Adam Novotny here, checking in from Czech Republic.
Why am I here, and making that terrible pun? While I live in Oregon with my family, the rest of our extended family lives in Czech, so we go visit them in the summer. Like always, this summer was super packed to see all of our grandmas, aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends in a few short weeks.
Kicking off our European adventure, after a few days in Prague we drove to Austria and then Italy to do some hiking and climbing on "via ferrata" routes. Other than a few pictures of climbers on the side of a mountain, I had no idea how the climbing was going to work. We met up with our friends in Hallstatt, Austria. In the evening, they pointed at a mountain and said, "See that ladder? We're going there tomorrow."
The trail was fabulous. As we climbed out of the trees, the view opened up to the lake and surrounding Alps, it looked beautiful, and oddly similar to a recent Dungeons & Dragons campaign landscape. As we climbed higher, and as the route became more exposed, I realized that my mind was serene. There was nothing but me, the cliff, and hundreds of meters of empty space below me. It was incredible.
We finished the trip by driving to Italy for delicious pizza and gelato, and a couple hikes in the Dolomite mountain range.
We got back just in time for the best 2 weeks of the year: summer camp Rohozná. I have been going to this camp since I was 6, and every year it is surreal (possibly due to a lack of sleep, but more probably because it is magical). This year's theme was ancient India, so there were dozens of “young monks” running around. I had ascended up to be part of the group of counselors this year, and it was wonderful taking part in creating the magic. The comradeship within camp is wonderful, with many counselors coming for over thirty unbroken years since when they first came as first graders. It was a wonderful experience, even when kids were hitting me with pointy sticks trying to pop a balloon.
As for the future, I am going to go visit my friends in Germany, brush up on programming and math, go on a language exchange to Spain, eat lots of delicious Czech food, start studying for a Cisco Networking Certification, bond with my extended family, and overall enjoy life.
See you later!