844 days, 20,256 hours, 1,215,360 minutes, or 72,921,600 seconds. That is the approximate duration of my world tour. I never wanted it to end and now, in a manner of speaking, I suppose it never has to. If you wish to go by country do so by clicking on one above. They are numbered in the order I visited them, more or less. If you enjoy reading about it even a tenth as much as I enjoyed living it then you will not have wasted your time. Grab a refreshing beverage, settle in a comfortable chair, and make a journey across the world, experiencing it as I did. Then get off your ass and check it out for yourself. You're not getting any younger.

Telc: A Great Place to Shroom (Telc, Czech Republic)

Sept 5th, 2010 - Telc is a small town in the southern part of the Czech Republic. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered to be one of Czech's  most beautiful villages . With a population of around six thousand it is not terribly difficult to distinguish between locals and interloping tourists. In fact, most visitors cascade out of a bus and run around furiously snapping photos before piling back aboard and moving on. 

I should think this situation could be rather annoying after a spell.
If I lived there and did not have a business related to the tourist industry I would probably be naked in the clock tower with a high-powered rifle. But that's just me. 

Why was I there? Well, I met a Czech woman named Radka (via Couchsurfing.com) that grew up there. She actually lives in Prague but was headed back home to visit her family. I had only intended to meet her for a bit of intel on the city of Prague but she invited me to come to Telc to visit her family. I found this to be a most gracious gesture and gladly accepted her invitation. It was a good call. Getting a chance to stay at someone's home and get an authentic slice of everyday life is any visitor's goal. It was a real privilege. 

I spent the weekend with Radka at her brother's house. There I met the brother, his wife, their adorable son, and Radka's mother and father. It may not have been a shot of adrenaline but it was lovely none the less. On Friday night I was handed multiple Czech beers and some local plum liquors whose name I do not recall and could not pronounce if I could. Let's just say that by the end of the evening Richie was more than just a few sheets into the wind.

The next morning I did something I had yet to experience in the 35 years on mother earth: I went shrooming. Noooooo, not that kind of shrooming. We sauntered through the forest searching for wild edible mushrooms from which to provide a feast. Not such an easy task when you have a snare drum pounding in your gray matter. I cannot really complain though as Radka's brother still made it and he ended up ralphing the night before. We were real troopers. I even managed to find a few shrooms myself though my catch was paltry compared with my comrades in fungi. Next time I'll decimate the entire Smurf village. You just wait. 

If searching for mushrooms is fun, cleaning and cooking them is less so. It is not the semi-tedious nature of the endeavor but the picking of dirt and wildlife (like snails and the like) from the bounty before slicing and frying. This provides somewhat of a psychological barrier to full enjoyment as you start chewing the spongy delight and attempting to decide if you just swallowed a pine needle, an insect, or a pile of toad shit. However, even in the face of a Fear Factor-like effect the shrooms were actually quite delicious due in no small part to Radka's preparation. If not for my obnoxious hangover I would have eaten the lot. 

The center of Telc is quaint in the extreme, so much so it almost feels artificial, like you are walking through a movie set. There you will find a row of well-preserved houses in the Renaissance and Baroque styles dating back to the 17th century. You will also find Marion's Column (1716-20), a tower of stone surrounded by a pedestal of saints and crowned with the Virgin Mary atop the world. Or least that is what it is supposed to be. To be honest no one really seems to know. Most agree that it was built as some sort of memorial to the victims of the Black Plague and that it was paid for by a bequest in a will left by the woman who lived in the house directly to the column's right but beyond that, who the hell knows? Not me. The view from the Tower of the Holy Spirit overlooking the square is worth a look and underscores the town's quaintness. I love using the word quaint. 

Not that one!

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