Flashback Friday…. Monday, May 14th, 2001. Have you ever thought about doing something out of the ordinary when you travel? When I think back to my travels through Europe in 2001, a couple of things come to mind: pub crawl in Bath, England and rafting down the river in Cesky Krumlov.
Rafting had never been part of the plan until I got to Cesky Krumlov. That is where I met these great people who were staying at the same hostel as me…. Hostel 99. Nate, Vicki, Dale, Chris, Simon, Carrie. They helped me get out of norm of what I thought travel through Europe, in general, would be and do something different while on the road. As you can guess, it was rafting down the Vltava River in this picturesque town that wasn’t even on my itinerary of places to visit on this trip. All I can say is I am so glad I decided to be spontaneous and not stick to any particular plan.
As I think back to those few days in this town, I can see the day as if it was yesterday. I remember walking through the village in the morning and then running into Carrie as I was heading back to the hostel. She asked me if I wanted to grab some lunch; found this internet cafe where I chose the toasted cheese sandwich. After lunch, Carrie said we would be going rafting at 2:00 pm so I walked back to the hostel which is where we would be meeting with the rest of the group.
Wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I got back to the hostel, I ran into Chris. He wanted to see if I wanted to walk downtown and see more of the village. How could I say no? I didn’t. We left the hostel and walked around for a bit before we headed back around 1:00. Then we waited around for a bit before we left with Nate, Vicki, Dale and Carrie. Simon decided not to go rafting with us but would be meeting up with us later that night.
We walked down to the rental place to rent the raft. Wish I could remember the name of the place where we rented it? One thing I remember about rafting down the river, more than anything else, is the rental shop gave us a small bottle of rum for our trip down the Vltava River. I have never known of any place that would do that; came as a surprise to me. Who knows? Maybe they thought we would row better if we drank while we were rafting…. It stuck out to me because this is something that wouldn’t happen if you were rafting down the Merced River in Yosemite National Park. I could go on about the reasons that wouldn’t happen in Yosemite but wouldn’t want to bore you.
Another thing that was interesting is that we didn’t have to wear life jackets on this trip. I have always had to wear a life jacket whenever I was out on the water rafting. Not on this trip…. It was 2:30 by the time we left the rental shop. That would give us four hours on the river; the guy from the shop would be picking us up at 6:30 when we got to the end.
How I wish I could remember all that we saw while we were out on the river that day. What I do remember is trees, of course, on both sides of the river, log cabin out in the middle of nowhere, and how peaceful it was floating down the river with no one in sight. Basically we were the only ones out there that day; probably a good thing since we hit a few rapids on the way. Can I say you feel the water more when you are sitting in the front of the raft? That is where I ended up sitting and I felt everything more from that part of the raft then if I was sitting towards the back.
I am so glad I decided to go rafting; one of the best experiences of my life. It was surreal rafting down the Vltava River in the Czech Republic. I couldn’t believe I actually did this. To this day, I still can’t believe I went rafting in another country.
We got to the end by 6:00 and waited for the van to pick us up and take us back into town. After we got back to town, we didn’t head straight to our hostel. We headed to one of the restaurants for dinner. I wish I could remember the name of the place since I had one of the best meals which consisted of pork stuffed with ham and cheese. Wish I could replicate the meal here but know it wouldn’t be quite as good as I remember it. Then after finishing dinner, we headed back to the hostel for a bit before heading into the village so we could see it lit up at night.
Wish the picture didn’t come out blurry. What can you do when someone else is taking a picture with your camera? I am grateful for the photo because it is a reminder of the wonderful time spent in Cesky Krumlov with this group of people. Anyway after stopping for this photo op, we walked towards the castle and square. Can I say how beautiful this place is at night…..? After walking around for a bit, we headed back to the hostel and stayed up talking until two in the morning. As much fun as I had with these people; there is one thing I wish I could have changed. As we sat around talking, I remember Chris asking me, “Kim, you don’t talk much, do you?”
Shyness has always been my crutch; traveling helped me break free from it. Except the shyness would still creep in when I was around a lot of people. Not the usual one or two people but group of more than five or six. Hanging out with this group helped me embrace my shyness and try and get over my nervousness by hanging out with them and stepping out of my comfort zone. Which I did….
What have you done in your travels that you wouldn’t have done otherwise? Was it zip lining in Hawaii? Was it paragliding in Interlaken? Was it rafting in Cesky Krumlov? What did you wish you got to do but didn’t get around to doing while traveling?