To the south of Liberec is a mountain known as Jested. To qualify for mountain status, one has to be 1000 metres or higher, although one source puts this figure as low as 610m, which I find hard to believe and makes the phrase 'man mountain' a load of bollocks. Jested stands at 1012m. Poxy mountain that is, if you ask me, especially when you consider that, due to my leg being semi-broken again, Honza drove me uphill in his taxi, fag dangling from mouth all the way along the short and winding road. I'd done the forest walk and cable car the day before, hence the semi-broken leg, and made a reservation at the mountain top hotel. With an uber- powerful antenna the hotel doubles as a radio mast and it was here that Vaclav Havel and Czech-American side-kick Jan Triska made the final free broadcast to the Czechoslovak people, before the Warsaw Pact invasion in 1968 pulled the plug on the Prague Spring and for the next 20 years stamped Moscow's authority on the uppity and mischievous and increasingly hippy nation.
Alexander Dubcek, then President of Czechoslovakia, was packed off to chop wood in the forest. Like Havel, he was offered the chance to leave - ie. exiled - and, like Havel, Dubcek said no, this is my country, why should I be forced out? It's the government we don't like. Thus kick-started an ascendency to mega-hero status for both men for the rest of their lives. Dubcek died under mysterious circumstances in 1992 in a car crash from which the driver escaped alive. Dirty communist/now capitalist claws were ripping the country apart for personal gain and Dubcek stood in their way. He was bumped off by the political mafia but the cops won't tell you that.
At night, as I sat in the Avion Bar drinking whisky and listening to Elton John sing after a salmon tartare supper (absolutely delicious especially with manic munchies), and rain smashed down on the picture windows and a howling gale thrashed the building, which all made smoking joints outside rather problematic, yet do-able. As midnight arrived, so did the lightning, bolts of it arrowing down far too close to me in my metal chair and so I headed for bed with this tune still playing in my head.