Hello Orienteering Fans!! My name is Barbara Ziolkoski and I get the honor of writing a blog tonight. I want to start off by thanking The young kids who sent us that long poster. That was really awesome and it has really motivated me to train harder. The Czech Republic is a very beautiful country and if you ever get the chance to visit Prague I definitely recommend that you take the opportunity. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. We are currently staying in Trutnov which is a pretty small town but it is nice. There is a shopping plaza, a gas station, and a Lidl store which is a mix of Sams Club and Aldi. The hills we have been running on are more like mountains. The sprint training we have been doing has been my favorite. We went into a town where they were having a rennaissance fair. If you look up my name on facebook you can look at all of the pictures I have put up from this trip.
The other day when we were doing a middle course I was having a series of unfortunate events. Not only did I mess up on almost every single point but while I was heading to my second to last point there was a person with a dog, not on a leash, and I tried to go uphill and around them but the dog saw me and started to chase me. I started sprinting without thinking and when it got close behind me I just stopped and prayed that it would not bite me because there is no way I am going to a hospital especially in a foreign country. Luckily it did not bite me and the owner managed to call it back. As soon as the dog went away I sprinted straight to the finish. So far that is my most exciting and scary story. 5 More days till JWOC!!
Erin frequently asks us to picture going through the day backwards as a mental exercise. So here is my day yesterday backwards:
Last night I fell asleep listening to the steady drip-drop of my clothes slowly drying. I had spent over an hour scrubbing at my disgusting, muddy clothes in the hotel sink before hanging them up on every available hook and clothes hanger. My roommate was complaining that I was airing out my shoes on her side of the room, so I moved them. Before that, I played a couple of rounds of Word Bandit, and as usual there were multiple discussions as to what qualified as a word. During the team meeting, we talked about the course we ran and its associated triumphs and challenges. For dessert, I ate a nectarine. Dinner was chicken and potatoes, nothing all that surprising. Meg said the soup looked like brains, but I ate mine anyway. Before dinner we played a variety of games. I triumphed over Izzy in Egyptian Ratscrew and learned a new card game from Erin. We did our conditioning exercises in the hallway to avoid the cold wet weather outside. It must have sounded like a stampede of elephants to the floor below. There was a heated discussion as to whether Missouri was part of the South or not. I noticed some of the boys didn’t eat as much as usual at lunch. On the way back from training, Marianne’s car stopped at a McDonalds. After training, most people changed into some dryer clothes. During the race Erin set up, I feel like I had a clean enough run. Overall, I think I’ve improved in my accuracy some over the past week of training. I had some problems with some of the controls where I was extremely close, but just didn’t see them. Luckily, I was able to recognize my attack point, realize I was close, and slow down. Having real control flags out there instead of streamers, and a clue sheet separate from my map will probably help. Before the race, we warmed up in the cold, rainy weather. The drive to the training was mostly uneventful. We listened to a Czech radio station, and tried to guess what they were saying in the ads. I was sleepy at breakfast, and quietly ate my food and sipped hot tea. At 7:45 I rolled out of bed after an hour of being awake.
After 5 days here in the Czech Republic, I am starting to know the drill. When we wake up, we go to breakfast. At 9:30, we head to the vans and go to the training for the day. All of the trainings so far have been lots of fun, and really helpful.
Michael and I flew into Berlin, unlike most of the other juniors. We had to take a train from there to Prague. That day was super exhausting, seeing as I had only slept 6 hours from the time I left to the time I went to bed 2 days later. When we arrived in Hradec Kralove for the training that day, I was pretty tired. We only did one training that day, a group course against the rest of the team.
Since we arrived, I've done numerous courses and made a lot of new friends. One of the most fun days was when we went to Prague for the day. We took a 3 hour train there in the morning, at 6:40 to be exact. When we arrived there, Duncan immediately wanted to go. But after acquiring maps, and using the bathroom, we were finally ready to go. The one thing we didn't want to miss was the changing of the guard at the castle. Keeping that in mind, we more or less zoomed through the city, heading directly towards the castle. We arrived in time for the ceremony, and then walked around the castle and its church. On our way back to the train station, we had more time to slow down. We saw the Lennon Wall, crossed the Charles Bridge, and had a yummy but expensive lunch. We meandered back to the train station, stopping to buy some souvenirs and candy from the stands. Finally we were back on the train, concluding our journey.
My trip to Prague was quite an interesting experience. Will and I started on Wednesday 6/19 from Newark. We flew to Boston, Frankfurt, and finally to Berlin. That was by far my favorite part of that trip, because of how awesome my mother country is. But there's time for that later, because Berlin is where our trip started to get interesting. After managing to catch a bus to the train station, we still had over an hour until our train left. We bought tickets from a ticket machine and went down to the platform to hang out until the train arrives. That's when I realized that we hadn't reserved seats on our train. So with 8 minutes left until our train was scheduled to leave, I run upstairs to the information desk, wait in line for a few minutes, and talk to the lady at the desk. She tells me she can't really do anything about it, and that I should probably go back down because the train is about to leave. I run all the way back down the three flights of stairs to the underground platform, and freak out because a train is waiting. I look up and down the platform, see neither Will nor my bags, and somehow decide that it's a good idea to get on the train. Turns out that was the express train to Köln. Great. I got off at the next possible station, and took the next train back. This one wasn't an express train, so it took me three times as long to get back. Obviously we missed our train. In my haste I went down to the wrong platform coming down from the information desk. Thankfully there was another train an hour later, so my downright stupidity didn't affect our travel plans too much.
Man of Steel came out recently... and I really want to see it! We all wanted to see it for Addison's birthday, so on Tuesday we drove twenty minutes to a theater that was supposedly showing it. When we got there ticket lady said that the only movie playing was a children's cartoon in Czech. In fact, Man of steel wasn't even on the list of movies posted outside the theater. Whoops! With the help of the ticket lady we tried to find a different theater but eventually decided to see it on Wednesday when we would be in Hradec Kralove. BUT on Wednesday it was pouring and nobody wanted to go after the training so... the current plan is to see the movie on Saturday (rest day). Hopefully it works out. I really want to see it.