… and it is an exciting one!!!
I have had four major cities in which I want to run a half marathon. Two have already been crossed off my list: New York City and Vancouver. You can read about my race experiences in those cities here and here. Both were cities I had never been to before and both proved well worth the visit.
This summer I managed to get to a city that wasn’t on my list, but that I also thoroughly enjoyed and that was Philadelphia. Click here for details about that race. I have also run in Toronto and Hamilton, but I admit I don’t count either as real “trips away”. I grew up outside of Toronto, so it is a city I am fairly familiar with. As for Hamilton, well it is Hamilton… no offence to Hamiltonians and really, I did love my race experience there.
So the two cities left on my list at this moment (and trust me, I could easily expand the list in seconds), are actually 2 cities I have been to before, albeit a long time ago. One is London, England and the other is Prague in the Czech Republic. Today’s race registration was for… Prague!!! In March of 2015, if all goes to plan, I will be running the streets of one of Europe’s most gorgeous cities.
Prague is a city near and dear to my heart. For about 5 months it was my home when I taught high school English right off Wenceslas Square in the heart of the city. I spent more hours than I can count wandering its cobbled and paved streets enjoying the beauty of a city left relatively undamaged by war. Of course years of communism had made its mark, but by the time I went there to teach it was a country entering the western world. I had actually first visited the city two year before while backpacking through Europe. In those two years between visits it was remarkable to see how many changes had occurred since the fall of communism, I can only imagine the changes in the last two decades. If you want to know exactly how long it has been since I have been to Prague, let’s just say that it was still part of Czechoslovakia when I arrived there to teach!
It has been a dream of mine to return to Prague with my family, to have them see the city I chose to live in for a short period of my life. I won’t pretend living there was perfect. There were many times I was lonely and missing home. I never did learn to speak the language well, but I do remember times when I realized that some simple thoughts would come to me in Czech before English. I certainly wasn’t saving money. At that point I think I was being paid the equivalent of a couple of dollars a day. At the end of my stay the rules were you could not leave the country with Czech currency, so what little I saved was spent or given away. But it was all such an adventure and to this day I still have dreams that take place in the old parts of the city. I can’t wait to return.
I’ll finish this with a couple of pictures of what I consider to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe: