české budějovice isn’t what i consider HOME home, but it certainly is my home for now and it’s important to think about and remember why i chose to live here and what makes it great. i’ve thought of plenty reasons, but here’s my ten favorite things about good ol’ CB.
1. i LOVE my flat
i could easily spend days holed up here in this haven of english speaking, great cooking, and ornate early twentieth century architectural detail, but force myself to get out once and awhile. we really got lucky! the flat next door is vacant as it’s being remodeled, so we don’t have to worry about being too quiet or someone hearing your every word, which is good. (below, spending much of last saturday in the living room)
2. i can walk everywhere, including to most of my lessons!
there is almost nowhere i go during the week that i couldn’t walk to (if i gave myself plenty of extra time, of course). we’re not left wanting a car and if we bus, the public transport here is cheap and efficient. (below, walking home one magical autumn afternoon)
3. the BEAUTIFUL city center
CB has the only “square square” in the czech republic– that is, most squares here are actually rectangular or sometimes even triangular (brno, i’m looking at you). i’ve been to many grand squares before (krakow and brussels being favorites) but this square definitely ranks up there. every time i walk through it i can’t help but feel super lucky. my language school has a location here so i get to teach right on the square a couple times a week! not bad.
4. the friendliness of our landlords, neighbors, and friends
our landlords are the friendliest, honestly. they bring us cookies and cake, take us on international trips, and have tea with us. they welcomed us strange americans into their house and are always there when we need them. they made us feel so welcome here! (below, on christmas eve. hint: one of these people is my mother)
5. a lunch at a typical (czech) restaurant costs only about 90kc ($4.50) for soup and a main course!
although lunch at the sushi joint costs more, most restaurants keep their prices super affordable for the biggest meal of the day: lunch. czechs tend to eat a large lunch and then a small dinner later, so taking advantage of the daily menus at restaurants is a huge perk! along the same lines, a beer is usually about $1.25, coffee drinks typically about $2. i don’t drink nearly enough beer to warrant this, and we make most of our coffee at home, but it’s great to go out once and awhile, totally guilt-free!
6. there are so many great day trips and cool natural areas to explore nearby
a thirty minute bus ride north takes you to a famous chateau. go south about thirty minutes and you’ll stumble upon some castle ruins or the UNESCO heritage town of česky krumlov. go an hour west, there is the sumava national park and thirty minutes east? trebon and several fish ponds(man-made lakes)– great for bird watching and taking long walks.
7. czechs take FULL advantage of their time off– and inspiration to us all! on the weekends the city seems so empty because everyone takes off to their cabin, or their friends’ cabin, or their family’s cabin. to get out and enjoy the surroundings and the great weather is the priority. thinking about work or what they have to do tomorrow is not. something i can definitely get behind!
8. you’re bound to run into a friendly face anywhere you go in town
although this city has a population of just under 100,000, it seems like much less because of the frequency which you see familiar faces. i’m always running into people i know in the center or even on the street that i live on. seeing friendly faces around really helps a place feel more like home.
9. the czechs love street parties with wine (vino), beer (pivo), or mojito (universal)!
10. the climate here is excellent– warm summers and cold winters. in the pacific northwest, the climate is mild and coastal, so it’s been fun to experience months of snow and temps in the nineties (33-35 C). i can honestly say i’ve never been in such cold or hot weather for so long in my life. and have never seen a frozen lake before, either.