturally, these places were swarming with children.
The bank notes, each picture portraying what appears to be a wizard.
Two brothers wearing Borat-style swimsuits, smoking while paddling down the river Vltava.
Pickled everything: pickled sausages, pickled beets, pickled fish, pickled pork rinds.
The many nuclear power plants.
The never-ending construction zones, most of which have no signage, traffic cones, or warnings.
The superb and extensive selections of beer in every supermarket, often with two whole aisles given over to the stuff.
That one time we emerged from a backroad to find our way blocked by a tonne of concrete. I considered driving around it and into the large ditch on the side, but then reconsidered and turned back the way we had come.
That other time I found myself driving on an ever-narrowing road, till, without warning, I was stuck between the pavement and a large fence. And again, I sighed, and turned back the way we had come.
Some parting words... They say it best, in their place.