Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Good friends

This weekend we spent with some very good friends of me and my SVG. The first trip was spent out of Prague at a small campsite which was situated close to a large pond that is a very popular location for keen anglers and hikers. The second trip was on the outskirts of Prague and was spent with a very old friend of mine and her family.

The first trip was to the 40th birthday celebrations of my SVG's close friend and colleague Standa and it involved a very complicated journey considering how far it was as the crow flies. We took a train from our local train station at Vysocany to Lysa nad Labem and then another train to the small village where her good friend lived nearby and the campsite where the party was being held. The first part of the journey started with a small refreshment at the train station bar with a very reasonable priced Gambrinus and 2 parek v rohliku, one of which was crammed full with so much ketchup that it exploded all over my daughter's beautiful clean top. The train was an elephant or as David calls it, a slon, so we had to sit on the top of this double decker train and the ride to Lysa took about 40min and this was followed by a 30min wait for the connecting train, so we headed to a small cabin/bar/restaurant which was situated 10 metres opposite the train station and it had a very beautiful garden with a few tables and chairs and a makeshift toilet which I assume was only for men,  I didn't have the urge or need to go and check it out unfortunately but the garden was nice and we played a little game of softball while we were waiting for the train and the Gambrinus was again a bargain and very refreshing, we did see a man devouring a klobasa, so again there was a small selection of beer food available. The connecting train was one of those old red Czech carriages so very slow and rickety was the journey to the little unheard of village Ovcary and this is where the dramatic event of watching the train pull away from the station with my son on the platform and we were still on the train, my son's panic screams and my heart being torn from my chest, was thankfully shortly followed by the conductor pulling the emergency cord and stopping the train about 400 metres further down the line. We were reunited shortly after to the relief of everyone involved.

On the way to the campsite we were met by my SVG's other close friends Hana and Bronek, the latter is my  bike's doctor so a very good friend of mine as well.They gave us a lift to the campsite, which was only another 200 metres but was much appreciate nevertheless. At the campsite there was a long wait involved in signing the card which I couldn't understand why it really needed so much time and effort in doing but who am I to question a woman's logic, apparently it was not something which could have been done beforehand and needed to be signed on the hot bonnet of a car in the midday sun in front of the awaiting host and the card had to be signed by all those who were greeting best birthday wishes to the birthday boy. So after the introductions and getting settled into our little wooden hut, which came with its own hornets nest in the roof, though I must say they were very quiet and I slept like a log with out any interruptions, it must be said.

The party was an all day affair, starting with a cold buffet and lots of alcohol, it seemed that the corect customary thing to do was to have a chilled bottle of vodka on your table, which you would very often use to fill up shot glasses and toast the host, but thankfully seeing as I was the only one drinking on our table, we didn't have to keep this tradition, after an hour's break the main meal came out again followed by lots of alcohol being exchanged, but as I said, I didn't have to join in this tradition and I was happy sticking to the beer. The main meal was chicken breast and chips and my daughter did a wonderful job of finishing hers and a large portion of her brother's. After this we had a break and went down to the pond to the great enjoyment of my kids, who didn't take very long to strip naked and start paddling and playing in the pond until the sun went down and even then, were very reluctant to leave. The party was in full swing when we came back and they were just starting the BBQ and the Karaoke, which was mostly sung in Russian or Ukrainian thankfully we had to put the children to bed so they were not traumatized by my version of God save the Queen from the Sex Pistols.

On Sunday we went to visit my very long time friends in Prague and their 2 beautiful daughters, who when we met for the first time were around the same age as my 2 babies but now they are young women just starting to discover what the world has to offer and I don't envy them at all. When I was a lad, the world was a very different place; it was flat for one thing, and I remember a young innocent 17-year-old boy heading off to the Lodore Swiss Hotel in Keswick way back in 1984, it seems like a century ago and as far as the technology goes it probably was, aye we had no mobile phones or internet. It was a special event taking the plane somewhere and a pint of beer was only 50 pence.

Sorry for that small digression into my youth, showing my age a little bit. So, where were we, yes of course the visit to my good friends Blanka and Jan who unfortunately is a Sparta supporter but we won't hold that against him, will we? We arrived at noonish and it had been a long time since I last came to their house so I was thankfull that Blanka had started the BBQ so we were able to smell our way to their front door, thankfully they were the only people having a BBQ on a beautiful sunny day.
I had been here before with the children when they were very small so I don't think that they would remember Blanka and her family but they were happily tormenting their Border Collie after a few minutes of our arrival and wandering around their house like it was their own. 
Blanka and Jan are perfect hosts so it was no surprise to find a table full of food and drink and charming company with their eldest daughter Bara, who coincidentally has the same name as my little angel, looking after my 2 little angels, which involved lots of spent energy and running around the garden hiding a miniature rugby ball and playing badminton with intermittent spells of running Bara the Border Collie ragged by throwing tennis balls up and down the garden.

So all in all it was a nice breakaway from the blog and this weekend we will be back to it with a conclusion to Liben and Smichov hopefully to follow the following week. A big thanks to all of our friends who made this weekend a very special weekend and I would also like to add that 'a good friend is a connection to life, a tie to the past, a road to the future and the key to sanity in a totally insane world'.

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