Havens of Nature

Who else is missing nature right now? I know I am. During the current crisis many of us have had to become accustomed to spending more time surrounded by four walls. The problem is that what you do most of the time becomes the new normal, doesn’t it?

People are slowly beginning to emerge from lockdown in many countries, and in the Czech Republic most things are almost back to normal. One more week and most restrictions will have been lifted. One more week of face masks, at least the compulsory use anyway. One more week of no schools, until a weird sanitised form will be reintroduced for those who need it. One more week until people can really begin to relax. But will we?

Nature was supposed to be the escape during all of this. Get away from the town and get some fresh air. The problem is that everyone else felt the same desperation and before you knew it the forests were full and the town centres were empty. Then we faced a weird choice. If we wanted some freedom we actually had to return to the human creations, heading away from what should have been more natural.

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City Life

Surrounded by people, movement everywhere. Action, noise, life. Living in the city can sound stressful, and appear unattractive to those who prefer the countryside. But, for me, life in the city affords too many opportunities to miss. But I am not talking about living in London or New York, I am talking about life in a small city. Hradec Králové, in the Czech Republic, would be a medium-sized town in Britain, but here it is one of the larger towns or cities.

Hradec provides the perfect mixture of urban living and green nature and it suits me and my family perfectly. If you are looking for things to do, you are rarely disappointed, certainly from a family point of view. Maybe younger people would disagree and yearn for life in the capital, but not me. 

But I never feel crowded in the city, mainly because people keep to themselves. In the village, it feels like everybody is watching to see what you are doing. Now I don’t want to give the wrong impression, I love the countryside, I just don’t want to live there. Weekly visits are enough. Trips to the forest, fishing, photography, these are all parts of my life. Everyday life, however, has to be based in the city. Variety, after all, is the spice of life and that is what city living gives you. 

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish