first Week in Ostrava, Czech Republic is over, and it has been very
tiring. My preconceptions have been challenged and my ability to
adapt has been tested but it's going well!
my travels in the UK, I took off from London Gatwick on Sunday evening
and I arrived in Prague an hour and a half later. After staying
overnight in Prague I then faced a six-hour train journey to Ostrava!
On a positive note, it was chance to see the countryside of the
travel guides I read before I arrived in Ostrava described the area
as dirty, industrial, polluted and scarred by mining! Although the
picture I formed in my mind of smoking chimneys, factories, deserted
mines and black smoke everywhere was quite quickly dispelled when
I arrived, evidence of the industrial past of the city could be
seen outside of the city centre.
- beer and tea!
AIESECers here have been really understanding and helpful. After
moving into the hotel where I am living, they took me to meet some
other people living and working here and of course the other AIESECers.
also arranged a welcome party for me on the world famous Stodolni
Street - much beer and Czech karaoke! Stodolni Street is in the
Guiness Book of World Records for the highest concentration of bars
and clubs on one street (there are around 45) and every different
taste is catered for!
discovered that the Czech people consider it their right to drink
beer and I have been trying the local specialties, not being a beer
drinker at home this has been an education! You can't escape it
here and I'm actually getting used to it! For a more relaxed evening,
it is popular to go to the Cajovna (tea house) where there a large
selection of tea is available.
pool in Europe
attraction in Ostrava is the outdoor swimming pool - Vrestina. It's
the biggest pool in central Europe, it's more like a man-made lake!
Since the weather had finally picked up at the end of the week we
decided to spend Saturday at the pool, this turned out to be an
excellent choice as it was the hottest day so far.
Anselm mining museum
to continue my sightseeing on Sunday too and a group of us visited
a mining museum (Dul Anselm) which is a World Heritage Site.
the mining museum
all mining in Ostrava ceased in 1994, it is still very much a part
of the city and some mining still continues in neighbouring towns
such as Karvina.
museum was interesting, the only difficulty being that it was mainly
in Czech but one of the trainees, Alena, translated for us. It was
an opportunity to go into the mines and see what the conditions
for miner as well as gain a greater understanding of one of the
industries Ostrava is known for.
things here are very similar to the UK but others are very different,
for example it is normal for business people to start work at 7am
and finish at 4pm as opposed to the usual 9-5 we are used to!
language has proved to be a real barrier in day-to-day life but
people have been very patient with me and my mixed attempts at Czech,
sign language and English explanations!
find it strange that people do not smile casually in the street
and I have had some funny looks, but that is not to say the people
are cold or rude, the opposite in fact, in general people are very
polite always offering to help and giving up their seats on public
the AIESEC office
time here has proved to be a real challenge at times but I am getting
used to life in Ostrava and learning new things about the people,
city and culture every day.
my independence and relying on other people more than I am used
to can sometimes be frustrating but each day it's easier and I can
do more for myself and I have found it is a case of taking things
into my own hands and just having a go!
by Jess Rudkin