Poprvé: Cross Country Skiing
|Karel, I, and Petr B. (Photo from Petr Banach.)|
You see, often these blog posts point to the beauty of nature and the refreshment of the mountains, but I would be remiss if I didn't include what great fellowship happens in the mountains. There's a whole culture connected to sporting activities in this country, and people--whether friends or strangers--are, as if cleansed, when in the mountains.
|Getting suited up (photo from Petr Banach)|
"Use the tracks; it will be better for you."
"Push with the front of your foot."
"It is almost like jumping."
"Use your poles to push yourself, not just for balance."
These pieces of advice were intermingled with a clumsiness akin to a 10-year-old gangly female. I quickly got through some first falls and had admiration for my companions, who skied alongside me, then in front of me, then looped around--taking the path two or more times to my one. Yet before we crossed a road or into a new section of the path, we'd regroup and be off again. My arms ached with the pushing of poles, and I felt utterly helpless as my skis only agreed to slide backwards when I tried going uphill. But all around me were pleasant, patient Czechs who gave smiles and encouraging words about my progress (or words of well-meaning critique). Along with our miniature breaks, towards the end of our first half, we came to a hill; Petr advised that I ditch the skis and go by foot--which I happily did.
|Hey look, it's me! (Photo by Petr Banach.)|
Once we were back on flat land, there was a small dip, maybe four metres, but steep. I decided to ski down it and fell (as was to be expected). As I attempted to then walk with my skis up from the dip, I became a tangle of arms, legs, poles, and skis, slipping from the packed to the loose snow. When I'd reduced myself to the equivalent of a ball of yarn that's been in the company of a rambunctious kitten, I wiggled out of my skis and tramped up the hill. For a time, my frustration got the best of me, but not much later I was sitting in a warm pub with my four companions (Iva, Petr, Karel, and Martin). I instantly felt a pain in my head, which I attributed to dehydration. But water, beer, soup, and tamarind (brought by Iva from her recent trip to Thailand) refreshed me for the 7 km (4.4 mi) trek back.
|Iva and I refreshed after a stop at the pub.|
(Photo by Petr Banach.)