Sunday, May 24, 2009

a little czech

so, i promise to put up more about our trip... but before i get to work on that, let's have a little lesson in czech. you know, that stuff that every american should know...

english: czech or slovak, whichever we used more... phonetic for happiness!

please: prosim pro.seem (like a rolled spanish r, but only one tick)
thankyou: dakujem dya.ku.yem
ladie's: zeny zh(like pleasure)... zhe.nee
tea: caj "chai"
beer: pivo yes, pi.vo!

way: cesta tse.sta
old: jizni yizh.nee
rocks: skaly skall.eee
corner/arete: hrana that one is pretty much like it looks!
on the west side: zapadni za.paud.nee
on the northwest side: severozapadni
face: stena stey.nuh

since we've returned i have barely been home, i've been working so much. but curt found this video of other people climbing in the czech republic and i got to watch it last night. it is so true to what curt and i felt out there... here are a few of my favorite quotes:

take your shoes off so you can feel the grain of sand beneath your feet... this place is definitely the scariest place i have ever climbed... with no chalk and little protection, all of the talismans you carry against the dangers of climbing are left behind and what is left is you and the rock.... it's really quite adventurous. half the time you don't know where you're going... probably one of the best pitches of rock climbing i've ever done... i think you're supposed to place knots here, except for the fact that i don't know how to place knots... do i wish every place in the world were like this? hell, no!... major props to the homies climbing here in eastern europe.... the amazing thing about this area is, once you top out, you are in this wide open expanse. it's really inspiring.... it's really meaningful to travel halfway around the world and have the common ground of climbing.

that said, we were very careful about the routes we chose to do... and there you have my first happy reliving of the rock-climbing... and we only got one really good day of climbing in!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

beautiful bratislava

okay, so apparently typing while buzzed is a bad idea in that i don't explain things well and i can't type... oops! important things that were missing from the last post... did i forget to mention that the climbing book is in czeck? so when we got out to the rocks we were trying to decipher the little drawings and line them up with giant pillars based off of a little chicken scratch english and tiny pictures with czeck writing! so much fun!

absinthe update: i was "drunk" ALL NIGHT. I would wake up, think "yup, still not normal" and go back to bed. made for very interesting dreams. also, if you are going to drink absinthe, add LOTS of sugar. we put in 2 cubes and stirred for a good 20 minutes and that improved things greatly :)

but on to more important topics!

we are LOVING bratislava! sean picked us up from the busstop and we went home to the 6th floor flat to SHOWER and do LAUNDRY!!!! eep! anne got home and we all went out for PIZZA. my bestest friends in the whole wide world found me GLUTEN FREE PIZZA in the foreign lands of bratislava and it was SOOOOOO TASTY! honestly, it was a superthin crust with yummy toppings and everything! from there we went to visit friends and eat fruit salad. and tried slovakian wine and sodas.... good night with good people!

friday started with a bang! we had polenta pancakes and BACON and chai and lots of fruit. fantastic bacony bits. then it was off to vienna! we visited the graveyard and the musician's graves and the fabulous church there and toured around the market where we ate all manner of fabulous things from thai food and sushi to candied cumquats to lychee soda and both vianeese and italian coffees... yum yum yum... so we are again eating our way through the country we are in.

vienna was beautiful and all, but home was calling and we were beat so we came back and had a bbq with SCALLOPS AND SHRIMPIES and raosted marshmallows and bananas. oh! and vinea, a grape soda that is very wine-like. yum! the weather has been fantastic here with ne'er a cloud in the sky!

oh! oh! on the train back, we got to watch the countryside and it was sooo pretty! and there was a windmill farm! and these kids who were travelling were playing that game where you name things under a theme while clapping your hands and they were great fun! they were doing european capitals and got into an arguement about istambul... it is IN europe but is not a european capital! i only wish i was so fluent in another language that i could have a conversation like that... i am also going to refer to soccer as "american soccer" from now on!

today was busy with devin castle in the morning which was wonderful! it is a castle ruin with lots of great views of the danube and an archeological museum and beautiful walks by sculptures with fields of queen anne's lace behind us...

ate lunch at a grill that made wonderful kolbassa and drank kofala on tap. it is a dark soda made with the water left over from decaffinating coffee... it is not as sweet as most soda, and tastes a little like dr. pepper and is WONDERFUL stuff that packs a kick!

on the way home we walked through old town, enjoying the crazy statues and beautiful sights, and climbed st. michael's gate with weaponry museum, saw a reproduced pharmacy from several hundred years ago, stopped off at a few art galleries (and more coffee of course...) and then up to bratislava castle to walk the grounds, which also has wonderful views. this castle is under major reconstruction now, so we couldn't get inside.

we made it to the mall to see everyone and their dogs and enjoy all the sexy underwear shops... no really, we went to see the movie startrek which was awesome! the movie wasfun, the assigned seats were plush and comfy, the screen was huge, and you can buy wine and beer!

cabbage soup for dinner has left me a little gassy, but it was soo tasty and worth it! and i haven't gassed anyone out yet, so so far, so good! one more day here, and then we head out for the high tatras and slovensky raj (slovakian paradise). the only problem is, i don't want to leave!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

chesky raj

climbing in the czech republick is AWESOME! we started by taking a 2 hour busride up to cesky raj (czeck paradise) and asked the lovely lady at the info desk (who spoke english) about getting from jacin to the national park... she replied that we were already IN bohemian paradice, and where would we like to go specifically... so was got out hte map and dutifully got the bus schedule. the we headed over to the climbing store where we bought a book on climbing in the area. the helpful little man there told us the best places to go, helpfully explained that the bolts there (metal peices in the wall) were spaced 5-15 mters apart (yowza!), and that the sandstone was very soft, so no chalk or nuts (metal trad gear) in the rock, if you please.... yeah, yeah, yeah...

2 hours later we were hiking to the hostal. no such luck, they are not open for tourist season yet. so we hiked to the petrovsky skale (the pinnicles) and tried to find the routes the little man recommended. found some and realized that there are no bolts if you can place gear (to try and preserve the rock)... and that meant maybe one bolt if it was below a 5.10... so to climb something reasonable meant throwing trad gear in the wall... but no trad gear allowed... only rope knots! headed out to ponder this and find a place to sleep. hiked about 5km looking for a hostel and found a hotel room around 930pm.

in the morning we returned to the wall, climbed a friggin' 5.10 called "emporer's hat" to the top of a pinnicle (AWESOME view with lots of tourists taking our picture), and enjoyed being about as close as you can get to god without falling off a small roacky perch... curt estimates the top to be about 21 square feet...with commanding views...

clibed some other suff, placing rope instead of metal in the wall. "this knot is not a nut". the sandstone was so soft that we walked on sand on the ground, sand crumbled into our palms when we climbed, and i lost a foothold and scraped my shin on what felt like sandpaper! no wonder no metal!

we had a great time, and hiked 7km out to jicin this morning in the rain. the countryside is beautiful!

back in prague for the night where we are enjoying the buzz from our first absinthe... can accurately tell you that absinthe = drunk + happy!

tomorrow we head out for bratislava to see annie and sean! oh boy! we are leaving REALLY EARLY!!!! so now, i think, it is time for bed! hope you all are well!

Monday, May 4, 2009


we are safe and sound in Prague (Praha here)... it is absolutely georgeous! will add pics later! the old architecture is astounding, the former communist housing block where we are staying particularly mind numbing, and the food is suprisingly fantastic! i was a little scared!

for all those who know us, YES, we are consuming many fantastic and weird foods that are oh so tasty... and full of eggs, cabbage, strange meats foreign to our digestive tracts, and other gas producing items useful for propelling us up and down hills!

yesterday we hit the castle, many other bohemian landmarks, saw cz period dancing and art exhibits, and really enjoyed a stroll down by the river. this city does it right! and, had we been awake, it even has a great night life. recession, prague laughs at you! hahahahahahaha. that and the fact that we went over 36hours with no sleep. zombie tourists! waahoo!

on another note, the keyboards here are easily navigated, the facebook webpage is very funny looking in chesky, and in trying to find english we have both changed our pages to pirate! my status was update 2 grains of sand ago! hehehe

off to rockclimb in Jic(h)in at Cesky raj (pronounced chesky rai- means czech paradise) for the next few days... that and find out what the locals eat for breakfast! see yas!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

and we're off!

so it is derby weekend... and we have left the state! for some reason, horseracing seems to be lost on us!

so instead, we are in michigan with the kids. haveing a tumble before our flight to slovakia. the bags are packed, the climbing gear is sorted and stowed, the backpacking gear is downsized (amazing how little you need when you aren't sleeping in a tent!), and most importantly, the *CAREPACKAGE* is finished for annie and sean. deet nestled in plastic far far away from the peanut-butter chocolates i spent yesterday dipping.

so my stress level has plummetted in the last 12 hours! AND my sleep schedule is soooo screwy right now i think i am subsisting on caffeine and sugar, but that will only help my jet lag, right?! AND, curt hasn't killed or disowned me for being a tad on the short side lately... a fact he passes off as "well, you haven't even been home, so how could I?" hmmm. there's some truth to that!

so, we will be gone for 2 weeks. we will have shady e-mail access during that time. we will not have phone access. we will not be speaking english even! should be exciting! i can't wait!

i will update if we get the chance, but don't hold your breath!