Once again, I’m writing a short post to serve as a reminder when I write up this trip, which is proving to be epic in so many ways. Bill and I had very few expectations for today, but it turned out to be profound in so many ways. So I’m going to write about it now, so I don’t forget…
Bill and I went to Brno today just to see the city. We had heard it wasn’t a very exciting place. But just a few minutes after we exited the parking garage, we came upon an outdoor food fest. It all looked and smelled delicious, so after we climbed a tower and took a Labyrinth guided tour, we headed back over there. After a few minutes of lurking, we scored a seat at a table, and Bill went looking for beer and lunch.
He came back with a couple of craft brews, then brought a potato pancake. I like potato pancakes, but I’d had my eye on the meat on a stick that was being grilled over an open fire. I thought Bill understood that. When I hadn’t been super excited about the potato pancake, he asked me if I wanted pork or chicken. I didn’t care and said so.
Bill went back to the stand and came back with… sausage in a pepper sauce. It is traditional for the area. I wasn’t too happy about it, because it wasn’t what I had been expecting. And I didn’t understand why he kept bringing back stuff I didn’t want. At that point, I thought he knew what I wanted. I was reminded of our infamous hot dogs for lunch incident in Switzerland. He was bringing me hot dogs when I wanted something else. I also knew we wouldn’t be able to eat everything and it was likely going to go to waste.
Bill dutifully went and got me some chicken on a skewer with horseradish, mustard, pickles, and bread. It was a lot of food, and more than I knew I could eat. I did what I could, and Bill ate some. But I knew it was going to get tossed.
Suddenly, this very thin woman with brown hair and brown eyes showed up. She had bald spots and was missing at least half of her teeth. She pointed at my bread, which I hadn’t touched. I asked her if she wanted it. She nodded yes. Then I asked her if she wanted the whole plate of leftovers. She did, and she quickly grabbed it, sat down at a spot near us, and chowed down with much gusto.
Bill continued eating his food, and when he was finished, she took his plate, too. A nearby couple who appeared to be British were shocked as they watched her wolf down the leftover food Bill and I had been sharing, and we were obviously total strangers to each other. I don’t blame them for being shocked. I would have been, too. She completely cleaned both plates. Nothing was wasted.
She finished off the potato pancake and the pepper sauce that came with the sausages. Then, when Bill went to get more beer, she said she wanted some water. When Bill came back, I told him the lady wanted water. He disappeared to go get it, and I was left alone. After a few minutes, a much cleaner cut looking man in a leather jacket came to me and started begging. He was not as convincing and wanted money, which I didn’t have. I tried to ignore him, but he wouldn’t go away.
The toothless lady, whom I’d been trying hard not to stare at, told the guy off. He responded back to her. I started getting really nervous, because I was alone and didn’t see Bill waiting in a line. I started wondering if maybe they knew each other and someone grabbed Bill and beat him up or something. I think the lady could sense I was nervous, because she was sticking up for me, but I finally told the guy to go away. I just didn’t feel safe at all. I was genuinely worried. And of course, I don’t know a word of Czech.
The guy went away, and I waited some more, getting more upset by the minute. Finally, I saw Bill and his familiar soldier’s walk. He had a six pack of water for our new “friend”, which he’d bought at a nearby Lidl. He gave it to her, much to her delight. She picked it up, touched her heart, thanked us, and promptly split.
It was a very profound experience for both of us. We drank a little more beer, listened to some live music, and on the way out, happened to run into an awesome banjo busker we’d seen in Cesky Krumlov just a couple of days ago. There he was in Brno, playing his banjo and looking cool. Bill had run out of small Czech bills, so he gave him ten euros and we told him he was awesome (and he is). I bet, the way things are going, we’ll run into him in Prague, too.
I was also reminded a bit of our experience in Dublin, back in 2018… Bill ended up giving a bunch of euros to a homeless guy he had inadvertently insulted. He’d made a very thoughtless comment, felt like shit about it all day, and was presented with a chance to make it right. So he did. We weren’t feeling guilty when we ran into this lady, but she clearly was someone in need of help. We helped her, and she was very grateful, much like the guy in Ireland had been. She never asked us for money… all she wanted was our leftovers, which would have gone into the trash, anyway. She ate all of them and thanked us profusely.
I don’t care what kind of person she is or what her lifestyle is like. She is certainly worth all of the consideration we showed her and even more. Maybe if we hadn’t been so stunned, Bill would have just bought her some lunch of her own, instead of letting her eat the remnants of ours. But the whole thing happened so fast and was so shocking that we didn’t think of it. It was a win/win if you think about it. We got to try the food that intrigued us, and it didn’t go to waste when we couldn’t eat it all.
We probably should have made more of an effort to see Brno than we did, but we had a really good time and made memories that will truly last a lifetime. I hope we can come back again someday. Brno is a fascinating city.
Well… that about does it for now. Stay tuned for the official trip report, which will come when we get home, starting Tuesday. Tomorrow, we’re off to Prague, for the last two nights of our trip.
The featured photo is of the chicken dish I had. She ate all the bread, most of the pickles, the horseradish and mustard, and some of the chicken. Then she ate the remnants of what is pictured below.
None of this went to waste today… and I left with a cool story.