Back in Starbucks again, right? This time I’m not waiting for anyone who could start talking to me on his or her own… but this time I’m waiting for a nice woman.
I’m not a fan of Facebook sometimes, but there are times when I love it. Why? It helps me to stay in touch with people who I have met during my travels, as well as allowing me to connect with people from around the world, like today. I already met a girl from Peru who is traveling around Europe and stayed in Prague for a week. I love meeting new people, nice souls, listening to their interesting stories and making new friends. I have joined a really lovely Facebook page, called “Go Wonders – Girls Travel”. It is mainly for girls/women who are travelling solo around the world. This page is quite unique and useful if you will go somewhere and would love to know some nice places to explore. It is also great for advice on places to visit or about what kind of local food to eat. I even love it for the fact that you can meet the locals and that’s what I love to do. If there is anyone who is going to visit Prague I’m almost always shouting out: “here I am” and “I want to meet you and show you around”!
Why? Simply because, as I already said, I love meeting people from around the globe, sharing stories or exploring more about their culture. This way I also have met Bärlin. Today, we started out our meeting in Starbucks, my favorite one at the Wenceslas Square. So, meet Bärlin. This amazing woman is originally from India, Mumbai. She has been living in Berlin for 18 years already but she had never visited Prague before. I had a feeling that she felt ashamed because of that but come on, many people from the German borders don’t come here their entire life. What was my first impression? Well, look at her! She is beautiful from the inside out! Seriously! Before she even started talking to me, you could feel her soul everywhere around her. That woman is just so strong, beautiful, brave, inspiring, and as I had already said, so beautiful. We were talking for just a few minutes and I had a feeling that we had so much in common. She is not afraid to travel alone. She has two kids at home but she was waiting until they were older so she could start travelling. I hope that she won’t mind that I would write down that she is already 40 years old (I know, you don’t trust me as I didn’t trust her too, she definitely doesn’t look 40, right?). She traveled to many places and some of them she really liked and might visit again, while others she visited when she was younger didn’t like at all.
What surprised me the most was the fact that she didn’t fall in love with Paris but she did with Prague! That makes me so happy! Prague is just so charming, spiritual and gorgeous. We all know this but when you hear that from a “stranger”, it makes you even happier. She was also telling me about her country, now, I mean India. She said that there are two types of people. The first ones will love India and the others will hate it. We were talking for a few hours and I still didn’t get enough. I gave her some advice on where to go, what to eat and we also planned another day together. What is the point of my article today? I’m not saying that Facebook is a great way how to spend your free time, but at some point, it could be helpful and it could give you the opportunity to meet such amazing people, like I did today! I’m so glad I have met this lovely soul to spend my time with, and I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t our last time, because she invited me to go to Berlin. So, don’t condemn the Internet, as it can be useful. Go ahead and meet the amazing people who are waiting just for you and make some new friends!
What is your name?
My name is Meenal and my nickname is Meenu. (“Bärlin” is from Berlin in German, but her name in India would be Meenal/Meenu.)
Where are you from and where do you live at the moment?
l am originally from India, Mumbai, but now I live as a local in Berlin for the last 18 years. I moved to Germany to pursue my masters in linguistics on a scholarship.
What places did you visit?
l mostly travel alone or with girlfriends if they have time. Mostly I travel with them to our destination and then we split to explore the places on my own. I have already visited Egypt, Italy, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Latvia, Estonia, Canada, Finland, the UK and the Czech Republic.
What places did you like and why?
l like big cities as well as little towns with their history and culture. It is important for me to see what kind of native and expat population lives in that place, how mixed the society is and how much the city can offer to non natives.
What places don’t you like?
Places with no historical flavor, conservative and narrow-minded societies as well as ridden with criminality are the places I don’t like much. At the same time I believe also that such places offer a lot to explore. I just don’t dare going there alone and spend a week to be disappointed. For me, it is all about valuable time that I save for nicer and warmer places.
Why did you come to Prague and do you like it?
I liked Prague very much. l have never visited Prague in the last 18 years because l was busy exploring western Europe and other destinations. Apart from that, living in Germany is pretty much bad propaganda. I wanted to go to Prague as I read all the historical stories and it has touched me and I fell in love with the place after arriving there.
What did you like/didn’t like in Prague?
I think that Prague has changed a lot during the past decade. The city comes up with a new flair that reflects the modern youth, open minded and warm-hearted people. People who welcome the world to their doors. The infrastructure has developed and it’s more opened for outsiders to settle. Prague has a great combination of bilingual people, not like in Germany. Here, even the big city outsiders might have to struggle. Prague is just lovely in many ways. It tells us about the glory in the past and what the city had to go through. Prague has the heart that connects people and that’s why it is in central Europe. If you are looking to leap out into a historical European world on the other side of the west, just go to Prague!