I spent Easter at Czechman’s brother-in-law’s weekend house. The little rabbit you can see in the picture was waiting by the door to greet us. ‘Weekend house’ implies something modest like a chalet or a caravan so I was surprised by how much space there was. It used to belong to an old lady before Czechman’s in-laws bought it ten years ago and started doing it up; apparently half the village is second homes now.
The house is full of quirky old furniture – a battered dresser in the kitchen, a brown and orange stripy three piece suite – and super-kitsch items such as fringed net curtains decorated with a row of yellow chicks chasing each other.
We went walking every day. The village is in a valley surrounded by forests somewhere near the Polish border. The forests are full of tall, slim pine trees and huge rock formations like this one.
I’ve never been in a forest which had rocks in it before. Apparently they’re made of sandstone which helps to explain why the ground is covered in white sand. If we had anywhere like this in England, I remember thinking, it would be crawling with tourists and the village would be packed with shops selling naff china figurines and chinzy cafes serving cream teas. As it was, we barely came across another soul.
I loved the rocks. I want you to love them too so here’s another picture:
The Czechs are crazy about walking and the Great Outdoors. When I first started going out with Czechman, he suggested that we go to Wales to do some ‘walking’. To me, this meant the odd meander through some flattish countryside somewhere easily accessible from a town, punctuated by regular tea/coffee breaks. How wrong I was. I’ll never forget the dismay in his voice when I asked if we could get a taxi from the train station to the B&B rather than traispe through three miles of Welsh countryside. Now that we’ve been together for some time, I understand that what he calls ‘walking’ requires sturdy boots and a rucksack rather than a handbag. In fact, I would even go so far to say that I actually enjoy it.
When we weren’t walking we played petanque and drank pastis (not very Czech I know), cooked questionable meat products on the fire (see my first post for more details on my initial encounters with these) and played an obscure board game with very complicated rules that somehow Czechman and I managed to win. There was also the communal cooking (and eating) of goulash and dumplings and the eating of a giant sponge cake in the shape of a ram and being beaten on the arse by Czechman with a big stick he had handcrafted himself from willow on Easter Sunday. I’m not making this last bit up. The stick business is supposed to be some kind of Czech Easter tradition linked to ancient fertility rites. There are few sights more disturbing than watching your boyfriend chasing his sister around the house, whacking her on the behind while she screams, with a big grin on his face.
There’s no photographic evidence of the stick incident but I do have a cute picture of an Easter chick here which is a nicer note to end on: