[This is one half of a pair of posts about my travels in June 2017. The second one cane be found here.]
When I was a toddler one of my favorite picture books my parents would read to me was one about the town mouse and the country mouse—two sister mice, one of whom preferred to live in the country and one of whom preferred to live in the city. I’ve always thought of myself as more of a city mouse, preferring the fast pace, the crowds, and the hustle and bustle of urbanity. This past month I put that to the test, however, with two biggest trips I took once my finals were over. The first I made with my roommate from home, Sarah, who had been studying theatre in Italy for a couple of weeks in May. She met me in the Czech Republic and we made a ten-day tour of Prague, Vienna, and Tallinn before she headed back to the US. About a week later I embarked on a very different adventure with my friends from Tartu—a road trip through Estonia’s national parks.
Both were certainly unique and interesting experiences. Beginning in the city I felt I was proving myself right every step of the way. I absolutely adored Prague—it is now firmly cemented as my favorite European city I’ve visited. Every single building was beautiful and historic, as if the whole city had been frozen in time. It simultaneously, however, somehow managed to remain authentic. Many European cities (Vienna being a perfect example) feel like you’re walking through Cinderella’s castle at Disney land: incredibly beautiful, but ultimately made to be visited, not to live in. In Prague the history of the city was very clear—from the 1300’s to the 1990’s, each decade had left a unique mark. The art deco styling that decorated the buildings contrasted to the medieval artifacts and modern theaters. Besides Estonia, Prague was most certainly the place I will most want to come back to. This trip made me sure I was correct about my proclivity for city living, and consequently made me quite nervous for my trip to the national parks.