"Let's go to Prague," my good friend said.
"Sure. Why not?" I said.
Maybe that's not exactly how that conversation went down. It was probably more along the lines of, "I'm going to Prague...wanna come along?" We're starting a tradition, I guess, where she picks some random far-flung place to visit random far-flung friends and family for her spring break vacation, and I tag along for the adventure. I hope it's a tradition; I rather like it.
For example, several years ago we went together to Ecuador, and although it was my third time there, I felt like I had never seen the place before. Certainly not like that. Ecuador in a week! Two days in the jungle! Two days in the city!! Two days in the mountains!!! Nearly get killed by a snake, eat bull testicles, play soccer straddle the equatorwaaaaa-haaa! If living in a country for several months gives one a true local's taste of it, speed-touring through a representative cross-section of a country is like falling Alice-in-Wonderland-style into a promotional TV travelogue.
That's what I was expecting for Prague. Shutter snaps of Central Europe!! Vienna, Bulgaria, Warsaw! (Obviously I was not really looking at a map, just randomly naming places in the nearby...continent.)
Instead, I discovered that once I got to Prague, I didn't want to leave it. A week spent in the heart of one city doesn't have to be a snapshot. It can be intensive...and intense.
Thus began one of the strangest trips of my life. I'd call it life-changing...but really, aren't they all?