i’m still figuring this ish out. it may seem like i’ve got it all handled, but it’s been and continues to be a process.
learning how to budget for two people on teacher’s salaries has been a slippery slope, but i’m finally grasping it. then add a dog into that mix (ohhh, so that’s where the extra cash for the past few months has been going…), and a five week trip back to the u.s. this summer (across four different states), and well, there can be complications.
i think i’m getting the hang of it, though, and our “seasons of poor” have been less and less frequent as i learn how to properly manage our finances as two english teachers abroad. but then, in the middle of all of this, are a couple of spring birthdays to celebrate. i didn’t feel with all that’s been going on this year that it was the right time for some kind of fancy trip for my birthday in particular, but rather a short but sweet little stay in nearby český krumlov sounded like the perfect idea.
the weekend started with an epic dinner with a few friends and loads of spring and traditional specialties thanks to the wonderful cooking skills of our guests (bryndzové halušky 4 life) and we were all so full, it was truly a second thanksgiving. the next morning, we headed down thirty minutes south to krumlov to an area of town i have likely not even stepped foot – pleševic, directly south of the center, to our sweet little accommodation.
when i first flung open the door to see this gorgeously-styled room full of vintage touches looking out directly over the vltava, i fell in love! nothing but the sounds of kayakers on the river and little bird songs – it was so healing to be in this kind of nature rather than our flat in the city. a must for the soul! i sat on the bed and just listened with all of the windows open and fresh air pouring in, and soon after, the heavens opened up and it began to pour rain.
it’s been interesting traveling around with ferdinand over the past couple of months (oh, you know we brought him! our traveling dog). fortunately, there are so many pet-friendly properties to stay at throughout the czech republic that it is no big deal to have him with us. (the only time we’ve ever had to pay extra to have a dog in the room was in germany!) so to us, it’s becoming the new normal. to other travelers staying at our pension from places like australia and taiwan, i sometimes remember that it isn’t.
“ohhhhhh!!”, exclaimed an australian girl staying in a room next to ours as she saw ferdie poking his head out of our room late one evening. “it’s a dog!!!!”
“….yep”, i replied after a few beats, unsure of what to really say in this situation as i was fairly well aware that there is, in fact, a dog. “….uhhh, good night”.
as it was a special day, we resolved (or rather, alex resolved – good man) that we should do all the special tourist things that are available to do there. the things we see other people do but never take the time out to do them for ourselves. i popped into shops like botanicus and rosmarinus to pick out a few natural cosmetics and other “treat yo’ self” sorts of things (only shops with latin names, apparently) including more valdemar grešik tea. (do look out for products from this small czech herbal company if you are here – it is so good!)
we sat on a terrace right on the square, sipping cappuccinos and watching the tourists milling about with their soft-serve ice cream and swinging around selfie sticks, with good conversation and perfect views of the brightly colored houses that line the perimeter. how often did i ever think to have a cappuccino right on the square? never! it was a great day, already. then we strolled across the wooden bridge to our favorite, laibon, for dinner (which is well-documented as my ultimate favorite on this blog) and david the owner took care of us very well, as usual.
soon, the skies grew a bit greyer and the tourists all went away – we busied ourselves with a nice post-dinner constitutional up through the castle to the gardens, and back down to a couple of cocktails on the terrace of apotheka. alex traded his cocktail for mine just because i liked his better. (true love) it was a magical evening and made me wonder why we don’t overnight in krumlov more often, especially as we walked through the square to hear a musician playing ‘stairway’ to a subdued but appreciative audience, taking up every bench. there seems a whole different side to the town by night that deserves special mention and is only for the few who care to stick around for it.
the weather report for monday, my actual birthday, was supposed to be rainy and grey all day, which made the surprisingly sunny and warm morning all that much sweeter, with fresh breezes from the river and rays of sun filling the room.
having our coffee on the terrace (top photo) is one of my favorite memories, chatting with our kind host and exchanging our relief that macron did just indeed win the french election the night before – it definitely instilled an ‘enjoy life’ feeling into the entire stay and reminded me of how healing nature can be, even when you don’t even think you need time away from the city. you just might.
this feeling lingered all the way back to the city, as we got dressed and headed to some friends for an afternoon of good food, loads of delicious cakes, quaffing bubbly, and walks under the gloomy skies before it began to rain for the rest of the day. funny how it doesn’t take a lot to feel like you’ve really treated yourself!
have you ever discovered another side to a place you knew well? how do you treat yourself?