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The Czech List: Friday 29th August

This was our last day in the country, so I insisted on a supermarket stop to purchase sweets, chocolate, and Fernet Stock Mango & Ginger. It's probably just as well my foreign purchases are limited by luggage space.

The roads, though scenic, were filled with lorries, but as we headed north into less inhabited areas the traffic thinned out. We stopped at a roadside bar which didn't look very promising, but a friendly landlady helped us out with the menu and soon we were eating fried cheese with oven chips. Howard continued his journey of discovery through the native lagers, while I had Kofola, which was formerly Communism's answer to Coke and tastes like an unholy mixture of cola and root beer. The radio shifted from something incomprehensible in Czech to 'Black Velvet', and I smiled at the foreignness of it all. (When we left, it was a rather nice Czech cover of 'The Boxer'.)

The border with Poland was close, and we crossed it to see what we could see. I immediately felt a lot further from home and a little anxious, especially when the tarmac on the road we were following vanished into mud and we had to turn round. Then we arrived in a beautiful national park with a smooth road surface, allowing Howard to enjoy the corners and me the views.

We refuelled before returning to the Czech Republic, and a nice petrol station attendant gave me a zloty for my collection of small-denomination coins from the countries I've visited.

What we returned into was the area known as Bohemian Switzerland for its forests and rocky mountains. Evening sunshine alternated with driving rain, and we stopped to don waterproofs. I was amused by the sign for Turnov at which, beautifully, we did indeed turn off, and by the town of Horní Police, then we took smaller and smaller roads upwards to our hotel.

Our last night in the Czech Republic was spent just a few kilometres from the northern border with Germany, in a spa hotel whose welcoming receptionist let us park the bikes outside the front door. This was by far the nicest place we stayed in terms of staff, facilities, room and food; I enjoyed a swim before a dinner which included wild boar and Aperol ice cream.

Miles: 256.3

Poland, looking all Polish Carved figures outside a hotel in Poland Ha ha, Horni Police.

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I misread that as Ferret Stock Mango.
I'd drink that!
a dinner which included wild boar and Aperol ice cream.

I take it that's "wild boar and (Aperol ice cream)", not "(wild boar and Aperol) ice cream"? Not that the latter wouldn't be interesting gustatory experiment.
Right the first time - nor were they part of the same course, though that could have worked!
That said, there is great merit in cooking with liqueurs, especially Grand Marnier. ^_^ (Haven't tried Aperol, though I've seen it in the supermarket I frequent. Is it something you'd recommend?)
I'm sure it could be used in cooking somehow, but nothing immediately occurs. I did slosh some Fernet Stock Citrus in my pasta the other night, though...
Not wishing to be a party pooper, or anything, but is it actually wise to be drinking lager at lunchtime then biking in the afternoon? (Especially in a country where the legal drink-driving limit is zero.)

It's sounding like you had a lot of fun, though. It's been ages since I last went on a proper road trip. Probably 2001, actually. /-8
Well, it's not really my business! (It's something I occasionally do in the UK, or France, with a meal when there's cider.)
For that matter, I guess it's not really my business either. Though I do feel some kind of nebulous social responsibility to help people bear that kind of consideration in mind!

(In fairness, this is probably displaced guilt from not realising how bad it was that my father drove while drunk on a literally daily basis when I was a kid. He did finally get a richly-deserved driving ban.)
It's tricky - I had a ne'er-do-well neighbour who confided in me one morning that he shouldn't be driving due to overindulgence. If he'd killed someone, would it have been my fault?
especially when the tarmac on the road we were following vanished into mud

Ahh, now that's where the fun begins. =:D But, I've only been on two wheels a couple times, as a passenger. (Great fun, but I'm not sure I'd be up for the hazard factor, given the fun motorbiking friends have endured) I was always one for encouraging Mum to take the rental car on the occasional trip to Spain or the Canaries into the interior, onto the most insignificant roads.. you know the kind, where after an hour, it's a blessed relief to be on road, real road again. ^_^

(As the great bunny said, "Ain't I a stinker?")

Ah, if only the UK would join the Schengen Zone. I'm tired of all these wretched borders. (And the cost of passports hardly seems to be going down..)

and a nice petrol station attendant gave me a zloty

I'd vaguely thought Poland had joined the Eurozone, but, nope - Wikipedia confirms the zloty remains the national currency. I am now very slightly less ignorant than earlier today. ^_^ I do still miss some of the old currencies, even if I'm fully in favor of the Euro - the Franc had some gorgeous designs, and then there was that heavyweight 5DM coin.

wild boar and Aperol ice cream

Oooo, that sounds fairly wonderful. =:9 What was the boar served with? I'd go with something like new potatoes, maybe thick noodles or spëtzle, and cabbage, maybe red in the German style, cooked with vinegar, cloves, and sugar. (So good!) And what is Aperol like anyway? Not a liqueur I've tried, though I've seen it in the local Sainsbury.

Aperol is sweeter than Campari, so I prefer it as a spritz. Boar was with croquette potatoes - yum! - and...what's that vegetable that ends up a bit like tagliatelle?

The Czech Republic has also stuck with its own koruna although it joined the EU in May 2004 (I was there).

I also miss all the old currencies - I have to collect Euro cents with different countries on, instead! I find Swiss coins very pretty, and some Danish ones have holes in!