Tuesday, 27.11.2012

I have never been to America. I am recalling Milena Naglmüllerová’s story from the recent trip of her children’s choir to the USA printed in our local Sušice newspaper. We are approximate contemporaries and it was her first time in the US as well. I read about her long-held dream coming true, about how touched she was by her visit to New York. Each trip abroad will probably always be special for our generation that spent half of their lives under Communism with all its absurd bans and ridiculous limitations. Just the mere fact that we can go if we want to…

I get the typical travel fever the last night before my departure. A symptom is that suddenly I felt like not going anywhere. I left my packing for the last moment. An early wake up and a drive to Prague airport. The whole 150-km drive went smoothly. (I am not counting the half-hour episode of going back home for my wallet which I could not find back at home anyway as it had accidentally been packed in my suitcase.) It was bit hectic at the airport due to this. Then a long “jump” from Prague to Frankfurt and finally across the Atlantic to Chicago. 7000 km.

Europe was covered by a solid layer of low clouds. The earth could only be seen over the British Isles. Wind farms in the sea along the British west coast, then Ireland. After some time we passed cloud-wrapped Greenland. Nothing could be seen – perhaps on the way back. The flight over Newfoundland and Labrador made the greatest impression on me. Deep and long fjords in the jagged coastline. Lakes locked in frost, snow-covered mountains, endless plains into which deep river canyons have cut their furrows. 

The sun, which accompanied us all the way, set after we landed in Chicago at approximately midnight our time. Then rather lengthy immigration procedures and inspections and a short flight to Madison, where I met my host David. Debbie, who organised all this, was there as well.