Starting in 2023 non-EU citizens will have to apply for an ETIAS (European Travel Information Authorization System) visa waiver to come to most European countries. The purpose is to help thwart terrorism and illegal immigration. It will become more difficult for American vagabonds to overstay. The U.S. runs a similar system for many foreign visitors.
Jaywalking is the approved way to cross the street, but preferably where there are lines painted on the streets. Every building has a walkway through it. This certainly keeps foot traffic off the street and is more pleasant for the pedestrians.
Public drinking is allowed. We understand that the nightlife is very lively. Fashion is definitely the Bohemian look!! Makes sense. When in Bohemia, dress as the Bohemians do.
Our guide said that Czech people don’t smile and are never satisfied. He said if you give someone a million dollars, they would complain that it wasn’t two million.
In 1951 all churches were closed and religious workers “fired”. They are the fourth most atheistic country in the world. China, Japan, Sweden, Czech Republic, England. The most religious country in Europe is Poland … so he said that you can’t blame communism. It certainly didn’t help.
So putting all those facts together, my take on it is this: If you don’t have the joy of knowing Jesus in your heart and you don’t believe in God, you are likely to be depressed, unhappy and drink a lot to fill that void. To quote Rob Evans, The Donut Man, “Life without Jesus is like a donut. There’s a hole in the middle of your heart.” People everywhere, not just in the Czech Republic, try to fill that hole with things that the world has to offer…but nothing satisfies. Jesus is all that is needed to fill that void.
Czech Republic is 95% dependent on Russian gas. Twenty-three years ago, the Czech Republic entered NATO. “Thank God,” said our guide. He must NOT be an atheist!!
Before we leave this country, here is a fun Czech Tongue Twister. The translation is: 333 silver birds flew over 333 silver roofs.
Budapest – Queen of the Danube
We caught the train to Budapest. Prior to that, we bought items to eat for lunch. We are constantly searching for peanut butter and finally found some!!! It’s not Jif, Skippy or even Peter Pan but we were thankful to find this American staple.
There was construction on the train track so we unloaded and took buses around the construction and then got back on the train.
While we were waiting for the next train, there was a young man playing party tunes on his portable speaker for his friends. All the music was American. They can’t speak English but they can sing along to “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire. I danced with them a bit. They were on their way to a bachelor party.
Another American was able to speak with the young men. They confessed that they had tried peanut butter and didn’t like it. “It’s not sweet enough.” I guess no one has told them to eat it with jelly. They might be comparing it to Nutella.
Once we arrived at our hotel, we drew back the curtains and had a wonderful view. Rob has a special status with IHG hotels so we get lots of upgrades including free breakfasts.
For dinner, we ate at an outdoor restaurant along the Danube river at sunset. It was beautiful. They was a small ensemble of a violin, viola, bass and clarinet. They were excellent and I would clap after every song so they came over to our table for special music … and a tip. The violinist’s fingers would fly!!
He asked me what song I would like them to play. The only thing that I could think of was “Play That Funky Music, White Boy.” It was like my mind went blank. I told him to play HIS favorite song. Rob would have liked to hear them play my selection!! It surely would have been a first.
We rode on the giant Ferris wheel. It was fun until I noticed about ten good-sized spiders in the corners of our ENCLOSED car. It is hard to relax when there are so many living things riding long with you.