Home: Die Werkstatt Südafrikablog: Kom die Kaap na!

14.5.08

A glimpse of true Bohemian lifestyle

The lake.

It takes nearly two hours to cover the eighty kilometers from Prague to Stary Splavy, but neither the time it takes to get there, nor the distance traveled really can express the difference between these two places – it couldn’t be more drastic.

Leaving Prague with the distinct feeling of having seen nothing but the tourist race track, eyes still glazed over from the reflections in glitzy shop windows, ears buzzing with the whirr of rapidly expanding western consumerism, I was a bit strung out over having missed an opportunity to connect with the past.

Here however, in the birthplace of my grandfather, listening to the early morning birds greeting the sun rising over a placid lake, I finally feel the idea behind our trip come into life. I stop to sit and breathe the air, taking in the smells of the spring emanating from the vicinity – and the little drowsy village, where lush forests and plentiful fields abound, where in the distance the old ruin of 'Bösig' castle protrudes from the mists on its dramatically benign hill, transforms itself to the place described to me in countless bedside stories.

Here I can do it, here I can imagine, almost a hundred years ago, a little boy of five or so run through fields, catch fish with a self-made rod cut from a hazel bush, play under the big wheel of the mill that gave the place its German name of yonder, Thammühl.

You, little boy, whose blood now runs through my own veins, here I can imagine how you endured the strict rule of your own father in school - before setting out to become a teacher yourself, continuing a family tradition, that lives on to this day in my own doing. Here, where the echo of the wood grouse, whose secret mating rituals you breathlessly witnessed from the underbrush, still seems to ring through the night, here I listen to the murmuring silence of the lake, in whose boggy coves you learned to swim, dive and lay silent in pursuit of pike and crane, qualities which were then acquired playfully, but would prove life-saving on your adventurous treks over the borders of hostile states forty years and two devastating wars later.

In Stary Splavy, we managed to discover not only the birth-house, the old school, but also identified the old mill, as well as a pub with a tradition of more than a century, all mentioned in my grandfather’s memoirs that guide us on our quest. We also re-discovered the grave of my great-grandparents, all but overgrown by brush, on the small cemetery of Doksy, which once was called ‘Hirschberg am See’.

But more importantly than all those places and buildings - it seems to me that by coming here and listening to the sounds coming from the inside, I have unearthed a part of my soul.

1 comment:

Lieschen said...

so, wie sie das beschreiben, hört es sich an, wie eine dieser geschichten, die man als kleines kind immer vorgelesen bekommt...in meinem kopf ist es fast ein bilderbuch...auf jeden fall wünsche ich ihnen noch eine schöne zeit dort und danke für den kommentar auf meinem blog!
lg,
das lieschen

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