We gathered one evening with Misa's parents and spent the night getting to know one another. Here are Ollie and her grandmother, Misa's mother Dascha (spelled wrong, I know. It may be Dasa with a Czech circumflex or accent over the "s" to soften the sound, just like Misa.)
The family is fascinated. That's Misa's dad looking over Julia's shoulder.
The center of attention.
Does she look like Uncle Pete, or not? Actually, as she gets older, the delicacy of Misa shows more and more. But I remember Uncle Pete at that age, and the mischief and liveliness and fun of his daughter is him all over again.
Liz and Misa's mom made great strides communicating with each other - mostly through charades, though Misa's mom speaks better English than she thinks she does.
Liz and Misa found plenty to talk about, too.
Contemplating menus a day or two later, in Cesky Krumlov.
Uncle and niece. There's lots more to this post -- don't miss the "Read More" button below this picture!
at the fountain in the castle gardens at Cesky Krumlov. It's a bit of a triumph to get both Ana and Julia to agree to appear AND smile in a picture!
Waiting for the castle tour in one of the five courtyards of Cesky Krumlov castle. See how the "stones" are painted on? Many of the castle walls were painted that way -- obvious when close up, as here, but very good at fooling the eye from farther away.
The day we toured the castle at Cesky Krumlov, we had lunch at Krchma Marketa, a wonderful little garden restaurant. It was a long walk uphill from the village, all the way through the castle and halfway through the big formal gardens on a hot day, but well worth it to find this welcoming little half-underground tavern with a kind, attentive owner/waiter/manager and thick stone windowless walls so that it was pleasantly cool even though they were grilling the day's meats over an open fire in the next room. Lunch in the Czech Republic is not light -- pork, sausages, beef, dumplings -- but delicious! Here, I had grilled Camembert - an actual little round cheese that had been seared on the grill until the cheese melted inside the covering -- with cranberry sauce on top. Mmm.
On the hottest day of our visit, we abandoned tourism and went rafting on the slow, calm River Vltava, which winds so tight around the ancient village of Cesky Krumlov that it almost makes an island out of it.We rented two rafts to carry all of us, hiked upstream a short distance (fortunately) through the heat to the put-in spot, then floated happily downstream, dangling our legs in the water, splashing in from time to time, and paddling nervously through narrow, stone-walled sluices of faster water a few times to avoid waterfalls here and there. I didn't get any shots of the rafts shooting down the sluices, but maybe Laura did and can add one! "Best idea ever," said Ana, who also said that about our visit to the air-conditioned Baroque Theater at the castle. (More about that later).
Flower gardens spilled so beautifully over the ancient walls that loomed above us as we floated past.
A bridge and the castle tower, seen from the water
Playing in the river, with one small part of the immense castle rising above.
And playing in a waterfall!
Back on dry land, Rob successfully imitates the castle tower. See how persuasively the trompe l'oeil painting on the walls imitates stonework? There's real stone underneath, representing the various centuries in which the castle was built, rebuilt and expanded -- beginning in 900 a.d., more or less!! For some reason, in the 18th or 19th century, the stone was plastered over and then painted.
And the whole family imitates Seurat in the castle gardens.
Back in Prague, on our last night before heading reluctantly home, Laura and Jason stroll over the deeply romantic ancient bridge in the evening rain.
I have pictures of Cesky Krumlov, castles and Prague for one more post. Coming soon, I hope!