Sunday, October 30, 2011

Relovice: A Word That Contains No "R" Sound Whatsoever

It all started with a train ride.

There were compartments and everything. I felt like Harry Potter... Okay, let's face it, I felt like Hermione. And not even because she's a girl, but because she's a nerdy, overachieving, school-lover like myself. (If only my boyfriend Brian would stop dreaming he's Harry Potter and become Ron, we'd be set!)

We were traveling to Relovice in north Bohemia (still in the Czech Republic, in case you were wondering). There were 5 groups who all went on extremely different trips. Julia, Hannah and I ended up at some really old, beautiful art/community center owned by a woman named Lenka.

That's right, it was actually so pretty that I decided to break out the panorama setting on my camera once again. (Panorama would look so much nicer spelled with all a's. Panarama? Am I right? Maybe it started out as Pan-o-rama. Yep, that would explain it.)

When we arrived there was an outdoor feast and some cherry vodka shots waiting for us. (Apparently shots are the perfect way to welcome guests in the Czech countryside). We begun our tour that night, but I didn't take pictures until our second tour the next morning.

This place was pretty much your ideal, picturesque farmhouse that was once crumbling due to economic issues  in the former Sudetenland and is now well-kept and green. You know what I mean, right? No? Okay, photos ahead.

There was a pond:

There were dogs:

There were oodles of flowers and baths of sunshine:


And we were welcomed with shots and a European feast. What more could a girl ask for?
Our tour guide for the day was Jan, a man who inexplicably wore a scarf around his waist (Perhaps he has cold hips?). Not that I could complain, he let us go up on the roof and everything. (Where we climbed is to the left of that UTOPIA sign in the previous picture.)

He showed us a bunch of art from their last symposium, “Under the Rug.” Actually, he kept saying “Under the Carpet” but I know he was aiming for “rug” because things we don’t want to talk about are “swept under the rug,” not the carpet! I took pictures of my favorite pieces.

[Seriously, he translated all of the words and the only one I can remember is “angst,” which is both first and last. I’m sure the others were things like “hatred,” “repression,” etc. Just think of unpleasant words that one might spell with nails.]

[This guy took the symposium’s theme literally.]
One woman made a giant drawing and hung it from the opening in what used to be part of the brewery. It was once a room where they stored great barrels of beer and only a tiny amount of light got through the ceiling. The walls are so thick that there is a noticeable temperature difference when you walk in. Anyway, this had to do with ancestors, but I can’ t remember the title.

After our tour was almost done, Julia pointed to a window right above the place we were sleeping and asked what was up there. Jan led us up to the largest attic I’ve ever been in.

[Through that hole, it just KEEPS GOING.]

That afternoon, the farm’s owner Lenka drove us to the town her mother lives in: LitomeĊ™ice. They were having a Vinobrany. This means wine festival, people. 

During autumn a wine leftover called burcak (burr-check) goes on sale. It has pulp but is also really fruity, like alcoholic juice. I promise I didn’t get really drunk.

Lenka dropped us off and drove away to her mother’s house. She told us to meet her by the “tall thin thing with benches around it” at 6:30. She couldn’t think of the word in English but assured us it was not “steeple,” “tower,” “antenna,” or “pole.” (Note that we were constantly playing Catchphrase and Pictionary during this trip.) She also gave us strict instructions to take a picture of the "king" for her. What king? Apparently there was a parade, but we failed pitifully on the picture aspect. 

[Best I can give you is a sliver of the knights' outfits through a hat stand.]

Just to make Brian proud, I took a picture of our food AND drink. 

[Burcak tastes AND looks like grape juice.]

[So much delicious greasiness: the brown thing is fried cheese]

After pausing for a moment to ponder that caption as a cookbook title, you would be happy to hear that we did not have to make it through the whole fair without seeing that band that comes to every fair on earth. You know the band: it's made up of middle aged men playing classic rock cover songs and wearing old black band t-shirts from college. 
That's right. We got to hear Pink Floyd's "Just Another Brick in the VALL" and everthing. 

[Audience = fucking loving it]

This fair also had quote-unquote traditional things, like baskets and braided cheese and these cute cookies that say family names on them.

 [That there in that here pic is Lenka, our hostess.]

She showed us a pleasing view of Litomerice too!

That night we met some young German men that Lenka was somehow friends with, tried the local beer, and learned that for a small town, Litomerice has a damn good fireworks show. 

Later we met Lenka's mom, in her underwear. That was new. We slept at Lenka's mom's house and the next day went on a day trip to a wee town called Ustek.

What else happened on this trip? Pretty much everything. But I will save you the exhaustion by splitting it up. Coming tomorrow: "Devil in the Wee City."


  1. Haha! Love the pictures :) I would like to try that grape fruity wine I think! I especially laughed at your comments about the band. It's true you see them at every fair!
    Keep the stories coming!

    Love, Mom

  2. I like Jan and his hip scarf. Maybe he had it there because he tends to spill stuff on his crotch a lot and he didn't want to ruin his favorite jeans.

    The art's nice, but I don't like the one with the floating rug. It looks like something I wouldn't be able to get out of my head when told I have to create something with the theme "Under The Rug."

    Thanks for taking pictures of your food. YUM. If only you cared more about stuff like that. :)

    I've seen that band before.

  3. Chris: That cheese was HOT.

    Mom: You definitely would have liked that wine.

    Brian: I agree about the floating rug but the fact that there was a rug in it made me feel like I had to take a picture. Maybe that was a trick. Sorry, I just don't like food. :)