For summer vacation, we were adventurous and camped in the Czech wilderness.


Cesky Krumlov
Cesky Krumlov
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Religious Icon.

With the recent collapse of communism, the borders of this fine country have opened up for tourism. The Czech Republic is relatively unknown as a popular vacation spot, but recently things have improved. Having gone so often every year to France, we decided to try something different albeit a little bit more risky. But we enjoy challenging the unknown, so off we went. In order to get there it was necessary to drive across Germany, which we had never done before, but we made it without getting lost a single time. Highlights of the vacation included exploring the local villages, discovering the countryside, wild water canoeing 20 kms(!), and in the evenings rewarding ourselves with impressive campfires. In general, just taking it easy and enjoying the restful surroundings. After two weeks it was off to Switzerland!

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A view of the Lake Lipno
A view of the Lake Lipno.

Here to the right is a view of the Lake Lipno next to which we setup our campground. Unfortunately the weather was not ideal and it rained too much. One night our tent almost got blown away in a storm. When it was dry the kids could play outside, but the ground was pretty wet and muddy. Fortunately the campground had nice, warm showers and a restaurant to which we could escape. Otherwise we read and played games like Risk. When we took the car inland away from the lake, we were pleasantly surprised by sunny weather. Once we wanted to see Prague, the highways were so bad and far between that we gave up after driving two hours and not even getting one fourth of the way.

One of many small villages we canoed past.
One of many small villages we canoed past.

One day we rented two canoes and pretended to go white water rafting. During the canoe trip we paddled more than 20 kilometers (fortunately downstream), often having to carry the boats over the rocks when the water was too shallow. We enjoyed the views and occasionally passed quaint villages as you can see here to the left. By the end we were pretty tired, but someone picked us up in an old, rattling van and brought us back, speeding a bit too fast. Marlies and I manned the stress-boat with Maarten, as between us nothing went right and we kept complaining. Thea, Lennart and Sabien took it easy in the other canoe, swiftly passing us by with smiling faces. We rewarded ourselves afterwards at a fancy restaurant.

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Campfires, campfires, campfires...
Campfires, campfires, campfires...

The big highlight of the trip was the daily campfire when it turned dark. Lennart took charge of the event, as he knew better than everyone else how to construct it optimally and keep it lit for the longest time possible. After having arranged the large stones in a circle, the pieces of wood were collected and shaped into a pyramid. Each day during our car ride, we would pull over next to a forest, run like maniacs into the woods, and gather tons of sticks and logs for the upcoming bonfire. All piled onto the back seat of my nice, neat car. But it was well worth it, a family experience sitting around in the dark, talking and making jokes, looking up at the millions of stars in the sky, amazingly clear. Lennart bought a so-called Laser light (illegal in Holland) and flashed it on distant objects, and Maarten had to throw a new bunch of dry twigs on the fire about every five minutes...

The kids overlooking the town of Cesky Krumlov.
The kids overlooking the town of Cesky Krumlov.
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