Beautiful Bohemia

Last week, I took off with 80 seventh graders and some colleagues for a week of Outward Bound adventure. We stayed at Nectiny Castle:

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It sounds a lot more glamorous than it was, but we had a great week. I can’t remember ever eating as much bread or potatoes in any week, though. The vegetarian option for most of the meals was to add more potato.

I’m not going to talk about the camp activities (which were great! I’ve never seen any camp leaders be more enthusiastic. The Hunger Games were brilliant!). I wish I could let you feel the natural beauty of the place.

Being in the forest felt like coming up for air.

DSC01070DSC00839 I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that sometimes here, especially in the country, you find food in a tree. So strange. We had one particularly lovely experience. Two teachers and I went for a walk one afternoon and stumbled upon a garden with the most delicious plums dripping over the fence. While we were eating them, the owner came out and was absolutely delighted to see us. She kept apologizing for the state of her flower beds and fruit and vegies because we’ve had a particularly dry summer. She whisked inside and returned with seven jars of preserves: 2 strawberry jam, rowanberry jam, apricots, mushrooms, and applesauce. Then she gave us flowers. Then she said that she’d been baking for her grandchildren, and fetched us a container of the most incredibly delicious and delicate little pastries. Oh my goodness. They were heavenly. It was all rather fairy tale-ish.

She came to the castle a couple of days later with a huge bag of photos to show us what her garden looked like under normal conditions. She was so lovely! She had actually lived in a house attached to the castle for twelve years, and her children had been born there. Our 7th grade girls found her irresistible, and the Czech speakers happily translated. That was a real highlight of camp for me.
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I’m looking forward to exploring more of the Czech Republic. I’m kind of in love with it:) It’s a common practice here for people to have a cottage of some sort out in the country, and to go there on the weekends. My neighbourhood is empty on the weekend. There’s a tiny cafe next to my apartment building called ‘The Laundry’ and during the week, there are always little tables and chairs on the cobblestoned sidewalk in front, usually until after midnight, but on the weekend, it doesn’t stay open as late. People are off in the country.
I get it.
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