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It is still so early that we see the baker opening his shop. My mom is waiting for us with sandwiches and a hug. Joy over the reunion with old acquaintances from previous editions of the Leo-Czech travel is somewhat tempered by general sleep deprivation.
With 46 passengers and one driver we hit the road neatly on time (06.00hours) . There is much to see of the beautiful landscape and the mini-gamesset is a great success; Fer and his mates (w/v) concentrated play "Tc Tac Toe", "Snakes and Ladders" and of course "Chess." Because he was at the gangway my son can get his father a cup of coffee.
The film "Radeloos" leads me temporarily away from the fact that today a friend was buried after yesterday a neighbor was entrusted to the earth. The children amuse themselves with, among the whispering game and the dance of a polonaise, despite the presence of mini-gamecomputers, and a child asks my son: "Why are you so sweet?" Indeed my son knows to entertain children of all ages and sexes. That's quite good for a 13-year-old.
Half past ten in the evening our company arrives at Hotel Spindlerova Bouda, in the Giant Mountains in the Czech Republic where a warm buffet awaits us. The rooms are nice and just after midnight I the bar open because of the birthday of a bartender. As the only non-Czech I mix in my best "steenkolen"-Tsjechisch/Pools/Duits/Engels in discussions about politics, economics and topics such as further discussed when drunken men talk. If I tell that I'm not only fan of skater Martina Sablikova but also am reading a book by Bohumil Hrabal, the conversation turns to literature, and I tell that Zdenek Miller (the creator of Krtek, or "Molletje" in Dutch) ismy favorite Czech writer, I get yet another free drink.
Fer and I are fourth and fifth at the great breakfast buffet. One of the people of service is the young man whose birthday was celebrated only a few hours earlier. He looks a bit like I feel. Chauffeur Roel takesus with the tour bus to the slopes and on the edge of the village. Traditionally there is a lot of haggling and stuff going on but the white fairytale-like landscape reimburses much. Add to this that the use of swimming pool and sauna in the hotel isfree of charge and the suffering is easily forgotten.
My ski instructor is called Eva (pronounced: "Eda" with short "e") is 67. Before lunch, our group consists of 6 students. After the lunch just me and Nadine from a town in the former GDR are left. Thus we almost have a private lesson! Eva taught me to ski without using excessive force. It also helps when cornering on the toes to stand in the shoes, a trick I never knew. Nadine goes nicely under the watchful eye of her "Schwiegermutter, die Bose." Although I am fan of the old local drink vodka, liqueur Becherovka does also well at the après-ski.
Everything is white. A photograph of the cloth is almost identical to a photograph of the environment. Roel does not consider it justified to drive with a visibility less than five meters. The city bus driver knows, however blindly and with a cigarette in the mouth the way down (we are high in the Giant Mountains) and thus I am reunited with the ski instructor and Nadine, the other half of our group. Unfortunately, before the afternoon I am forced to quit after a co-user of the slope uses my left knee for a brake. Co-traveller Astrid accompanies me to first aid where I get treatment and a brace. After leaving behind 31,000 Czech crowns bump I happily go hopping around with a beautiful black/purple brace around my leg. The rest of the afternoon I am in the group of people at the bottom of the beginners hill where we encourage peers and complete strangers. Cameras get overheated when by order of Soemaya ridiculously many photos of ski instructor Tomaaaasz are taken.
From our tower room Fer and I have a phenomenal view that can easily go into a fairytale-book. There is no picture postcard that can surpass the sight. Slept well in the warm rooms and only when turning got briefly awakened by a very present knee. Thanks to a couple of skisticks I get groceries like a real Nordic Walker. We also purchase a sled to transport all the
bottles of liquor souvenirs easier. For some, the infamous "wednesday-downer" has struck but a few well placed words and a Ferdinand who voluntarily tutors and motivation is again at the required level. Skiing continues and the encouragment-team has little to do. It is mainly there to motivate each other. And to keep warm. With drinks.
The evening was for Carlos Kaspar, the magician and his magic show Adrenalin. Who had expected a simple hotel magician with caps, rings, cloths and balloons was disappointed. Carlos Kaspar was a real illusionist whose many acts were mouthdropping. Our Jill could join in the act and Bibi handed small gifts to everyone. (The little penguin is on my mobile-pouch, Bib!)
The landscape is probably quite beautiful but sight is limited due to fog. Lower on the mountain it is clearer, the large group that decides to take the sled downhill finds out. I am not recommended to go because it is recommended to brake with both legs and I can only use one... In the village I happened to come across Nadine. Robert-Jan witnesse how she spontaneously gives me kiss on the cheek. In the evening we sing for birthday-girl Jeanette and driver Roel gets a small present. Waitress Christina represents her colleagus when she accepts our thanks.
It is the last day and some go into the village for souvenirs while others still take snowboard lesson or simply enjoy going skiing or sled-riding. I entertain myself with a cup of coffee and later some shots of Becherovka as I read in "I served the King of England" by Bohumil Hrabal, make notes in my diary and study on the sentence "hezký Mots smĕješ se", which means "I think you have a sweet smile." Or something.
Everyone is on the bus on time and we can drive back to Amsterdam. Barman Rene and his girlfriend lift along for a few miles and despite the fact that Der Polizei pulls us over we are still on schedule when driver Roel is releived for the last stretch. Some doze off occasionally maybe some more than others are suffering from the Last Night-ritual. It was very nice to have played some pool with Sjaak, Robert-Jan and "I can not play pool"-Bert but managed more than fine. Just after midnight Christina comes to say goodbye. Quarter past ten we are back in Amsterdam at the place where the journey began and tired but satisfied everyone returns home.
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