Family Business

July 11 - 14, 2002

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020711-162023a.jpg (141489 bytes)020711-144102.jpg (219583 bytes)From Prague we headed east to see the Czech branch of my family. It was to be my young cousin's wedding to which we have been invited, and I also wanted to visit my favorite castle, Bouzov in central Moravia. This is truly a castle like from a fairy tale: perfectly maintained and of a kind that makes you feel (and fear) the medieval ages.

020711-153600a.jpg (143491 bytes)020711-153416a.jpg (184698 bytes)From the castle we went to my 95 year old grandfather for a visit, and to take him to the wedding. I am sure that you really don't care about Czech weddings, so I will spare you the details. It should be said that my cousin told me a week before the event that he counts on me to do the pictures (the fool!) so I had to behave myself, and wear something decent. Still, a cousin's wedding is not sufficient reason to wear a tie, besides, it would get in the way when handling the cameras, right?

020713-164722.jpg (228608 bytes)020713-164920.jpg (148647 bytes)While the newlyweds and other party guests were processing all the good food and especially drink they ingested, Essan and I went back to grandpa's and visited my native village. It's kinda strange to be visiting a place where you haven't lived for the past 21 years, yet it still looks exactly the same as when you left: the playground was probably never since cleaned, the swings are nicely rusty, just the occasional satellite dish at people's windows shows that the days have somewhat changed.

020713-161136.jpg (161064 bytes)020713-161748.jpg (185506 bytes)We also visited the ruins of the caste of Potstejn, these days not much more than a pile of stones, but rumor has it that in the 1200s it was quite a fortress. Today it's just a very small, quiet village, quiet enough that people dry the laundry outside during rain and don't seem to mind. I used to bike here with my school friends when we were 10 years old. Arguably, it's from these bike rides that I have my big brake fetish. One rainy day when a bunch of us were racing down the hill from the ruin, all but two ended up in the woods, missing one or the other 180-degree turn. Wet brakes were blamed for the rather amusing picture of us limping the remaining 5km home with bloody arms and legs and something remotely resembling a bike. Now my car has 13" rotors, and even my bike has disk brakes, even though I don't really use it in bad weather anymore...

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Grandpa lives in a rain attractor, being a little village where it always rains, or so the natives say. It's actually quite amazing, as it really does rain there notably more than in villages less than 5km away. But rainy weather often makes for better pictures, they say, just too bad one can't record the thunder (yet). Nicely soaked, we spent some time showing pictures from my cousin's wedding to grandpa, and hit the sac. In the morning I took pictures of the local train station, at which I spent so much time -- trains were a big thing back then, before they became uncool and everyone had to have at least one car. These days not so many trains run anymore, and the station down the line, what used to be a huge hub for cargo trains, is pretty much deserted.

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In the morning we headed away from grandpa back to my cousin's place to attend the classic annual feast, meaning all family members in the same county get together and grill some chickens. My two other cousins were there with their kids, who showed me my uncle's small farm much better than my uncle could ever have done. And uncles and aunts - er, grandpas and grandmas were at times unstoppable; probably still energized by the wedding party two nights ago.

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