I wish I’d had more time in Brno because these twelve hours were all at night. While Budapest was my favourite city of the trip, Brno is the city I could see myself living in. (Maybe because their streetcars make a sound IDENTICAL to that of San Francisco Muni? It’s a rather comforting noise when one isn’t running to catch said train.)

Since we had to wait for third Slovakian friend to pick us up, we killed time walking around the city, me gaping at all the architecture. I really loved the cobbled streets and the warm and friendly feeling there was, even at night. Several bars and cafes looked lively. We wandered into a gallery opening, to my joy, which was free and had some cool pieces but was mostly just interesting because I was able to see people hanging out in their environment (jabbering away in Czech.) The gallery was situated in one of Brno’s many repurposed churches.

We walked up to Špilberk Castle and had a gorgeous view over the whole city. (Brno is also hilly, and as a San Franciscan I do look upon hills rather affectionately.) My friend told me that it was a good place for couples to come, and I could see why–even in the dead centre of the city, the stars were twinkling away, and I think castles are incredibly romantic.

After walking through the center of the city, we met up with our friend. All these reunions just had me on cloud nine the whole trip–in a way, I’d forgotten how much I adore these guys, but they’re some seriously cool people and seeing them was being home again.

Arriving at my friend’s apartment, I immediately befriended his cats, which made me happy. The thing I’d been missing about Morocco was the cats running around all over the place! They also told me that my Czech friend was coming with us to the Tatras the next day–best surprise ever! (Even if it wasn’t supposed to be a surprise and was really a “oh, I assumed someone had told you” I was ecstatic.) They convinced me to try a Slovakian honey that had won an award in a competition in Germany, and I was insanely impressed–that stuff might be better than the honey one gets from Drummond, New Zealand, which my mum brings back every time she goes home. If I hadn’t been taking only carryon luggage with me, I might have taken ten pots back with me.

(Side note: Brno is pronounced ‘ber-no’ for anyone who, like me, had only read it and never heard it.)