When a person travels the world, journeys to distant lands, makes a home on foreign shores, they change. They become a part of a new culture. It is not the culture of their homeland, or the culture of their makeshift moment home. It is something separate and distinct, uniquely individual.
I have been blessed to share in the mixing of worlds, and have walked these roads with a plethora of beautiful people. A couple nights ago I had the pleasure of chatting with one of the ladies I traversed with on my first trip to the Czech Republic. She makes her home in the icy north lands of Canada, but for an hour or so, we transported one another back to a time when a trip to Austria, where we laughed our way through a Sound of Music tour, was a matter of an afternoon's train ride, and where entertainment could readily be found in something as simple as a trip to the grocery store.
The call came at a time when I was already thinking about this post, and brought the time I lived in Cheb, Czech Republic vividly. So this post goes out to my first year ladies: Nicole, Naomi, Crystal, and Tammy. My second year additions: Laura and Roshani. And my third year team member: Karina. To those of you who still harbor a warmth in your hearts for this beautiful, crazy, amazing town, this one is for you.
There is nothing like wandering around ancient cobblestone streets. I have countless touristy photos of Cheb, but when I visit now I try to capture the smaller details, as well as angles I haven't shared before. That being said, I still have to throw in a classic Bartholmeus Cappuccino shot ;)
Those first three were from my first visit back when I got to hang out with the ever popular socialite, Tammy. She was in the midst of saying goodbyes as she prepared to venture back to US soil, and I was thankful she could squeeze me in for an afternoon.
My second trip I had a meeting set up with one of my former students. Due to train schedules, I had to get to town a couple hours early, so I took advantage of the sunny day and ran around, snapping shots of my favorite places.
I don't think anyone can deny that living in a town with a castle is cool. When I first learned that the wall beneath the castle was a legal graffiti wall, I found it odd. It seemed disrespectful to allow vandalism in such close proximity to an ancient piece of art. Then I realized just how genius the idea was. Not only is it an ever changing work of modern art, it also makes it far less likely that anyone will do damage to the castle. It's a glorious juxtaposition of old and new that I positively adore.
The square is another place that is magical to me. Here are a few bits and pieces from that area.
Yeah, I had a little too much fun, per usual. Whoever knew I'd turn out to be such a poser ;)
I love me a good cathedral, and Sv. Mikolas is a real stunner.
Here are a few more of the castle...just because...
And now, for those who haven't been in Cheb for a while, there has been a crazy new development on the far side of the river. I only rushed through it quickly, but I was very impressed.
I rushed back up near the train station to meet my friend, just barely having a chance to catch a photo in the monastery garden.
My last visit to Cheb was just in passing on my way to and from Frantiskovy Lazne. During my first "layover," it was pouring down rain, so I went crazy shopping in Rossman, randomly buying a bunch of makeup. I'd just gotten a fancy new haircut, not to mention the fun clothes from my mom-in-law shopping trip, and was feeling the need to be more girly. On the way back, it was late, and in order to avoid spending too much time at the ultra dodgy train station, I spent time in the square, where I felt more comfortable.
Ah, Chebicek, it was lovely to see you again, and fun to share you with those who know you well, and those who are seeing you for the first time. I hope these pictures can help inspire you all in one way or another. Until next time...