Thursday, November 10, 2011

Some Days are Stranger Than Others

I wasn't planning on doing a post until after we'd left Cesky Krumlov but sometimes a situation just calls for it and today was one of those days. We made our way to the tiny little UNESCO world heritage town today and had to park right at the outskirts since the inner core of the town is supposed to be car free (I say "supposed" because I couldn't help but notice the number of cars driving through the streets as we hauled our luggage around). Even though the trip only took two and a half hours, I was a little grumpy upon arrival. I didn't sleep well last night and when we parked I really had to go to the bathroom.

We finally found our hotel and hauled our stuff up to the third floor and were pleasantly surprised to find that the room was larger than we had anticipated. Then Jacob noticed the giant, white fur rug in the middle of the floor. Then we noticed the two giant wild boar "rugs", then the ring of nine fox carcasses strung around one of the banisters, then another smaller pig, a badger, an otter, four brown/black skins of indeterminate origin and something with a tail that I swear was a dog. Oh and a stuffed pheasant. In total, 19 dead animals in one hotel room. It was almost as though a forest had regurgitated. Jacob and Vaughn were horrified and wanted to leave but I convinced them that I could neatly stack everyone but the fox garland into a corner in the room, an activity that unfortunately and inexplicably separated a boar from one of its hooves.

We ended up having to leave the hotel after all because their internet was down and both Jacob and I have job interviews in the next 24 hours. After hauling our bags to four different places we finally found one that, while small, has working internet and was reasonably priced. Thankfully Vaughn hasn't seen The Shining and so he won't be disturbed by the creepy twins picture hanging above his bed.

Unfortunately our new hotel was without a kitchen so we set out in search of some dinner and amazingly, we found a tiny vegetarian restaurant. The place was small, barely heated and a little too cobwebby for comfort but the menu was pretty appetizing and it was a vegetarian restaurant after all. It was really early according to European dining standards but the place was empty and the enthusiasm of the owner (who was also the cook and our server) gave us the impression we might be the only diners that night. He had a friend back in the kitchen who came out and sat down to sip his yerba matte at the table across from us but got up and retreated back into the kitchen about five minutes later never to be seen again.

About three-quarters of the way through the meal our owner/server/cook came out to ask us where we were from. Somehow this led into questions about the U.S. economy, the housing market, California declaring bankruptcy, the election, the state of the Republican party, whether the U.S. would really elect a Mormon, and the federal vs. state funding breakdown for just about every tax-payer funded system you can imagine. Jacob and I were tired and while we were happy to oblige (mostly by making things up), we tried to get off the hook by just periodically interjecting, "You're so right" into the conversation. At this point he had pulled up a chair across from us and started in on the state of the European economy and what it meant for the global market, his voice often rising to shouting levels. At around 45 minutes, he seemed to be slowing down, wistfully looking off into space and wondering what the future held when all of a sudden he reinvigorated himself by saying, "And we haven't even begun to talk about the environment!" Would he ever let us go? He was incredibly smart, like-minded and well-versed but we had long since finished our dahl and just wanted to go move the car so we could return to the hotel.

So that pretty much sums up our first day in Cesky Krumlov. The town looks adorable and I'm looking forward to wandering around tomorrow when I'm well-rested. Plus, like all modern Czech cities I see they have a Museum of Torture.

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