Day – 1: Traveling to Karlovy Vary

Arriving at the church at 7:30am, we loaded up the cars, said a quick prayer and we were off to the airport to begin our big adventure.  After a fairly uneventful check in and the smallest security line I’ve ever seen at Austin-Bergstrom, we grabbed our first meal together as we waited to board the plane to NY.  After an hour delay we finally boarded the plane!  We were off!  Landing in NY we had a chance for a quick lunch together before it was time to leave for London, England.  The flight to London was much shorter than we had anticipated and we had to actually fly around in a holding pattern due to the country’s curfew laws.  We had made excellent time and ended up having a tail wind across the Atlantic.  In London, we had to go thru a type of security once again, where poor Paige was randomly selected, after none of us having much sleep on the plane, to have her bag examined by security.  We have affectionately named her back-pack, the Turtle pack for a variety of reasons, the first being the size of the bag, and the second for how long it sat in the security line at London!  Meanwhile, the rest of us being sleep deprived and nearly delirious, searched out and found Starbucks in the airport!  Thrilled at the idea of having some caffeine, we grabbed some large coffees for everyone and waited for Paige and Matt to join us.  After successfully arriving at the departure gate, we loaded up the bus and headed to our flight to Prague.  The flight was short and uneventful.  Surprisingly, customs was extremely quick and efficient, and ALL our luggage arrived with no problems!  We were thrilled!  Of course, the obvious “tourist” in us surfaced immediately, and we started in with the picture taking almost as soon as we set foot on the ground!  (See the pictures below!)  We took a bus ride to the beautiful Karlovy Vary!  After a few hiccups in some of our travel plans, we arrived at the hotel and finally checked in.  Exhausted and a little chilled from the climate change, we decided a good cup of coffee and a little pastry might just help get the juices flowing again.  After a quick freshen up in our rooms we bundled up and grabbed our umbrellas and headed out to find some liquid fuel and explore the amazing sights of Karlovy Vary.  A local coffee shop provided us with delicious Cappuccinos and pastries to help give us an edge over sleep deprivation before we headed out to see the town.  Karlovy Vary is a local “spa town”, known for its hot springs which people come from all over the world to experience and drink the mineral waters in little adult “sippy cups” as we call them.  While Matt Evans and Geoff left to shop for dinner the following evening, the rest of the team, thankfully led by Martina, walked around the area taking in the picturesque town.  We saw the amazing architecture and art, saw some of the local spas (no we didn’t get massages, we probably would have passed out!), and the local colonies.  It is so beautiful here, I just wish the pictures did it justice!   After our walk around the town, we met back at the hotel and headed off to the local church here.  The elders and pastor of the church, and their wives, prepared a delicious meal for us, and provided us a wonderful warm welcome, and spent time in conversation and getting to know one another.  It was a time of sweet fellowship for us, and definitely a high point in our day.  Our evening concluded with a time of highs and lows, and prayer for one another back at the hotel, before we all fell into bed exhausted from travels and a fantastic first day here.  We are looking forward to tomorrow as we will have a chance to spend some more time with our Czech brothers and sisters here.Image

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