Thursday, August 7, 2008

Passing Wind in the Halls of the Mighty.


Full of pork and beer I make my escape from the clutches of Prague. A very beautiful city full of lunatics, drunks, and drunk lunatics (I include myself in that category). It's about 8:30 in the evening and the sun has set long before I leave the city limits. I'm doing the one thing I said I wasn't going to do on this trip. No, not drinking and driving. I got over that moral hurdle many years ago when I realized my hand-eye coordination actually improved with the consumption of alcohol. You should see me at the go cart track with a couple dozen Red Bull and vodkas in me. You would think I was Mario Andretti on crack. Or maybe Tom Cruise from Days of Thunder without crack!

No the thing I promised myself I wouldn't do is driving at night. A dozen beers is one thing but lack of visibility and sleep can make riding dangerous. Not to mention the fact that I came here to see the country and it's hard to do that from the highway at night. But like most things I promise myself I won't do I find myself armed with the name of a town and a map written on the back of an envelope as I make my way out into the night. The temperature drops with every kilometer I put behind me. It feels like I'm gaining some altitude and the crispness of the air reminds me of the my ride through Manning Park in Canada. I shift around on my seat and wiggle my fingers to keep myself warm. I read the road signs to keep me awake as the beers start to wear off me and the events of the day start to wear on me. I was hoping to make it to Bratislava today but as I read the distances to various places I realize I have no chance. The city of Brno (Could I buy a vowel?) is coming up and if I want to get to Mikulov I need to take the right turn. Based on my experience so far in Europe I won't make the right turn so I have to factor turn around time into my estimated time of arrival. The way I figure it, at the speed I'm going, if everything goes as smooth as it has thus far I will make the village by 10:00pm. Is that a droplet of water on my face shield? Oh no! Rain... and lots of it. By the time I make it to the next gas station to put on my rain gear I'm already frozen and soaked. This sucks.
I fill up with gas, and start going through my bags looking for my gear when I realize I'm shivering so bad I can't open the zipper. Perhaps I should go inside and warm up? Coffee has never tasted so good in my life. In fact I stay for a couple of more before I rummage through my stuff and get myself water proofed. I've lost an hour. I get back on the road and I find myself slowed down considerably and all those trucks I passed earlier get to see me again. It's really cold and the 100 kilometer per hour wind doesn't help as it rips at all the seams where I'm not covered. The road is windy and windy (read that phonetically as 'WHY - N - DEE' and 'WI - N - DEE') or perhaps I should say curvey with strong gusts of wind. I'm really not enjoying myself but at least the beers I have in my luggage are getting nice and cold. The paramedics will have something to drink as they scrape my dead body off the road. I take the right turn for a change but I'm moving slow. When I see the sign that reads 'MIKULOV' I am overjoyed. I made it! Now if I can figure out a way to be indoors for the night that would be a bonus. I look over my notes and make my way up the hill into town. My first turn out of the gas station gets me stopped by the cops pulling into the station. They say something to me, I point to the town and tell them where I'm going. They say something else and shake there heads. I ignore them and continue on. I realize what they were trying to tell me as I turn around at the end of the dead end street I turned up. I pass them again and wave as I see them laughing at me.

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I'm starting to worry now. Everything seems to be closed. Anna did mention that if I had problems finding a place look for an Irish Pub and ask the people inside to get me sorted. My instincts tell me this isn't true but I'm going to believe Anna. My life experience has taught me that Irish pubs are the last place I should go when I need anything that doesn't involve beer or whiskey. By 12:30 I have been up and down every street in the town and everything is closed. I breakdown and pull into the pub. A very uncomfortable feeling comes over me when I walk into the place. Something about an Irish pub in Eastern Europe just doesn't quite wash with me. I order a beer and use that change in my pocket. I empty the glass in one long smooth pull and I order another. I sit down and get myself settled down. The ride has me a little unnerved and I need to regain my composure. I have enough change for one more beer and I make use of it. This time I ask the girl if she knows of a place to stay. She directed me out the back door. As it turns out the Irish pub shared space with a hotel. Ingenious! I go to the front desk to check in only to find out that there was no vacancy. OK... time to call Anna. She won't mind. It's only 1:00 in the morning. Funny thing is, she wasn't sleeping yet. Fortunately she knew Mikulov very well. "Go down to the highway, passed the whore houses and casinos, to the gas station, across the street is a hotel that will be open."...click. OK maybe she was asleep. I follow her directions... Hold on? Whore houses? Casinos? Where the heck did she send me? Cute little town with castle and cousins cafe. That's what she said. Where in the travel brochure does it mention whore houses and casinos? Anyways. I don't see the establishments of ill repute on my way to the gas station. I go to the front desk and check in is a breeze. I'm so tired. The room has three beds in it, but I only use one. Here's the view I wake up to.
Anna told me I had to go to her cousins cafe for a palicenke (read: crepe). I ride around the town until I find the Petite Cafe (French for small cafe).
The courtyard was very peaceful and there were apartments all around me. I really enjoyed the setting. It's truly a shame everyone smokes so damn much.
Now here's the breakfast of champions. Of course, to get the true experience it tastes better with a cigarette.
After breakfast I toured about the village. I stopped and asked Jesus why he had forsaken me the evening before. I mean, it was bad enough that it was cold and dark. Why did he have to make it rain on me? Did he even know how much pain I was in? He didn't say anything. I imagine if he were to respond it would be to tell me that no matter how much pain I was in, it was nothing compared to how painful it was when he died on the cross for my sins. And then he would start reminding me about the sins I commited and then I would try to change the subject and he would be like, "Whatever, I'll see you in hell" and I would be like, "I thought I was forgiven" and then he would be like,"Yeah... about that...".
I finally got to the top of the hill to take a look at the palace. I rode my bike around the gardens like I owned the place and I parked by the gates to take a nice photo. I'm sure at one time in history this place was gaurded against people like me.
Now it's just a 25 cent tour. I wandered around outside the place taking in the grandeur of the place. I noticed an open door around the side and I decided to take a peak inside. As I wandered through the hallways the crepes, coffee, and beer started to catch up with me and I found myself giggling with delight as I made triumphant sounds out of my nether regions. The acoustics of the place created an echo of flatulence that resounded through the great halls within. With every turn another note from the brass section was delivered with enthusiasm. The attack of the tuba as the sound climbed the scale with a sustain and decay that lasted five strides. I was moving too fast to notice any smell, but I was sure that this dog had as much bite as it did bark. With no one around to enjoy the crescendo of my symphony I feel a bit of disappointment as I release the final note. A deep baritone sound working its way up to a tenor. One, one thousand, two, one thousand, three, one thousand, four, one thousand, five, one thousand, six. I believe I have soiled myself ever so slightly. The paintings around me look at me with disgust. Then a hand on my shoulder. It turns out I'm not allowed to be in here. The language barrier is always handy in these situations but having intestinal problems makes people want to release you from their custody as soon as possible. They walk me to the gate and ask me not to return. I never even had a chance to find out who's palace this was anyways.

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1 comment

McColl Magazine said...

Whose Palace Is This?

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