I've managed to get myself all caught up in life. So much so that it's hard to keep up with things. I know that it really only takes a few minutes to do everything that needs to get done. But all those few minutes add up. And then where is the time to feed into people's lives? Not to mention the time to sleep. Then there are those moments when one must commune...(ie those times when I just really need to play a move on lexulous to let my partners know that I'm thinking of them...)
But keeping things up here is important, so I'm going to take you for a trip back in time in more ways than one. On September 26th I took a little trip to Marianske Lazne (home of the illustrious Mark) to spend some time hanging out, seeing the sights, and checking out the Saint Vaclav festival.
Mark met me at the station bright and early on Saturday morning, and he had his sister along with him. It was nice to finally get to meet someone from his family. She doesn't speak any English, but she speaks German (unfortunately very quickly) so we tried to communicate briefly in the five minutes before she headed back to her home in Germany. Then we went on a beautiful scenic walk through the town. Marianske Lazne is a really quaint and beautiful spa town. Most of the people you find wandering the streets are elderly Germans who have come for spa treatments. The streets are quiet and peaceful, and the scenery is just beautiful.
I had to pause next to this house.
Mark, and avid historian, informed me that this little gem was built for a visit from Franz Josef, one of the rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Apparently houses were built for him every time he would visit a new town. And why not? Ha! While there were some signs indicating a cafe inside, when we made it to the front doors it was quickly made clear that it had been quite some time since people were allowed within the front doors. It really is a shame, because it's an incredible historical building. Sadly many beautiful buildings here have met that fate. No doubt the financial crisis does little to alleviate this situation either.
We continued to the little cable cars on a nearby ski slope that ran up to the old Krokanos hotel. Mark had connections, so we managed to get a free ride up in the little cars.
At the top things were all set up for the festival. We went and checked out the little park first. There is this park where they have rebuilt models of lots of famous Czech buildings. They're very intricate and it would be a great place for kids. It was really cool to see a lot of places I've visited in miniature :) as well as some other interesting things like this little Czech village setting.
Then we had a little Czech snack for lunch. This is called Langos (there should be a hacek on that last "s" so it's pronounced Langosh). It's kind of like fry bread with garlic, ketchup and cheese. It was actually really tasty.
We moved on to check out the rest of the festival. They had a traditional ancient tent village set up, complete with a bubbling cauldron of stew hanging over a fire and people weaving baskets and portraying the ancient life. There were sword fights and other comical activities to watch. Then Vaclav himself came out on his white horse (the poor things was so nervous and kept stamping the ground and rearing a bit. I felt really bad for it so never got a decent photo) with his whole processional. It was really interesting. We enjoyed the festivities and just wandering around.
Before we headed back down the mountain we went by the large statue of Krokanos. He's a legendary character who protected the people and rescued them from an evil man. I don't know the whole story, but there are apparently stories about him, and there was a large hotel built in honor of him, as well as a statue. The tradition is that if you hop around the statue on one foot and then touch the red jewel in his belt your wish will be granted. Unfortunately the red stone is long gone, but the statue remains and is quite impressive.
Quite appropriately, Mark is equally as fond of cemeteries as I am. He loves the history and thinking about their stories, as well as the little thrill of fear you can experience there late at night. So after the festival we hiked back down through town and went to a beautiful old cemetery. It was fascinating to see how many Germans were buried there. The history here is largely connected to Germany. Most of them were buried around the edges and were clearly very wealthy. It was sad to see how some of them have now been replaced with new stones for different people in front. Apparently after enough time has gone by if people don't continue to pay for the space they can be confiscated and reused.
I took pictures of a few stones I really liked,
but I ended up being really captivated by the fluttering butterflies covering some of the flowers growing there. It was amazing to see them clustering in vivid color there.
So now I've caught up a wee bit, but there is much more to say, so I really will try to get it taken care of soon...