Recap Eighty-one Days In
On Friday, July 22, we headed from eastern Europe back toward the west, boarding a flight from Bucharest to Berlin. It was our first time flying on airberlin, a member of the Oneworld alliance. By using 7,500 British Airways Avios and a $24 copay per person, we were on our way. The British Airways loyalty program is really helpful in cases where you might want a short flight, as their award tickets are priced by the distance between destinations, rather than the world regions. (For example, American Airlines charges a set amount of award miles for any domestic U.S. award tickets, but British Airways might charge less for a short hop between New York and Florida, or more for a cross-country flight from New York to Los Angeles.)
We spent a short weekend in Berlin to attend Pride festivities on Saturday July 23 (locally called CSD, or Christopher Street Day). Charley has already posted his pictures from the event, and as usual, they’re fantastic. I took a few of my own as well:
Monday, July 25, we headed out from Berlin, bound for Prague by train. After a crowded train ride, we joined some of Charley’s former colleagues at the World Scholar’s Cup mini-global round. WSC is a really fantastic organization headed by our dear friend Daniel Berdichevsky, and it was great to see another event after having not been involved for a few years, just to marvel at how the program has grown and matured. Please do head to their website and learn a little more about them, as well as this event that brought 500 students from over thirty countries to Prague. They attended an academic tournament, and we were privileged to watch their awards ceremonies on Tuesday, July 26. We hung around with the WSC team, including tagging along on a team day trip on Wednesday July 27 to nearby Cesky Krumlov, an incredibly quaint and beautiful village a few hours south of Prague.
After bidding adieu to the WSC team, we stayed back to show ourselves Prague for quite a few more days, and we absolutely loved the city. Like Bucharest and Sofia, it starts to blend eastern and western influences heavily, but a recent influx of business and industry have given it a really cosmopolitan feel, even though (for foreign tourists) it keeps its relative affordability. If you avoid tourist areas, you can have a nice restaurant meal for the equivalent of $4-5.
My personal highlight in Prague occurred on Sunday July 31, the day before we left, and was the discovery at the mall food court of a restaurant where beverages are delivered to one’s table by train. I don’t think I’ve ever been so impressed at a restaurant gimmick, and I wondered if it would be possible to clone it in the U.S.