Cologne – Klenova

Dreaming about cold beers, beaches and bikini clad babes, I opened my eyes only to realise I was actually curled up in my sleeping bag on top of a storage box within the bus with Eric snoring like no one you have ever heard. I wouldn’t have minded but it was still early and I wanted more sleep, there was shit all chance of that though, this guy can snore!
Giving up after 10 minutes I jumped out of the bus and went for a walk down the Rhine before everyone got up. Soon enough we were all up, packed and ready to go with just one minor incident which we now refer to as Feces Frisby Gate… Caroline and Amy’s pop up tent which resembles a frisby when packed was pitched on a pile of steaming dog shit… Nice, I’m glad I slept on the bus with Eric after all.
Hitting the road by 8:30 meant we had a chance of doing the 300+ miles across Germany to the Czech Republic in time for the Euro launch aptly named the Czech Out party which was being held at Klenova Castle. The day before we’d questioned whether or not the journey which usually took 3 days could be done in two but with Don at the helm and myself as chief navigator we’d ploughed on to Cologne the night before meaning we were in with a shout. It was going to be a long day though, made even longer by the fact that when we arrived we knew there was going to be a lot of beer involved – standard.
I bet you’re wondering how things are going on the bus.. Now the thing about choosing a travelling companion is you can travel with your best friend, someone you know inside out and back to front, but unfortunately that doesn’t mean you will get along whilst you’re doing a trip like this. I’m lucky that I have my little bro-mance with Al, he’s one of my best mates and is the perfect traveling partner, but it’s not always so easy to find that person who’s personality complements yours, so how we’re 14 strangers getting along on the bus? Not too bad, but it is clear to see the definite differences in personalities. You have your extroverts and you have your introverts, some more so than others, but generally we’re getting along alright, there’s been no blood shed as of yet, however I can sense some tension within some members of team already, just personality clashes I guess, but that’s only natural when you have such a mix of personalities. What I find really interesting though is that my preconceptions of some people was completely spot on, yet some of them couldn’t have been further from the mark and people can come across totally differently on the Internet.
Anyhow, I digress, back to the bus, up front with Don, Sarah and I is Cale from Charleston, Sarah refers to him as a red neck but boy is he funny, sarah had told him he wasn’t allowed to drink on the bus because i was in the police, i was actually the first to crack open a can on the road and since then he’s been my drinking partner on the bus. Behind Cale is Amy and Caroline, both top girls and keen on the boozy beer bus idea we’ve seemingly got going on. Next to me is Sarita, a kiwi who lives in Dubai and is on the bus filming a pilot for a documentary on the rally, another top woman who’s perhaps quieter than some of the others up front with me but is really quite sarcastic and funny and is providing me with knowledge of how to use this new Go Pro camera I’ve bought. So whilst the back of the bus were napping the front bus crew were playing a bit of a word game to pass the time, we introduced beer into the game and before we knew it we were in the Czech Republic and arriving in Pilzn to drop Eric off so that he could fly back to the US for work. Forty minutes later after a mission for Cale and I to try and find “lad” which we had determined was Czech for ice we were in Klenova on the approach to the castle. We’d clearly come in a different route to the way we should have, we got some funny looks as our big American school bus “hauled its ass” up the steep narrow streets toward the castle but that wasnt the end of it, to get to the camp ground we had to go down a narrow single track road with a lot of overgrown trees, needless to say Don made sure they aren’t overgrown any more!!
We’d arrived at the Czech Out party and it was clear to see that there was a lot of European teams who were starting here, there were loads more cars. Tents pitched we headed up to the castle for some food and some beers, which turned into more beers, and more, and more and before we knew it we were at an after party at a disused military base, most went to bed at that point but Amy, Will, mother hen Sarah and I all stayed until 4:30am and finally hit the hay when the sun came up

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