Noilly Prattle: Hunting for Food...and other things

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hunting for Food...and other things

My road buddy (promoted from “the SO”, then “my wife”) decided to hit the road within the road, so to speak. I hate phrases like “so to speak” or “as they say” or “as it were” but sometimes they are unavoidable—like a short cut or a detour. But, first, a little detour to splain how the SO evolved into my road buddy.

good road buddies
Over a glass of wine (in vino veritas) I said to my wife: “You know (and I'm not overly fond of “you know”, but you know how it is, you know?), you've been a good road buddy all these years.” And drank a toast to it. Then, remembering one of our first travels together, I continued: “Remember that horrible flophouse in Bangkok? Of course she remembered. “You didn't freak out. That's when I knew you'd be a good road buddy.”

Now that that's cleared up, on to the story of the hunts.

principal cast of "Maria Stuarda"
On a side trip by train from Prague for a few days to go to Linz for a production of Donizetti's opera “Maria Stuarda”, with a couple of stops along the route to see some castles and a medieval town. BTW, in case you haven't noticed, there are castles galore in the Czech Republic and in the rest of Europe for that matter.

Before going on to Linz, two days in Ceske Krumlov (a world heritage town); but pictures can say more about that beautiful town than words. On the return trip from Linz we got off the train in Ceske Budejovice (the original home of Budweiser beer) to take a local bus to a town called Hluboka nad Vltavou pod Kostelem (try saying that without biting your tongue). Here is where the story of the hunts begins.

First hunt: My road buddy's guidebook said there was a bus stop in front of Ceske Budejovice station where we could catch a bus up to the castle town. When we walked outside there were several bus stops all right but with all the schedules in Czech which neither of us can read. We were able to figure out by the transit map that we should take bus #4, but each stop we looked had any number but #4. Getting a little anxious and antsy now—new town, difficult language and only sporadic English speakers. At the last bus stop and no #4 I tapped a young woman on the shoulder and asked in very simple English and gestures where we could find #4. She seemed to have a halting knowledge of English and smiled (I smiled too, not to say 'beamed' back) and asked us to come with her saying: “We'll find it.” Back down the row of the wrong bus stops; she suggested we go across the street where there were more stops. Thanks and thanks and bowing and swearing eternal indebtedness we parted from the good samaritan and went to other side where we found #4 at the absolute last bus stop. Perfect strangers can be guardian angels I swear to the great spirit of the universe. Hugh sigh of relief!

Second hunt: We were staying at the Hotel Stekl annexed to Zamek Castle, which is what we stopped in Hluboka to see. We stayed in a castle as it were (there I go again!) Anyway, this story is getting longish. Sometimes you can't get started and then you can't stop writing.

I've got a few photos I want to tack on so I think I'll stop here and finish about the hunts next time. Serials and cliff hangers shorten the attention span required for reading and hopefully whet the appetite, or the curiosity, for the rest of the story. I wouldn't want to bore the audience.

my first impression of Zamek Castle

To be cont'd.  


Anonymous said...

how wonderful that you have such a GREAT 'road buddy'!! Love cliffhangers…(incidentally what the heck happened to your travels in the slit the goat country?)


Noilly Prattle said...

I'm sojourning in the present at the moment and will get back to the slit of fond memory, especially with the sword at the throat of present day Iran, later. Knowing Iran first hand, it really galls me to see the shit going down today.