Exploring is something I do by nature. Even as a child I couldn’t sit still for long and would often wander from my parents, needing to take in my surroundings. Today, I live a nomadic life. Never settling in one city for long, feeling the ever growing need to fully experience this amazing world and what it has to offer. The more I travel, the more insatiable this desire becomes and one of the things I love most about travelling is experiencing other ways of life. What is completey normal to them can seem utterly weird to us, and vice versa of course. My childish enthusiasm is satisfied everywhere I go and I am in a constant state of awe. This is even more so when you travel out of the city centre into smaller towns, as I did during my visit to Czech Republic.
Major cities attempt to accommodate both the people that live in and visit it, and global chain stores are on almost every corner. If you want a true taste of how the people of a particular country live, their food, their living habits, and everything in between, then travel further than the major cities. You will be surprised at the beauty you will find. One such beauty I discovered was Karlovy Vary, situated in Western Bohemia, Czech Republic. This beautiful town is reminisce of Monacco and other mediterranean towns, with its colourful buildings and surrounding mountains. Karlovy Vary has a lot to offer its visitors, known most famously as Czech’s Spa Town.
One of the reasons why it takes claim of this title is due to the number of hot springs situated below the town. There are 12 public accessible mineral springs for drinking, containing countless amounts of natural minerals, all varying in temperature. The 13th spring is the Becherovka (Czech Republic’s national drink) distillery. A trip to Karlovy Vary is worth a good couple of days, especially as there are many hiking trails, sporting activities, spa activities and observation towers to capture the perfect shot of the forest covered valley. I was lucky enough to visit during the International Film Festival (July 4) and the town was bustling with enthusiastic movie goers. Plan your trip around this festival and who knows you might even see a very famous and familiar face. In this case it was Mel Gibson.
Even though I discovered a beautiful town that I instantly fell in love with I would be lying if I said travelling wasn’t a struggle. At times I hate it and miss the creature comforts of home, especially when there is a language barrier. I cannot express the confusion and frustration I have had trying to find a bathroom, trying to figure out how to flush said toilet or even lock the door to the cubicle (if I am lucky enough to have a lock), buy a train ticket in a non-English speaking country and find Vegetarian food and Soy Milk. These last two are the hardest, especially in countries that have no words you can link to the English language. In this case I thank God that Starbucks exists because no matter where you are in the world they will always have soy milk and staff that speak English. But travel out of the city centre and the Starbucks and English Menus disappear. This will be a struggle if you have dietary requirements. I suggest learning the key words you need in the language. For instance I learn “no meat” and “soy milk”. Besides sometimes it is acceptable to just eat fries, you’re on holidays after all.