14 February 2013

Snow Shoeing in Harrachov, Czech Republic

Remembering this weekend gives me smile after smile. The reason I chose this destination for this week's Wonder Where Wednesday is because a couple of weeks from now I'll be heading to the north of Italy with my employers for two weeks of skiing and living in a winter wonderland. I'm pretty excited! Rome's sunshine is great, but I miss the overall feel of winter. I'm not sick of it yet like I was living in Prague; I have yet to really experience this year's winter. 

To my travel story....Last year I randomly went on this mini-ski excursion for a weekend with some Czechs who were friends-of-friends and one of my actual friends, Amy. It was sort of a last minute thing, but I'm telling you! The smaller, community-based weekend excursions and day-trips around the Czech Republic last year were some of my highlights and fondest memories! 

We all packed into two cars and drove north from Prague, playing car games and mystery games along the way. The road snaked along and eventually lost sight completely to the magical whiteness that abounded around us. Later, we strapped on our snowshoes (awkwardly, since it was my first time) and slowly walked into the great white wilderness like scuba divers. I admit, I felt a little self-conscious among such hearty Czechs who were basically born in snow. But they were kind and guided us 'newbies' along, showing us how to step and where to step. The entire weekend was so encouraging and a true taste of Czech culture! 

We meandered through the woods for hours, taking our time and enjoying the fresh air away from city life. We exchanged stories and jokes and memories and passions. There really is something special connected with walking and talking to people. Together we explored some old World War II bunkers hiding under snow, threw snowballs, and watched as families and couples skied past. 

We rewarded ourselves with a full, warm Czech lunch at a restaurant in an old house in a town that was only accessible by walking (with snowshoes) or skiing into. We sat around a large wooden table with full pints of beer and chatted some more while big burly Czech men guzzled down their beers and cheered around us. (We were clearly the only international group in town) Afterwards, we walked back to our car and slept soundly after a relaxing sauna visit and homemade beer from our pension owner. 

The next day would be grueling....my first cross-country skiing effort. But I did it! Over four hours of trying to move my whole body while simultaneously sliding my feet forward and not slipping backward with my next step. I finally started to really enjoy it at about hour three. 

Part Two coming soon... 

No comments:

Post a Comment