Newsletter | Nov/Dec 2015

Lucia Travels to the Czech Republic
by Lucia Bogatay

The day following the OWA Annual Meeting, which was held in my living room on October 20, I leave for Europe, where my vacation begins with a ten days’ visit in with friends in Kralupy na Vlatava, (“Kralupy on the river Vlatava,” known as the Moldow in German) a small town Northwest of Prague.
This hospitable family is composed of Lenka Capekova, Jaroslav Capek, their four year old child, Eduard, and an hyperactive German schnauzer named Fussey. Lenka’s mother Ivana died last winter. She was a good friend, and had such a powerful personality, it is hard to believe she is gone! She used to be my enthusiastic tour guide for architectural gems of the Czech Republic. However, Lenka and Yarda seem happy to take over her role as guide. It seems a nice diversion for them, and as always, they have planned tours of interesting castles and constructions in North and East Bohemia.

Eduard and Marek in a park in Prague. Photo by Lucia Bogatay

Lenka is an attorney who specializes in criminal law. Jaroslav (Jarda) is a civil engineer and contractor. He loves to cook and enjoys music. We always end up talking shop, so I learn about renovating old stone and masonry buildings and the woes of getting approvals. Eduard (Edu) is a precocious four year old, larger than his age group, mischievous and a bit spoiled. He has a definite technical bent, and is always examining machinery to see how it works, and “cooking” things (inedible things) while his father makes dinner. Lenka has a grown-up son by a previous marriage, named Marek. Edu likes him, it is clear, but isn’t sure who he is.
The smallish country town of Kralupy na Vlatava was badly bombed in World War II, and many of its older buildings were in need of extensive repair and rebuilding, affordable and perfect projects for a Contractor/Engineer like my host! Jarda bought half of a group of Farm buildings, and part of a terraced orchard. He has done a lot to the house, making it comfortable, adding a winter garden, and building it a garage. An adjacent wing is unfinished, and would be a place for his mother, or Lenka's father if either were in need of a place to live.

Between the small rural villages the rolling farmland extends in large uninterrupted swaths which my hosts say is the result of collectivization during the Communist era. It is now more efficient to farm, so no one seems to want to restore the old boundaries. This character is really obvious from a plane, and contrasts with Bavaria where the old land divisions are still in place. However, the inefficient old road system appears to be unchanged in Central Bohemia, with the exception of the addition of roundabouts which make the many small intersections much safer. Roads still go through the middle of towns, and wander along old boundaries with fruit and nut trees on both sides. Although I have been a passenger many times while traveling through this countryside to get from Krallupy to Prague (30 minutes away), I would need a GPS and a lot of luck to find my way alone!

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