begins(Vsetín, Zlinsky Kraj, Czech Republic)– Sunday. So like it’s the end of Daylight Savings Time in this part of the world. My alarm went off at 6 a.m. (5 a.m. now) in spite of it and probably to spite me. I wasn’t able to “fall back” so I got up. Sunday morning and the world in this part of the world was still sleeping except the guy who likes to ring the church bells at all hours. But it turned out to be a glorious day…for a hike in the hills.

As you may have known or not, I have been having a little problem with pain in my left knee. No biggie. Somedays it is ok to walk and other days it sucks pond water to go across the street to the bakery. (It’s the cream filled pastures which really get me up and out). Anyway, I have been seeing a doctor who  gave me an anti-inflammatory spray which I use morning and night. I’m not sure if it works but the knee seems to be getting better. It doesn’t cause me much pain all of the time anymore. It may be age or it may be something else. So beginning in November I will be going to physical therapy to see if that helps. If it doesn’t then the doc will do surgery. Of course after every visit he tells me to try and keep off the leg. Understandably that is pretty close to impossible because I teach all afternoon and evening and need to be mobile. Then there are the hikes. I haven’t told the doctor that I go on these hike things. I’m probably not helping matters but I can’t sit at home watching cat videos (although they are pretty cool)or sitting on my washer so it doesn’t dance around the bathroom during the spin cycle. Besides I don’t have that many clothes to wash.

So today was one of those “hike” days. This time our destination was a pub on top of a hill in Pržno not too far from Vsetín and Jablůnka. (Do you like my Czech diacriticals? Sometimes I am too cool for school!) My friend Zuzka brought me walking sticks that her dad uses. They kept me going when the road went up (which is usually the way when one is climbing a hill, I guess). Lots of kids and adults made the day terrific.

By the time we reached the pub I was ready to eat anything. I was not disappointed. My friend Susan had fried cheese (my favorite so far…next to pork knees and buckwheat pancakes with raspberries and ice cream…and a bunch of other awesome foods). While I was waiting for my lunch I tried to distract her so I could grab one of the cheesy things. She’s way too quick and I have lost a beat since I used to pickpocket in the train station years ago. But that is another story for another time. Finally a plate of chicken kebob arrived and I inhaled the whole thing including the knife and fork. It was too too good for words so I won’t waste any. Just take my word for it I’m an honest man.

Coming down the hill would seem to be easier but in some ways it hurt a bit more with the incline and everything, but that’s where the sticks came in handy yet again. It was a great day being with all the folks I have come to appreciate since I have been here. Things could be difficult if it weren’t for the people both students and co-workers who have made my stay here in the Czech Republic enjoyable and welcoming. I have many “angels” in this part of the world.

Now if I can only figure out how to keep the damn alarm clock from going off at the butt crack of dawn.

and so it goes…