I decided to head to Prague in the Czech Republic because I kept hearing nothing but great things about it. And after nearly spending exactly a week there, I can truly say I made some lifelong friends there.

St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague.

Before my trip, I didn’t know exactly what to expect from Prague and the people that call it home. I knew it would have a lot of history (which I love), and strong people that have endured a lot of pain. But that pain has not kept them from opening up to strangers.

The streets of Prague before sunrise during my visit.

After a day of travel and a good night’s rest, I took to the streets of Prague before sunrise and visited the Charles Bridge and the Astronomical Clock tower. I find it unbelievable that these structures are still standing, and have survived the centuries of usage. The next few days, I explored the Jewish Quarters and visited a number Synagogues, as while a Jewish Cemetery that was used from the 13th to 15th century.

A jewish cemetery that has been there since the 13 century.

On most of my trips, there’s so much to see and do, and a relatively short amount of time to do it all it. I rarely get a chance to mix business with pleasure. But that’s exactly what I got a chance to do when a longtime friend, Dr. Clayton Skaggs, turned out to be visiting Prague as well. I accompanied Dr. Skaggs to the some of his meetings with his friends and colleagues in the Czech Republic. While there, I underwent a number of physical tests that revealed some deficiencies that I have, which will allow me to train this offseason with even greater purpose.

Trying my hand at tennis with Davis Cup Champion Radek Stepnak.

Then, just when I thought my trip couldn’t get any better, I had the pleasure of meeting Davis Cup Champion Radek Stepnak. I’d never played tennis before — I’d only enjoyed the game from a spectator’s point of view. I took to the tennis court with Radek and attempted to play a couple of light matches, and to digest a few coaching points (which were badly needed) — how to get into position to hit the ball, how to place my foot when making contact with the ball, and so forth.

Radek, if you’re reading this, I promise to get you on the football field and return the favor of showing you up in my respective sport.

Next up: time to explore Southeast Asia.