Brno. Czech Republic https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brno
The social need for inspiration gives you a reason to write, but it cannot always deliver and leaves you wondering why you have arrived in such a place.
I have been waiting impatiently to see what will jump out at me and say, ‘I was waiting for you and I am worth describing, filling me with a desire to share. So I waited and explored some more, and the more I explored, the more any plea for yearning to stay here got sucked from any creative description. Words, however, did not fail me, I just struggled with allowing myself to express them.
I tried distraction by watching a series on Netflix. This kept me in my room for a whole day slouching like a sloth.
My son called, explaining he was presently in San Antonio, walking the popular River Walk. We were there together last year and I remembered us walking the 11kilometres of a pleasant and historic riverside. I had felt healthy, full of beans and eager to have the experience, yet here I was, alone and tucked up in bed watching a Spanish soap opera trying to improve my Spanish. Who was I kidding and should I not have been sightseeing and searching for travel stories?
For me, it always helps if there is an issue to write about, sadly the one that keeps coming to mind is not really about the gratifying delights of travel.
The days I had reserved here are disappearing. I must write something sincerely believing words are necessary, especially if you are staying in faraway places
Today I am dragging my suitcase and carrying my heavy rucksack for two kilometres. I have booked alternative accommodation in the centre of Brno in the Czech Republic. My apartment has been truly fine, very clean and equipped with a minimum of necessities. The problem for me has been with the neighbourhood. At first, it did not seem to worry me but as the days went by I noticed my mood beginning to take a downward turn.
Every day I walked the two kilometres into the city. Every day I dreaded it as I mulled over the effect this was having on my mood. The neighbourhood was pretty run down, a throwback from a communist-era perhaps? There were certainly buildings in this neighbourhood in desperate need of repair. Krakow had old and weary buildings but not like these. If you want stories to slit your wrists to, Krakow has more than its fair share of them. This area of Brno sent shivers down my spine though, not because of poverty, no, I have been to India to see slums and although it is painful to witness the extremes of poverty, they did not send my mood spiralling gloomily downwards. Here there is no excuse, two kilometres up the road, there are restaurants, white gleaming marble buildings and clean pavements.
I attempt to pull my case on wheels, avoiding the urine stains that dribble across the pavement and broken cobbles. in all of the gaps there are cigarette butts. The street stinks of stale smoke. Empty beer cans and vodka bottles are left on the window ledges of shops. On the ground, there are splattered mounds of sticky vomit and a half-empty polystyrene chip packet from someone’s dinner abandoned and just dumped in a drain.
A fat guy in a black tee-shirt with shiny gold motifs shouts at his girlfriend as she pushes her baby. They are both smoking over the child and I walk out in the road to avoid them. Three boys, one looks about 14 are smoking cigarettes as they wait on the corner. I have to walk closely between them as they do not attempt to move. They do not scare me, but I hold my breath. The air stinks. Their faces are gaunt and intense and I wonder why, in Europe, we still have people who have faces that say they do not give a shit in the world. I hope I am wrong.
A small boy offers me his sandwich, shoving his hand towards my face. His eyes grip my attention. Is he having a joke with me? His mum aggressively pulls him back. Where has my compassion gone as I walk on without a glimmer of a smile for him?
The Chinese shop on the corner prepares greasy salty noodles and rice, I bought some last night for dinner, It all tasted grimy and left me with a horrible taste in my mouth. I have no idea why I went there, perhaps I felt guilty for hiding away. I wanted to see who was eating in the restaurant. I wanted a proper look at their faces, but nobody looks you in the eyes and when people cannot do that there is something gravely wrong.
One thing I did notice though, there was a gross amount of obesity, especially in the men. Health has no place here amongst the beer, the vodka, the chips and the fags. Education of good health would be beneficial here as a place to start improvements. This place brought my mood down in three days, imagine what it is doing to the community who live here. If we all cared about our health would that lead on to a caring of our surroundings, a caring of the community and each other? Maybe then certain societies could look at each other in the face and more people get a chance of a cleaner and healthier life. Being healthy can improve your feeling of happiness.
In the past half-decade, some countries have moved forward into the 21st century at exemplary speeds. This includes several countries in Europe. China, India and Africa too, have moved so fast. We all seem to have a fair chance if we want it. There is no excuse now to take a look at ourselves. Those who want more, that want to live a life of standards only need to reach out and believe it is there to achieve. Simple things can start big changes.
I am relieved I am neatly tucked up in my new accommodation. My mood is changing. I wish for a better world and I hope that somebody soon will take a look down on those pavements and get out a scrubbing brush, perhaps somebody will open a gym and start talking about good nutrition. Oh well, as they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Tip, When booking, wherever possible look for reviews on the neighbourhood, Nice pictures of clean and smart apartments can be misleading.