Vaclavovice, Czech Republic
We stopped in Vaclavovice for an all too brief visit with our Czech friends. We texted our friends to let them know we had arrived at the station. An unknown number called Maria's phone moments later, and a male voice told her to "Find the piano." We recklessly charged forth on this fool's errand, wondering whose instructions we were following.
Soon, Kristyna picked us up. Vitek had been the voice on the phone. Kristyna delivered flowers from Charles to Giana for their third anniversary. On the way home Micah and Maria told the story of how this exchange had come to pass.
The night before, in the midst of a full blown fever from the ever present flu-plague, Maria had been juggling secret texts from Micah about Charles' plans to send Giana flowers, as well as texts from Charles himself. She messaged Kristyna, who gladly volunteered as accomplice in the great Three Year Anniversary Surprise. Flowers are always a special occasion, but this was an extra special occasion. Kristyna flawlessly executed the plan, managing to find roses the next morning in the hours before we arrived by train and, of course, found the mysterious piano.
We made our way home (by car!-the first time since we left America) to Kristyna's house. We were warmly greeted by Babi and Kristyna's mom Magda. We sat down to a delicious meal of soup, chicken, and baked apples. Once we had ate as much as we could of the delicious meal, Babi proceeded to produce plate after plate of delicious Czech pastries. These pastries became a happy constant in our lives for almost a week, as we were graced with to-go containers of them the following evening when we were leaving.
Full-on food comas were commencing, plus Maria was recovering from the flu-plague, so we all napped for an hour before going out to explore with Kristyna. She showed us the nearby lake, and then introduced us to the lovely towns of Frydek and Mistek. We walked around the town squares before picking up Kristyna's sister Karolina from English lessons. From there, we went to meet up with Vit at the tea house in Frydek.
Sitting on the floor around a little table at the tea house, we relaxed with specialty teas and smoked hookah. Maria chose a chai; Micah had a fancy, labor intensive green tea; and Giana drank a cocoa-esque tea. Vitek came up with a plan for the rest of the evening after we had finished our teas, so we then set off for a quick tour of our friends' parents' prosthetics company.
After we learned a little about the process of how prosthetic limbs and body parts are created, Vitek and Kristyna drove us to a bar to learn how the perfect glass of beer is poured. Vit's friend Nicole, our beer master, began by telling us the history of beer, starting all the way back in 7000 BC. She then proceeded to show us the wrong and right ways to pour beer from the tap. We all drank Nicole's examples and then the three of us proceeded to pour our own glasses. Giana and Maria made fairly good attempts, but Micah impressed everyone by flawlessly pouring his glass and finishing off with the master signature (the small indent in the foam from the final air bubble in the tap). We ate dinner, said goodbye to Vit, and drove home to Kristyna and Karolina's. Micah went to bed, while all the girls stayed up a bit to skype the Czechs' cousin Claire at home in America.
The next morning, we woke up and walked across the hall to find Karolina and Kristyna's dad Milan and Babi sitting in the dining room. We ate a delicious breakfast of cheeses, meats, and of course pastries while Babi told us stories about the family and her trips to America. She also showed us an adorable photo album of all her super smiley grandchildren when they were little. After breakfast, Kristyna took us to visit the old Ostrava coal mine. After we explored that, we went to the interactive science museum right across the street.
Lunchtime rolled around, so we returned home for our last few hours of our visit. When we arrived, we were treated to the most amazing lunch: Czech dumplings. Babi had been working while we were out to prepare these delicious creations of jam encased in steamed dough, covered with melted butter and powdered sugar.
We also ate soup, but these dumplings really were our meal, not our dessert. Maria seriously considered just staying in the Czech Republic for the rest of the trip after that meal.
Lunch was followed by shots with Babi, a taste of their homemade brandy, and parting gifts of food. Vitek and Johny's mom had also stopped by to say goodbye. We hurriedly packed our things, took some last minute photos, and left (right on time!) for the train station with Kristyna. She speedily brought us to the station, helped us onto our train, and waved goodbye to us as we pulled away from the platform. We can't wait for our return to our favorite Czech family!
"Part of the ship, part of the crew"
- Maria and Giana