|Joseph and Matt battle the elements in the Czech Republic.|
In between my two semesters of study in Marburg Germany, my good friend Mike came to visit me for three weeks of gallivanting across Europe during which one of our more memorable stops was Bozi Dar in the Czech Republic. Bozi Dar is a tiny hamlet on the border of Germany and the Czech Republic that revolves around its ski resort and promised a cheap alternative to the crowded slopes of the Alps. Mike and I had been in Prague for a couple days before and then headed off to Bozi Dar, which meant a train, then a bus, followed by local transport.
Being so small, English wasn’t widely spoken, and upon our arrival I asked the bus driver if he knew where the town was. He responded with a puzzled look. I then tried again in German with a similar result, after which he shrugged his shoulders, closed the door and drove off. Great.
Finding ourselves outside a small B&B we decided to see if there was anyone we could communicate with inside. After a semi-coherent conversation in German, Mike and I had some idea of where to go, we were told it would only be about a two kilometre walk to the ski village. We set off in the -20 degree weather with winds whipping in our faces and backpacks strapped to our fronts and backs.
After about an hour and half trudging uphill in ankle deep snow we found the hotel at the top of the ski hill we were under the impression was ours. Of course this was not the case and yet again no one spoke English or German. Just as we were about to throw in the towel and give up a maintenance worker on the lifts overheard us and approached us asking if we needed some help, in English. At last!
Unfortunately we were then informed that in fact the village we wanted was back at the base of the hill, about twenty minutes away from where we had started.
So nearly three hours later we finally were in the right place and proceeded to try and find a decent place to stay, and that’s when we found out it was a holiday weekend in the Czech Republic and just about everywhere was fully booked. After wandering the village for another half hour and ready to collapse from cold and exhaustion we found somewhere to stay where we promptly cracked a beer, collapsed in our beds and proceeded to watch some terrible Czech TV and a movie about Werewolves in German which I attempted (quite poorly) to translate for Mike’s benefit.
Though probably the most difficult/frustrating destination the skiing made up for our trials and tribulations. Though we both vowed that next time we decided to go to an off the beaten path town with a population under 1,000 perhaps learning a few key words like “Where is the...” might save us some sore muscles and cursing, but it ended up being one of those experiences I’ll always remember.
Joseph White is a history major in his fourth year at Laurier. He minors in political science and German and spent the Fall and Winter semesters of 2009/2010 in Marburg, Germany.