Frost covered fairytale landscape, frozen river Vltava, 1900 style photoshoot and the coldest weekend of the winter
11.02.2012 - 12.02.2012 -30 °C
We thought Dusseldorf was cold. Heading to a taxi rank at 6 in the morning in order to get a lift to the airport, the Duke and I were congratulating ourselves we had the good sense of wearing gloves and hats, with the temperature meter pushing -15 degrees celsius. How deluded were we. A couple of hours later we arrived at the Prague airport and immediately realised the inadequacy of our wardrobes.
Already on the way to the bus stop, our nostrils started to stick together with every breath of the crisp air. Despite wearing boots, within seconds my feet started to freeze. And situation did not improve even when we boarded a bus to Dejvicka station, approximately a minute after leaving the arrival halls. My feet were gradually replaced with millions of ultra sharp needles, making me to question if I ever will be able to use them again.
By the time we were ready to order, it was past ten o'clock and so positively ravenous we ordered a light breakfast of fried cheese schnitzel with potatoes and tartar sauce for me and egg omelette with bacon for the Duke. We reckoned the only way to survive these temperatures was to start growing blubber.
Full and no longer at risk of hypothermia, we made a run for the train station and successfully boarded a train to Ceske Budejovice, from where we were three hours later collected by my brother, who took us to my parents house. By the time we arrived, it was almost 2 o'clock - a time to make a trip to the hospital to say hi to my dad. A couple of hours later, we were swapped by my sister and my mum on the visitors chairs and took the opportunity to stop in a local Tesco to shop for Saturday night's 'bonfire night' and Sunday's lunch.
Having arrived home around five o'clock, the house soon filled up and with a crackling fire in the fire place, we made open-fire sausages and spent the evening chatting and playing games. Before the weekend, in a quest to get everyone to switch off for one night and just relax, I took it upon myself to organise a 'bon fire' night. The turn up was fantastic, and even my aunt, cousin and my brother's two little ragrats were playing ball so happiness all around. Mission accomplished.
The mission was in fact so good, that the Duke and I were both looking forward to a nice lie-in on Sunday morning. My mom had another idea though and inspired by the approaching Valentine's day (I don't like Valentine's day but who am I to say not to a surprise present), she got us a photo shoot in the famous photo atelier - museum Seidl in Cesky Krumlov.
Great idea but the downside was, that we had to be there at 9am.
When we woke up, the temperature meter was showing below thirty and quick check with my brother confirmed that the previous night was the coldest this winter, with 75 weather stations announcing new temperature records. The highest measured was -36.3 degrees Celsius. Don't even ask what was the lowest. Not exactly keen to leave the house, I packed my camera and we set off (after we managed to start my dad's old car) in the general direction of Cesky Krumlov.
Needless to say we made some stops on the way to take great snaps of the frost covered landscape around us. The air was so cold that even with gloves and hat, my fingers go immediately numb as soon as I left the car for a few seconds to take a pic. Still, I persisted and the fruits of my labour can be seen in this blog.
The photo shoot was fantastic and despite initial scepticism, we had a great laugh. The highlight of the 'Valentine's package' was a museum tour, which thanks to the low temperatures was a private tour. Unsurprisingly noone else was keen to get up early on Sunday morning in this weather to visit a museum. Well, their loss.
After the photo shoot, we were just about driving away from the parking spot when we spotted a frozen over river Vltava. Now bare in mind, that Vltava is one of the rivers I frequently rafted down during my younger years. In particular the spot we were standing at was just after the weir, with the waves beautifully frozen into shape. This time I sent the Duke to take the picture as my hands were still trying to recover from the 100 meteres walk between the car and the photo aterlier.
Having made it back to my parents house ok, we spent the day lounging around the house avoiding the cold, until it was time to visit my dad at the hospital again and start making our way across half the country towards the Prague airport.