WTF was I thinking when I decided to take a holiday in the Czech Republic in winter. Don't get me wrong, it is very beautiful here, and the snow on everything is beautiful, and well, cold, but if I don't get to speak English to someone soon other than to the wonderful people at the Tourist Information Centre (these people are really good) then I am going to go mad. There is almost nobody here who has more than a few sentences of English. The only tourists I see here are large groups of Japanese tourists who descend for a few hours and then leave. Every day brings a couple more busloads. I am very jealous of them. The Czech Republic is a lovely place, filled with lovely people, but, damnit, right now I need some companionship.
Today, to make a change from trudging around in the snow in Český Krumlov, I decided to trudge around in the snow in Rožmbeck, a small village about 24km up the Vltava. The bus ride up there was very beautiful, past the snow covered banks of the river, where pine forests come down to the water's edge, and where some of the trees (and surprisingly big ones at that) have buckled and broken under the weight of the snow. Eventually the bus pulled into Rožmbeck and I alighted, only to discover that Rožmbeck had apparently closed for the winter. I stood on the bridge and stared at the river for a bit, before wandering up the path to see what I could of the famed castle here. The answer? Bugger all. So I wandered back to the bridge and threw snow into the water. This excited some ducks as they thought I was throwing in bread. Fat chance, if I had bread I would have eaten it to keep warm. The snow that I threw into the river didn't melt, the water was that cold. I stood some more, before tramping up and down by the bus stop, that helpfully didn't have a timetable and waited. An hour and a half passed. Occassionally I would walk back to the bridge to tease the ducks. Then I cleared all the snow and ice off the seat at the bus stop. Hell, it was something to do. An old Czech crone came up and waited with me. This was very reassuring. Some more time passed.
A bus came.
Back in the village I bought a day old Guardian for the equivalent of two quid. I read it all and did both crosswords while drinking tea and eating food.
Tonight I am having a beer or two and then I am going to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. One of the lovely ladies at the TIC here assures me it will be in English. I hope so. And if and when it is I am going to feel bloody superior at being able to understand it all.
I am sure that Hell is not all fire and brimstone. Oh no, it is cold and it is damp. And it is closed, for all eternity.
My next holiday will be spent somewhere hot. Cricket season be damned (to a cold closed village), I'm sick of taking my holidays in winter.