We're into our last week of the camp before we head back home. We don't travel home until Monday but considering that we've been here all month, it seems like the trip has flown by.
Right now we're staying in Liberec, CZ, in the Dukla's athlete/employee housing. The Dukla is a nationwide athletic club with locations around the Czech. It's funded by the government and free for the athletes. We're lucky enough to be able to tag along with them; I think it's pretty unusual for athletes outside of the Czech Republic to stay here.
Liberec's been a great place to train out of. There's a nice rollerski course just outside of the city that we raced at Saturday. In the evenings, we can go over to a little building with a sauna, pool, cold tub and whirlpool. They have a weight room inside and soccer fields, volleyball courts and soccer courts behind the Dukla that we can use. For meals, we walk down to a restaurant that has a meal plan for us. Breakfast is great and the lunch and dinners are usually pretty good, although the fried cheese and potatoes that they served us the other day for lunch was not my favorite. Some of the guys liked it, but it was just too much for me.
While we're here, we've been jumping the K120 as much as possible. It's a great hill and it's really helpful to get some consistent training in on a large hill. The Czech special jumping team is here as well. It's pretty amazing how good some of these guys are when you're there to watch them on the hill. One of the jumpers, Jakub Janda, won the World Cup overall title in '06, and Antonin Hajek, another Czech jumper, jumped five meters short of the world record one of his first times ski flying. He's on their B-team!
Since we've had more time in Liberec than anywhere else, we took the day off on Sunday to visit Prague.
I've been to downtown Munich, but other than that I haven't done much sight-seeing while in Europe. Prague was an absolutely amazing city to see! We spent the whole day touring the city and I was still amazed at the architecture when we left.
Every hour in Old Town Square, this clock comes to life. You can't really see it from this picture but there's two windows above the clock that open up, and little wooden figures appear. I found a video that shows it more clearly than I can explain. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D02rvtCIei8
At the beginning of the day we climbed up a 30 story watch tower to get a full view of the city. Of course, a photo can't really capture the stunning view.
The two pictures above are of the Prague castle. The flags are up, which means the King was there when we visited. It was originally built in the 9th century, but was renovated and added to much more in the 13th and 14th centuries. It's considered the largest "ancient" castle in the world. I found it astonishing how no single design detail was left unnoticed. The smallest, most benign thing, like a nook in a wall, or a door handle, would be a work of art. I can't imagine all the years of work that have went into that place.
Where am I?