Tenerife from the air
Tenerife

The Island of Dreams and Fulfilled Wishes

(The following series of Tenerife posts were written during our November 2021 stay there. It was an endeavor during which I could take nothing for granted – especially my mental health.) ~~~ The air here really smells the same as before. We are again on the Canary Islands, in the land of eternal spring. And it looks as if nothing has changed. The sea is humming, the sun is shining, everything is interesting and new and inspiring… Even though originally it was only a dream. Last winter was so awful that I decided that I would never again endure it. Winter depression and anxiety left me rolled up into a ball, screaming with inner pain. Every minute was un-survivable. I decided then that it was the last winter I would spend in Czechia. At that time I believed that it was only wishful thinking. Something I wish for but cannot have because of my mental health. It all looked like a crazy plan. I spent the summer fighting with my demons, so they allowed me to spend at least a few days in our summer house – in an environment which I know a bit even it is fairly new. […]

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A field of colorful tuips
Thoughts

Great pain and little joys

Trigger warning: implied suicidal ideation  When I was around 20 years old, I came across a book called The Artist Way by Julia Cameron. It really spoke to me. But then I got to a chapter that I didn’t understand. She wrote how little joys help to overcome bad life situations. She illustrated this by an example – how her grandma loved tending to her garden, whatever came.  My thinking was very black and white then. I thought “How can I feel joy when I feel bad? If I feel good, I feel GOOD, and if I feel bad, I feel BAD. That’s it.” I had severe mental health problems and I often felt bad, capital letters BAD.  More than ten years later, I can say that I not only started to understand the message of a grandma finding little joys in her garden – I also became a student of little joys, and they helped me and continue to help me through terribly difficult times.  Now I finally understand that feelings are complicated, we feel feelings in “layers” and we can feel more things at once. My little joys became an anchor, a lifeline that connected me to life […]

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A woman dancing happily with ribbons on the beach
Thoughts

Feeling joy when terrible things are happening

Trigger warning: mental anorexia There is a Czech blogger that writes about raising children, living a good life in harmony with yourself, and also a bit about spirituality. She lost her husband some time ago, but she managed to find great personal growth from this tragedy, so her posts have a very strong message. This blogger travels with her children a lot. She is basically worldschooling them, and from everything she writes about them, I believe her to be a great mum. Lately, she got a message that she shared with us. It went basically like this: “Confess that you are currently abroad! How dare you travel when there is a war going on?” This stunned me. Since when is traveling something bad to which you have to “confess”? Some Czech people are really masters in judging and envying, often masked as a virtue. Of course, we should help as much as we can, but I enthusiastically disagree that we shouldn’t feel joy and do joyful activities when something bad is going on in the world. If you don’t recharge your inner resources, from where do you expect to find the strength to help others? If you make yourself miserable […]

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Austria

Viennese Wandering

It is a beautiful March day. The last day in Vienna. The sun is bright and outside it is about 20°C. So quickly, let’s get out into the streets to collect my last experiences, see everything I haven’t seen so far, I must hurriedly visit all the monuments so I can feel like a proper tourist… Or not? It is a beautiful day. The dandelions are blooming. Why am I in a hurry? Previously, when we set off to the town by the tram, we always crossed the river. I watched people lying on the banks and was a bit envious of their doing nothing sitting by the water enjoying the view… And so today that’s my destination. Instead of palaces, I will visit – the river bank. Slowly I weave my way through the suburb where we are accommodated. All the houses here have an interesting design, they are organized into original premises. I would love to live in many of them. At least for a little bit. I am admiring curiosities like the newspaper vending machines, attached to posts. You throw in a coin and get a portion of a daily read. (That would not last long in […]

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Austria

Gastronomic Adventures in Vienna

To find at short notice in the centre of Vienna a restaurant which would offer at least one nice vegetarian meal, is not as easy as it would look. It’s Friday afternoon and we are circling through the Vienna streets in a vain effort to discover such a miraculous place. In the end our effort succeeded. The menu hanging by the door of restaurant Bastel Beisl promises that even non-meat eaters can eat here. So we ducked into the cellar area. At that moment we didn’t know what our dinner experience will be. The waiter brought us our menu. He is not very friendly. He would be more suited to the role of a sergeant on a parade ground than that of a waiter. He looked down at us grumpily as if he was silently asking: What are you aliens doing in MY restaurant? We study the meal offer, half expecting that the sergeant, excuse me, the waiter orders us to: “About face! Forward march!” Surprise, surprise – the only vegetarian meal they advertised so proudly outside on the board is not available. Doesn’t matter, croquets with poppy seed from the desert menu are also good. Having ordered tea we […]

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a house with a very colorful facade
Austria

Colorful dream of a mad architect

We went to Vienna to visit a friend, and also to have a look at monuments and local tourist attractions. Mainly I wanted to see ‘the colorful house, which plays music when it is raining’. I have seen many pictures on the internet and I was looking forward to it very much. How surprised was I when we got to our longed-for goal and I found out that this is not the colorful house which plays music when it is raining. It was a completely different colorful house. The house I wanted to see is in Dresden. We were standing in Vienna looking at a psychedelic creation of an eccentric architect Friedrich Hundertwasser. It doesn’t play music when it is raining but it flaunts a colorful façade in slightly flaking shades of yellow, blue, red, and white. It didn’t matter. I am used to my chaotic ways and this house was as interesting as the personality of its creator. A house where the floors roll The Viennese colorful house, Hundertwasserhaus is said to be originally social housing for the poor. Today it is a lucrative address – if you don’t mind the crowds of tourists constantly pouring under your windows. […]

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Český Krumlov seen from the castle
Czech Republic

Český Krumlov – a Ghost Town

Good travel stories usually start with a mishap, from which point of view I fail you. This time wedidn’t forget anything, we didn’t miss any transport, all five days were sunny with the exception ofone short thunderstorm, the accommodation was absolutely fabulous and the streets of ČeskýKrumlov were nearly our own. What else can one wish for? Maybe for a little more time. Český Krumlov is a beautiful town. While visiting though, I felt on occasions that I was in a ghosttown. The ground floor of every house was a shop with clothes or souvenirs, or alternatively arestaurant. The part above of nearly every building is a guest house. This isn’t a town organized forordinary life. The crowds of tourists streaming through its arteries are its blood. Without themKrumlov seems abandoned. I asked Ben, how many people he thought lived here, truly lived here.He answered: “Fifty to a hundred.” Český Krumlov is not a place for living but, it seems to me, a beautiful theatre stage prepared for aperformance about to start. I liked it this way rather than having to push through crowds. The historical centre of Český Krumlov spreads within two loops of the river Vltava. In Latrán, […]

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me standing at an almost empty Charles Bridge
Czech Republic

Being a Tourist in Empty Prague

Last summer, when the spring lockdown temporarily lifted, we engaged in a bit of an ‘empty Prague tourism.’ It’s surprising how little I get to see the city’s historical parts — I mostly avoid them because they are full of tourists. Prague is wonderful (so I understand that people want to see it), and the distinctive landmarks like Charles Bridge or Old Town Square are usually packed. And so that’s where we decided to go. We started our stroll at the beautiful Kampa island. With its maze of tiny streets and an old watermill, it’s one of my favorite places in Prague. We didn’t go as far as the famous Lennon wall, but we enjoyed the poetry booth on the edge of the park instead. This invention is one of the indigenous ideas of Ondrej Kobza, who is also behind the Prague street piano initiative and is always looking for ways to make the city more interesting. Needless to say, I am a fan. From Kampa, we headed to the Charles Bridge. I was curious about how many people would be there — after all, we were not the only ones on the empty city sightseeing bandwagon. As it turned […]

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Thoughts

Journey to a country you don’t want to know

I don’t want to talk about mental health, because this is a blog about travel… After all who would enjoy reading someone else’s moaning? I would like this to be a positive space. Space for small experiences. Space for little adventures. I want to talk about mental health because it is a fundamental part of my life. It is a reason why I cannot travel at the moment even if I would love to. It is a reason why I cannot do many other things. I’d like to take some of the stigma off this topic because I constantly meet people who simply don’t understand. And you can do it only by talking about it and talking and talking and talking… Or in my case writing. Psychological problems have accompanied me all my life. Since birth, I have suffered from anxiety even if I didn’t know at that time what anxiety was. Twice I was hospitalized long-term with psychiatric problems before I reached the majority. At the moment my doctor has recommended me for a disability pension. All the while you cannot see this. From the outside, I look normal, if I am not just collapsing. The inside is a […]

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a view of a meandering river from a rock high above
Thoughts

My Country or the World

I have written this post the last spring when traveling abroad was near impossible on my Czech blog. Since then, we didn’t travel through the Czech Republic as much as I would have wanted. We did the almost obligatory “empty Prague sightseeing”, but aside from that, we mostly made trips to nature. That was what our mental health needed. But I’m curious about you – how do you feel about traveling your own country versus going abroad? ~~~ I have to confess that so far I have not had a warm relationship with traveling within Czechia and it has bothered me. I was fully aware of how absurd it is to gush about some monument or place abroad while I find a similar monument at home boring. I wish trips in Czechia created at least a fraction of the enthusiasm traveling abroad did. But you cannot command feelings. While the prospect of traveling abroad fills me with joyful expectations, the sentence ‘we are going on a trip in Czechia’ gets at most an ‘Ok’ reaction. I usually like it but it does not contain that something… Something magical. Maybe it is because I traveled around Czechia during my childhood with […]

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