Thanks to the on-arrival, we now feel adopted by Česká Republika! We can dance Polka, drink beer as much as Czechs can do (158 liters per year!), sing as Jaromir Nohavica, and from now on Czech language has no secrets for us (just kidding, of course).

What did surprise you?

COLINE: I was amazed by Prague’s capacity to evolve so quickly, whilst keeping the same atmosphere. I was only away for three years, but every day I notice how much the city’s landscape has already changed. Yet, I still oddly feel at home. Even if Prague may be about to become the new Berlin (take a walk around Krymska, you will see why people say it is known as the hipster area), it is still a Czech city. Prague stays the city of culture (concerts, operas, …), architecture (art nouveau, cubism, …) where it will always be possible to drink a nice beer in a good old hospoda.

CRISTIAN: The atmosphere in Toulcův Dvůr. The building perfectly preserves its old fashion allure and it`s surrounded by luxuriant vegetation, while my YEE colleagues as well as members of other organisations are extremely nice, helpful and friendly. I would say that Toulcův Dvůr as a whole can literally be defined a little slice of heaven far from the noise and the chaos of the city.

I first became aware of this phenomena during my study years when my brother did a presentation about it for one of his study subjects. Later, when I became more passionate about stargazing, I noticed during my night walks how lights from Austria drew a silhouette of the mountains. My interest in this phenomena rose profoundly in the last year thanks to a street light not far from my window.  

The phenomena responsible for all these memories is called Light pollution. Light pollution occurs when we use too many lights or when we use them in a inappropriate way. Light ends up where it’s not meant to be, causing energy loss, starless nights, behavioural changes, sleepless nights...

When living in a small apartment pets are rarely an option - unless they’re small and not too furry. My brother and I managed to persuade our parents to get us turtles. The euphoria of having a pet was gone pretty soon. In the end one died and the other (our humble contribution to biodiversity loss) was released into a pond.

So, why am I talking about pets? Well, as it happens one member of YEE office is of a furry persuasion. I still remember when I had my EVS interview. One of the questions was whether I would mind to share the office with a cat. I said that I don’t mind at all, but then it’s not like I knew what it’s like living with a cat. A turtle is not a cat.

In the northern part of the Czech Republic, bordering Poland, lies a magical place. It is not only the place where a rather charismatic old fellow with a grayish long beard, a long wooden stick, a dark cloak and a big hat (no, it’s not Gandalf...sadly) makes (not so appealingly looking) wafers, but also a hotspot for hiking and winter tourism. The magic goes by the name Krkonoše or, in English, Giant mountains.

 
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