ski ski ski

Cross-Country skiing is great – if you live in a small country.

– Steven Wright

It has been awhile since I have written anything. Part of me feels a bit guilty about it, but that part reluctantly accepts that I have been really busy and acknowledges that it is impossible to do everything.  The other part of me knows that I finally got a chance to go skiing in Europe, I cooked a 3 course menu for 50 people (alone) and I am participating in an advanced, intensive German language course that requires the majority of my concentration. The latter reality makes it okay.

But, now I am making a bit of time, because I am very excited to share my adventures in Czech. I have been waiting to go skiing in Europe since I moved here. With the help of some free skis and boots and a wonderful signficant other, one of my goals for my time here has been reached. We went to Špindlerův Mlýn which is located along the northern Czech border. We were not sure if we were going to make it – the GPS took us up a crazy mountain in Poland that led to a sleepy old town and a dead-end. Thank goodness we had enough gas and each other. Eventually, we made it to our destination, albeit 3 hours later than anticipated.

Our hotel was more of a bed and breakfast than a hotel. The couple that rented out the room was very nice, but did not speak more than a handful of words in English or German. It was one of those times when a smile went a very long way. The room, however, was like a sauna. On more than one occasion, we had to leave the window wide open just so we could breathe. Luckily, the view from our window was amazing.

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the view from our hotel room

The weather on our first full-day was absolutely perfect (and we both forgot our cameras!) and the skiing was relatively uneventful. I still had to get used to the gate systems that the people have to go through to get on the ski lifts. I felt like a cow going to slaughter and I found this system to be very chaotic. My significant other told me that all of the ski mountains are. I also complained the whole time about having to carry my skis 2km down a hill (from our hotel to the mountain). Growing up so close to ski mountain spoiled me. Nevertheless, it was super. We ended our evening with some pretty tasty Czech food. I had the duck and my partner had goulash.

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duck with red cabbage and knödel

On our second day of skiing, we made friends with a very funny drunken Czech snowboarder with whom we spent the day. He introduced us to halušky – something that I am very thankful for. However, he eventually fell asleep at the table and we left him to recover from his very long night. Our day was also very long and funny after a few mulled wines.

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the view from the top of the ski mountain

On our last day of skiing, I ate my favorite food of the trip. I do not know what it is called, but it was a potato soup with smoked sausage, onion and sauerkraut. It was surprising how good it was, as it was the cheapest meal of the trip that we ate in the cafeteria of the mountain. I would like to try to recreate this dish. It is on my long list of things to-do. I also tried liver dumplings and I would be okay with not eating them again. The consistency left a lot to be desired and the thought of eating liver sort of grosses me out. I guess that is the post 1950 westerner in me.

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large plate: goulash rear soup: liver dumplings in beef broth front soup: sauerkraut, potato and smoked sausage

We also ate some very tasty wood-fire pizza. It was surprising how good it was. I had smoked bacon, onion and mozzarella. My companion had burger, ham, onion and pepper and this pizza was better than mine.

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For the rest of the day, we were pretty tired and stuffed. We walked along the trails and drank a few beers before heading home.

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On the way, we got side tracked at a small bowling alley and ended up drinking some 10-year-old rum and laughing into the night. We stumbled up the hill home to our “sauna” with a view and laid our heads down for our last night of vacation.

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On the last day, we had perfect weather again and walked a bit more around the town. I mailed some postcards, we said good-bye to our dreamy long weekend and crossed our fingers that the GPS would actually direct us home (it did). And now, we are back in the swing of our crazy busy lives – ready for another adventure.

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