Ladies and Gentlemen,
How are you doing this Sunday?
I don’t usually come home from an extended weekend trip and make up a smoothie, take the clothes out of the suitcase(actually…big thx to Misa for doing this tonight(and most nights:)), put on some comfortable clothes and get on the computer ripping out a story on here, BUT I’d like to share this story with you right away, because I think some of you will enjoy it.
And maybe it will even give some of you IDEAS on how to manage your colitis.
So let’s begin.
I’ll give a tiny bit of background, some brief introductions into the different characters who were part of my weekend trip, and then MAYBE, or should I say hopefully, the rest of the story will form a semi coherent point or maybe even TIP/ADVICE on how I manage my UC when on …”VACATION..”
OK, the characters:
- Me/Adam (you can read my official “About” page here)…but don’t do that…I’m just another guy with UC, diagnosed back in Octubre of 2008, and living now for the 2nd or 3rd time in Prague, Czech Republic where my wife comes from. I don’t take any medications for my UC, but I do cook certain foods when home, and stay away from certain foods when on the road.
- Misa (you can read about her in some of my original postings from several years ago…or in my ebooks) She is from Prague, and we lived about 7 years back in California, now, were are back in her home turf. She’s been with me before I was diagnosed, during, and for about 8 years now since. And yes, she’s heard me bomb some super nasty farts or whatever you want to call them, and seen me thru several O flares, and done all sorts of other things when I’ve been healthy, which has been the overwhelming majority of the time
- Mirkka (a friend I met here in Prague 2 years back, we sat next to eachother in Czech class. She’s from Finland, and a super great person. She’s known about my UC for a long time now, and we have gone on vacations together before. Last time was in Northern Czech two winters ago…for my inagural cross country skiing test run…HINT HINT…if you go with a Scandinavian on your first try doing nordic(cross country skiing)…be prepared to get BLOWN OUT OF THE WATER:))
- Pavel (known him for just about as long as Mirkka..they are boyfriend/girlfriend), he’s from Czech, and as well a great guy. Like Mirkka, I let them both know about my UC very early one. It probably came up the first time we were at a bar and he wondered…”why aren’t you drinking beer?” (I don’t drink beer, has to do with the whole NO GRAINS deal…)
Alright…enough with character intros.
The Logging Begins
This weekend, we drove from Prague down to a town called Kvilda which is in the Sumava Mountains of the Czech Republic. It is about a 2 hour drive from the capital where we live.
On the way, we decided to stop at a semi-small town called Vimperk. Pavel had done a bit of research, and they had a Pivovar(brewery) that we thought would be a good place to stop and get lunch to break up the trip.
Here’s a picture of us in Vimperk in their square which is more like a rectangle:
OK, so, we did a short walk through town, saw some old stone wall that was something like 800 years old which maybe helped the old castle stay out of harms way, then we searched for the Pivovar.
The search lasted just a few minutes as the town is quite small, but when we got to the door, it was clear that they only served a VERY FEW items.
- Fried Cheese
- and that’s about it…
Right away, I knew there was NOTHING there for me.
Well, I don’t drink beer (and I was going to be driving shortly thereafter…zero tolerance in CZ BTW)
Also, cheese for lunch…NO way. This wasn’t really a big deal for the others, they were looking for some other food as well, so we stumbled into one of the only other restaurants in town, I think it was called Marco Pizzeria. This worked fine. I had some chicken breast, with a chicken ceasar salat “bez kroutony” which means without croutons. Worked fine.
This story so far…yes I know, not too interesting. Maybe some cool pictures, but it will get better.
Let’s forget about Saturday, it rained on and off all day, was snowing in the afternoon, but a wet nasty east coast snow.
We did some small hikes, saw some wolves near Modrava, some deer (jelen they call them out here) and some other animals…and had some meals.
But let’s roll into SUNDAY FUNtabulousDAY.
Today was a BLUEBIRD Day. Sun was shining right out of the gate this morning. Snow on the ground from the day before.
Yes, it was the making of a stellar hike to the Pramen of the Vltava river. This is a river which is about 100 meters wide in Prague, maybe more. And we were going to walk the 5 miles to the spring where it starts, and walk the same distance back. And we did. It was an excellent hike. We started off at 10:00 in the morning, after a nice breakfast. Here is a picture of that:
OK, in case you can’t read my writing in the arrows…
I had 3 fried eggs. Not a typical Czech breakfast, czechs are way into breads, pastries, that type of crap in the morning. Me…NO. Misa..Yes….how do we solve this….easy…
She goes to the pastry counter (look at picture below), and I ask if they can make me 3 fried eggs…simple…deal. Yes, the eggs cost about 3 dollars. And her pastries(plural folks..) cost about a buck fifty…but still not bad, and stomach is happy.
Why no pastries for me? Cause I stay away from all grains AS MUCH AS I CAN, which is darn near all the time, and 100% of the time when cooking at home. I think that stuff causes my UC symptoms to get active, and well…you know we don’t like that.
Is that bread next to me? Yes it is. The czechs eat bread. ALL THE TIME. The old granny who made my eggs brought those two “roliky” out to me assuming I was going to dive in…NOPE…they might still be sitting on that table 12 hours later…but I doubt it…some big beer drinking czech guy probably gobbled them down hours ago…
Is that a coffee in front of me??? YEs it is. OK OK, do as I say, not as I do. I can’t deny, I love coffee. And I am in one of the phases of my life where I’m drinking it daily. 2-3 cups per day on weekends, and 1-2 cups per day on weekdays. Never with sugar or milk, ALWAYS with some honey, like today:) My recommendation to anybody who has active UC symptoms….stay AWAY from coffee. If I had active symptoms, I would be drinking water in this picture, or ginger tea. (Dangers..just clicked on the ginger tea link there…and there’s is a smooookin nice picture of Misa on that post…just saying yo, read that later though…more below….I’m trying to get to the point of this story…)
After breakfast, we returned to our pension room(hotelish room) and packed up, got our stuff in the car, and with our friends started our hike.
Here is us on the way out to the spring, maybe the first 30 minutes of our eventual 3 hour hike today in just about freezing weather, but it was SUNNY:)
We got up to the “pramen” or spring. Chowed an apple, mine was a bit mushy…not crunchy, so I chucked it, Misa got the good one, gave me a few bites…and we headed back to town.
Like some of you, we started talking about where the heck to eat.
We had been in Kvilda for about two days at this point, seen ALL the three or four options, and had some ideas.
Mirkka and Pavel were usually 50 meters ahead of us on the trail just about the whole time, and one time when we were close to getting back from our 3 hour hike they mentioned to us one of the restaurants in Kvilda they wanted to go to.
And it sounded great. We actually were there for dinner on Friday night, and it was decent enough. I had roasted wild boar which was tasty. I wasn’t able to get the Cesnicka (or Galic Soup) because they were all out, but that was fine. I think they even had a chicken fillet which would work fine for me too. And Pavel wanted to get Svickova, which is a traditional Czech dish. It comes with dumplings, and a thick sauce, and some cranberries usually. Its really good. I used to eat it about 9 years ago before my UC, but haven’t had it since because of the flour they add…
Anyways, we walked into the restaurant, sat down at a table, and within about 4-5 minutes the single waitress gave us menus to look at. Now bear in mind, Czech table service is way different than it is in some other countries where I have lived. Compared to the United States, it can often be pretty awful. Czech people are used to it, and whatever, you get used to it.
But, we were HUNGRY.
We had just hiked 3 hours in the fidgigin COLD.
And Pavel wanted his Svickova.
But wait, we wait for 4-5 minutes, the waitress brought our menus, left us to wait another 10 minutes, then came back to take our order. (Now, to her credit, the 5 table restaurant was full, we got the last table, and there were czech moms, beer drinking dads, and young kids who were sledding on the 2-3 cm of snow all over the place. Probably all headed back to Prague like we were…except we happened to get in after all of them.
OK, waitress comes back to the table, asks for our orders, and Pavel starts off with his Svickova. Here’s a picture of that so you can see what he was hoping for:
I’m not sure what Mirkka ordered, or Misa, but it was time for me.
I told her I wanted the same thing I had the other night…the wild boar…
“NeMame” she said. That means, we DON’T have it…
Ok, as sometimes is the case, some of the items on the menu are SOLD OUT…or just not possible that particular day for various reasons.
So I went on to my backup, which was a burger without the bun “bez houska” (czech for without the bun).
“Nemame” (You know what that means).
I went on to my third thing….same answer:
OK OK. Now I was getting a bit pissed off.
“Co Mate?” (What do you have?? I asked the waitress in a peeved out American accent I’m sure)
She went on to explain that about 90% of the menu they DID NOT HAVE….
And right after Misa explained to the waitress, Mirkka and Pavel that:
“They Don’t have anything Adam Can have..” (I’m pretty sure the waitress didn’t understand that since it was in English).
But, that was the moment I was about to hear something that was semi amazing to me…
Please consider this…
We ALL were hungry.
Pavel was talking about his damn Svickova all weekend long, and they did have this on the menu and available…
Mirkka was hungry as hell, Misa too…heck I think they all were getting Svickova…
But without any hesitation, Mirkka said:
“Let’s get out of here, and find something somewhere else where Adam can find something to eat”
Wow, I think I even said:
“NO NO, get whatever you want, let’s stay here, i’ll get something somewhere else..”
But she wasn’t having that. Neither was Pavel.
We all ordered garlic soup (Cesnicka), mine was without croutons, and we left in search of more food.
It was pretty cool.
My UC fully dictated this strange search for our Sunday lunch.
To make this a tad bit more amazing, this was the only restaurant open in town, we walked by the other two about 15 minutes before, and they were both closed as it was Sunday afternoon.
So there’s my story. Maybe this was boring for you. Maybe not.
But I am really happy to have friends who understand how important it is for me to stay in line with my “strange diet” and more than that, friends who are willing to be inconvenienced and willing to roll with the daily struggles of finding food with my “limited diet”:)) yikes,…ok, its not that bad ya’ll. But you get the idea I hope.
Of course, I could have never told them about my disease, told my wife never to tell them, and ordered some damn svickova just like them today and chowed the heck out of it (because it is GOOD), and life wouldn’t be that much different. But instead, I made it home, drove most of the drive back to Prague, and now…I think its time to send a log down the sewage pipes.
Have a great week my friends!
For sure tell your friends about your UC and all the weird ins and outs of how you manage it.
It will make your life easier. :)
Best to You!,
***And…we ended up getting in the car, driving to Modrava, Cz about 8km away, and having late lunch at the Hotel Madr…nice place…and I had a burger with no bun, and also a chicken cesar salad bez kroutony…and a ginger tea with honey….to byl super! (it was good)
So I like UC’ers. That’s been going on since 2009 I’d say.
I started site and the eNewsletter(you can join that below) shortly after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in October of 2008 with severe pancolitis (when my whole colon was inflamed).
For me, it was a very rough start with severe symptoms. Getting bounced from medication to medication was not easy or too helpful. But, I did meet another UC’er, changes several parts of my diet, and of course the rest is history.
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