Finishing Off Strong in Prague

The penultimate day of our time in the Czech Republic started off slow and relaxed, as we didn’t have anything scheduled until 4:00, which was when our final activities in the city would be experienced: a theater performance and a farewell dinner on a boat sailing across the beautiful Vltava River at sunset.

Not content with just spending our morning and afternoon holed up in our hotel room, Jack, Matt, Carolina and I all went out to Wenceslas Square for one last souvenir shopping hurrah. In addition to buying the usual gifts for our family, friends, and significant others, we all decided to chip in together and buy some souvenirs for Zuzka – who truly helped us to have a wonderful and memorable experience in the Czech Republic – and for Professor Andes (Professor Slavishak was excluded from this final souvenir shopping hurrah on account of us already having had bought him a tacky captain’s hat while in Czesky Krumlov).

We then decided to have lunch one last time at our favorite riverside restaurant in Prague, the beautifully scenic Strelecky Ostrov – which serves the best beef fillet I’ve ever tasted (this being on account of the fact that I had never had this meal before eating it at the restaurant).

At 4:15, we met up to head out to the theater performance, which turned out to be a modern interpretation of a Vaclav Havel play, Audience, which we worked with earlier during our trip in the Czech Republic. The performance was phenomenal – incredibly comedic, surreal, deep, and evocative. The two main actresses were incredible, as they physically acted out key scenes while wearing giant cast heads – thus leaving much of the story and acting up to their physical movements, which were timed in a comedically perfect manner. The performance was also amazingly unpredictable; one moment the characters would be drinking bottle after bottle of beer, the next they would be dancing to Country Roads, and then they would be silently contemplating their hallowed existence. It was fantastic, every second of it.

From there, we made our way to the riverside, where we boarded the boat for our farewell dinner – which was, surprisingly, reserved solely for us. During the dinner, several members of the group presented Zuzka with all of our collective gifts to her, as we thanked her for being such an amazing host and guide for us. Some tears and feels were had. She thanked us for being such wonderful guests, reminding us that when she comes to America next Spring that she’ll be a guest in our country and that hopefully we’ll be there to be her guides. We assured her that we wouldn’t forget her, and that she was a big part of what made this trip so unbelievably memorable for us.

And truly, this trip has been an unforgettable experience. From the wacky antics of circus day, where we all learned how to do that which we may have once thought was impossible, to seeing firsthand the scenic beauty of the Czech urban centers and countrysides, and to the wonderful interactions we had with the Czech population, we’ve all experienced something that shall forever bind us as a group. While we all may have had our own individual experiences on this trip, we all experienced the true cultural beauty of the Czech Republic in our own special way. We may process the experiences uniquely amongst ourselves, but it is in those personal considerations of the journey one has had that one learns and grows. Isn’t that life in a nutshell after all?

We will all carry with us the lessons and experiences that we had here in the Czech Republic for the rest of our lives, and that is something that can never be taken away.

And you know what I think? I think that’s pretty damn incredible.

Ian Rush

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