Old Krummy

Despite a few rowing induced groans in the morning, none of us wanted to waste any Czech time and we were soon booked in for horse riding. One taxi and some brief instructions about using the reins later we were on our way, the instructor leading the way. Having not been on a horse before, I was surprised by how disjoint the motion felt - I expected the ride to be much smoother somehow.

It was pretty clear from the outset that the horses had a fair idea what they were doing and didn't need our instruction, and personally I had a bit of trouble convincing my horse to accept any. May have had something to do with the fact that we'd specified ourselves as beginners, and also that I felt a bit rude whacking a horse I barely knew to encourage it to go faster.

The field is quickly set with the instructor at the front, Ness following closely, me three or four horse lengths behind her, and Manda bringing up the rear. I'm trying to gently encourage my horse to go faster and catch Ness up, but not really getting through to the beast. Manda tries to fix things a bit by spurring her horse into a canter, but my horse isn't having any of that and matches pace to hold on to third place. Somehow we still don't catch up, I suspect Manda pulled out of the overtaking maneuver for my sake.

Anyway, we have a pleasant walk through some fields and forest, though we have to follow the road for a short while to get there. The road is less pleasant to walk along but at least I feel like me and the horse are cooperating when pulling over out of the way of vehicles.

It was nice, but the whole experience left me a little wanting. I don't feel like it captured the essence of horse riding, and kind of feel like it isn't something you can treat as a brief excursion. Rather, it requires some commitment and dedication to get to know your horse and really learn to ride. Maybe one day.

For dinner we make our way to Laibon's, a vegetarian restaurant on the river bank. But having just spent an hour on horseback, we vote to sit inside on the cushioned chairs rather than next to the river itself. Our waiter was delightfully - no, ridiculously merry, and was quick to offer us blankets along with the menu. He wore a manic grin when he brought out glasses for water, and giggled a bit as he slid them across the table toward us. Some delicious lentil soup served as icing and made the meal difficult to dislike.

The next morning presented us with a nasty surprise, as while lazing in the morning Amanda discovers a bed bug in her linen/sleeping bag. Corrective measures are initiated immediately, and she borrows some clothes from Ness for the day so the hostel manager can wash hers along with the linen.

Amanda had been searching for a coat over the past few days, and the bed bug situation makes the search a little more urgent. Fortunately, we come across a store featuring an acceptable coat, and warmth is acquired.

In the evening we visited the Horor[sic] Bar, which was adorned with bats and skeletons and coffins and the like. The main attraction was that they served some drinks in test tubes - IIRC the drinks were called Coffin Varnish and Fake Blood, but I wasn't paying too much attention to the alcohol and ended up drinking apple tea for the night.

I should mention Chloe from our hostel joined us on this excursion. She worked at a hostel in Edinborough, and was soon due to pay her homeland (New Zealand) a visit which she wasn't overjoyed about.

After the test tube drinks the girls order a round of Pina Coladas - Ness offers me some and it's possibly the most drinkable form of alcohol I've encountered, but I manage to give the impression that I don't really like it. Go go communication failure and predisposition against alcohol! If there had been another round I feel like I would have joined, but that was the end of drinks for the night.

It's on the walk back to the hostel that I realise tomorrow is our last day together, as Amanda and Ness are heading to Austria the day after. It puts me in a sullen mood, and I have trouble sleeping (imagining that every little itch is a bed bug doesn't help either), but I formulate a mission.

Ness kept mentioning on our walks through town that she wanted to find a place that did scrambled eggs for breakfast. I've never made them before but look up the preparation instructions on wikipedia (^5 internet) and it doesn't look so difficult. So, I set my alarm (connected to headphones so I don't wake anyone else) for 06:40. Turns out to be pointless as I wake at 06:20. My body is pretty consistent at waking when I want/need to wake as long as it is well rested.

Anyway, turns out I'm excessively early, and after a shower and quick trip to the store for eggs I'm left killing time while the kitchen gets cleaned. My timing continues to suck, scrambled eggs cook a lot faster than I expect and I forget to add milk and don't have toast ready yet and the tomato is barely cooked, but hey, there's eggs and they're scrambled. I figure the hostel owners/other travelers won't appreciate me taking food into the dorms, so drag the girls out of bed to the kitchen for an early, slightly awkward breakfast - it will be midday before my melancholy lifts.

In the meantime, we take a stroll through a park and find a variety of birds, including a blue kingfisher. On the way back to the hostel we stumble on a shop that sells chopsticks, which goes a long way toward cheering me up - I feel complete again for the first time since Kuala Lumpar. Of course when we get back to the hostel we make soup, rendering my new purchase completely ineffective.

We head to Two Mary's for dinner, to check out their medieval feast. Me and Manda go for the pheasant and rabbit, Ness of course isn't interested in the meat dishes. Unfortunately something gets mixed up and we end up being given chicken and rabbit, but oh well. I get a chance to use my chopsticks so I'm happy. We also had mead alongside the meal in various flavours - apple, cinammon and moravian. They were all fairly strong to my taste, but particularly the moravian had a lovely aftertaste that reminded me of white rice.

Finally, we stopped by the restaurant next to the hostel for some dezerty, which as you may have inferred is the czech term for dessert. Eating crepes and icecream with chopsticks was easier than I expected. :)

Next morning we stop for breakfast, and I try to order some pastry that I have no chance in hell of pronouncing. Eventually I succeed, but more thanks to pointing than my butchered czech. Now I can't even remember what flavour the filling was!

Shortly after breakfast, Amanda and Ness hop on their shuttle to Linz, leaving me to walk the streets of Ĉeský Krumlov alone - I have another day before my train is on its way to Copenhagen.