Today was one of the most memorable days in missions trip history. All of us, no matter which hosts we were with, were fully submerged in both Polish and Czech culture, food and nature. The Cieszyn group of us (Jenna, Kirsten, Ben, Haley, Hunter and I) were given the privilege to experience a trip in to the Czoland (Czech and Poland - word made by Hunter) mountains. On this endeavor we used a ski lift to get to the top of a mountain on which we hiked for just over three hours hiking through some of the most breath taking forests. About half way through our hike we stopped at a look-out tower on the border of Poland and the Czech Republic. Although this border is currently very neutral, less than twenty years ago there were guards patrolling the border for those trying to cross the border, smuggle, and any other illegal activities etc. The pastor that my group had been working with actually had an interesting adventure with one of the guards. One day the pastor was hiking near the border listening to music using headphones when one of the guards yelled at him to turn back but because of the headphones, he didn't heard the guards warning. Apparently if a guard had to tell you three times to turn back, they were allowed to fire at you. It just so happened that the guard had given his third warning and as he was looking down the scope he realized the the pastor was wearing headphones. The guard then proceeded to chase him down to let him know to turn around. Nevertheless, the view was stunning and the border remains as part of Polish-Czech history. From there we continued trekking on the trail to the end where there was a small cafe with an outdoor barbecue. Some of us had potato pancakes, some of us langos (Hungarian fried bread topped with cheese and garlic mayo) and it resembled Indian tacos. I decided to get kielbasa figuring that this is as close to the source as I'll ever be! We all also shared some grilled cheese which was similar smoked Gouda but better. From there we journeyed back to the ski lift where we decided that we had to go on a bobsled ride, some of us more than once. This ride led down the ski slope and had many fun tight turns and straight aways. Once back at the bottom of the lift, some of us had ice cream and others decided that we didn't want to spoil our dinners. From the mountain we drove to a small lake where we had a barbecue for dinner, where many of us agree to having the best burgers in a long time. It was over all a great day, my personal favorite of the trip so far!
-Dayton A. Dangel