William Roche’s Diary
Mountain Waters of the Czech Republic

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June 1, 2009: Sampling the Waters -- and the History

Dobre Den! (Good day) 
I get up at 7 am, shower and prepare for the day's activities ahead. I sit in the lounge area and begin typing on my laptop. I feel better but I have a relentless and annoying rasping cough. The morning sunshine pours through the skylight and the fresh wholesome aroma from the timber floors and walls is quite refreshing and quickly lift my spirits. The quietness of the countryside is a welcome contrast from the bustle of airline travel, stopovers, long waits and further travel. Breakfast consists of cereals, cold meats, cheese, eggs, and great coffee. Josef checks to see how I slept and if I feel any better. I explain I am in good form, save for the cough, and do not see any problem for the day ahead. I assure him that I will advise him of any changes or if I feel unwell. We pack up the minivan with our equipment, grab a packed lunch and head for the mountains. There is a quick stop at Liberec city and then onto the expedition site. We break up into teams. Cathy, Ryan, Russ and I are led by Petr. Our work involves taking water samples along a mountain stream. The work starts off easy enough. However, the intensity soon increases and we build up a rhythm to help us complete the work. The ground becomes uneven and it is easy to slide from the embankment into the chilly water. We check oxygen and ph levels, water flows and take water samples for further analysis. Data must be rechecked to ensure it is correct. We encounter a series of abandoned military bunkers built in the 1930's on the slopes of the mountain. We take a break and carefully investigate the interior of one. It is a formidable structure modeled on the French Maginot line design and would have housed five soldiers. Dobre would later explain that the Czech design was much cleverer due to the careful thought behind the positioning of each individual bunker. These bunkers are now occasionally used by hunters and mountain walkers. We break for lunch and then form into new teams. Our job is to now take readings from a monitoring station and clean the area of debris deposited by the winter snows. By evening we complete the work and plan to return and repair the seasonal damage to the structure over the next few days. We finally pile into the van, return to Bedrichov and head to the local restaurant. The weather is quite cold so a filling meal of beef soup and a wholesome chicken dish is very welcome. We head back to the accommodation and to the evening briefing. Josef discusses what we have achieved and thanks us for our efforts. He then briefs us on the next day's work programme. The mood is cheerful and it's soon time to hit the sack and blissful sleep.

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