on the last day of being in athens, i was ready to come back to the czech republic. that sounds kind of awful to write about the last day about your long-awaited honeymoon and i hate to admit it, but the intolerable heatwave had me dreaming of breezy czech august days. getting back to the flat. cooking. getting back to normal. boring stuff like that.
fortunately it’s been far from boring. after summer camp, we’ve made it a mission to tick a handful of experiences off of the list. you know, that list you make when you move somewhere of things to do and places to go that you just couldn’t bear to move away lest you complete it.
recently, we took two train trips in one week. (!!!) as i mentioned on instagram, i friggin’ love train trips. when was the last time you went on the train and you weren’t going somewhere exciting? (okay, some of you commuters in germany and the UK, don’t answer that) it’s such a departure from the regular ol’ bus trip that i get such a thrill from it!
it is well-documented and i may never be able to live it down that i once stated here on this blog that i was castled out. as in, never wanted to see another czech castle again.
BUT. there was always this one castle in the back of my mind that i dearly and desperately wanted to visit. however, you can only get there by public transport on a summer weekday due to the schedules. so last week, alex and i visited the grand and almighty červená lhota. i’m calling it the eilean donan of the czech republic. it’s built on a large stone in the middle of a small lake in the northern part of south bohemia, not too far from jindřichův hradec.
a sight to behold, i tell you! and if you’re lucky, you can rent a boat and paddle around! which is what i was hoping to do. but of course, i proposed this day trip for the one day that the castle (and incidentally, the small village) was closed. however, all i wanted was to picnic in front of this castle and i got my wish! a beautiful warm august day.
you’ll notice some leaves changing already to their autumn state– i think it’s because of the heatwave! incredible.
even more pressing that a visit to this magnificent castle was a paddle on the wet vltava highway. yep, i
wanted needed to do a canoe trip. how could i possibly live in south bohemia one more second without paddling up the vltava river? inconceivable. we set out from beautiful zlatá koruna (below) on what was a four and a half hour paddle to boršov nad vltavou, a suburb just south of budějovice.
it was enchanting to be somewhere so wild… on a river near a forest in seemingly the middle of nowhere. that feeling of being so far from “civilization” was the biggest takeaway for me from this paddle. i thought it was just the right amount of time. in the course of the paddle, we would get to long slow stretches peppered with shallow, fast-moving stretches which was a big scramble to avoid any hidden rocks and to stay away from branches and other obstacles. probably a bit more stressful than our sea kayak venture in sweden but i mightily enjoyed it and hope to do it again sometime.
czech boating culture is admirable. sure, there’s no ocean here, but people dang well know their rivers! i don’t think i’ve ever met a south bohemian resident that hasn’t taken to the water at some point. i liked the friendly culture amongst fellow boaters, greeting each other in the informal (ahoj.. perfect for boating, right?) rather than the formal (dobry den). i suppose when you’re in the river together, you’re all awesome people in the thick of it all, and that takes away any unnecessary formalities. it was also funny to watch the groups with matching t-shirts singing songs. the group that tied five canoes together, with some members proceeding to walk across them. there was the father, little boy, and golden labrador in one boat.
we packed a picnic lunch because we weren’t sure of lunch possibilities, but there were so many občerstvení (fast food, like a german imbiss) stands along the way that we needn’t have been worried… but it made for a great kofola/stretch your legs break!
later, there was one major weir (a word i, honest to god, did not know before moving here) in the river’s path. it was the first weir of my life (you could say i felt a bit weir-y) and when you approach it, it looks like you are about to go over a waterfall. so that’s not awesome. i panicked, we pulled our canoe over, and i unabashedly watched others to see how they did it, which really is the best way to see how things are done in a country that is not your own, whether boating or not.
the best part of this boat trip is that alex still likes me after hanging out for almost five hours in a two-man canoe. respect.
since i’ve never really spent time here in
during august, as it is usually our main travel time, i’d never been to some of the fun festivals and events around town on the weekends. we went to an open-air concert two nights in a row, recently: one singer songwriter and one jazz festival in piaristické náměstí. with the delicious warm evening temperatures (probably the only good thing about this heatwave), it was such a fun way to celebrate summer “at home”.
in addition to all of the recent bake off challenges, we’ve been knee-deep in vegetables with our second CSA veggie box; this one overflowing with zucchini and summer squash, also including some grape tomatoes (yay!) and green beans (woo!) in lieu of greens, both of which we did not have last time. soooo, friends, lend me your squash recipes!
i hope you’ve been having a lovely august so far.