Sunday, April 8, 2007

Prague, the Autobahn, and Easter at Axel's - April 8th

Moon over Vltava River, Prague, Easter Morning

Easter Sunday, April 8, 2007

[Photos from this day are included in the Prague photo set, the Photos from the Road set, and the Easter at Axels’s set.]

Sunrise in Prague

I awakened early on Easter morning, and was unable to go back to sleep so around 5 AM I ventured out into the pre-dawn streets of Prague. It was freezing cold. Down at the Charles Bridge the photographers were setting up for what promised to be a stunning sunrise. The sky was perfectly clear. There was a cluster of people smoking marijuana, and 2 drunk (or very high) girls huddled and babbling loudly from the foot of one of the statues. Occasionally someone crossed the bridge who looked like they were going to work.

I watched the sky. I was not pleased with any of my photos facing the sunrise from the bridge. It was when I turned away from the “spectacle” and looked at something else that I captured something of the loveliness of the morning.

I expected to hear the bells of the many Churches as the day broke, but surprisingly I only remember one lone bell at around 6AM.

We were due back in Parsdorf for Easter dinner with the Voges family, so after breakfast we retrieved our car from the parking place under the hotel and took to the road again. This time we knew our way and didn’t have much trouble getting out of Prague, but we still hadn’t figured the one-way signs out and at one point we found ourselves on a narrowing street that was just for trolley cars. (John quickly backed out of that!)

The Autobahn

On this Easter morning, the Western Czechoslovakian landscape was glorious. I saw crumbling castles in the distance and the towns and villages looked pastoral. There were no trucks on the road, and we had no problems getting through the “iron curtain” back into Germany. I don’t know how John did it, but we were back in Parsdorf in about 3 hours. When there are no speed limits posted on the Autobahn, you can go as fast as you want – and John did. We needed to get gas on the way – more than $5 per gallon.

Easter dinner at Axel’s

We went from the home of Hartwig and Margret to the home of one of their sons – Axel (Alexander) – about 10 km from Parsdorf (I don’t remember the name of the town). We have known these sons, Alexander and Andre, since 1980 when they were 9 and 10 years old. They are now grown up with wives and children and homes.

Axel’s home is considered to be “in the country”, but it is really on the road that connects the little villages. Land here is very expensive; I think 500 euros per square meter, or something like that, so owning a home with land around it is special. Axel and Martina have a small home that was built in 1920. They are both earthy and handy (and hard-working) and have made for themselves and their children a very unique and comfortable home.

We felt very fortunate to be able to spend Easter with our German friends. We had “Easter Bread” with coffee when we arrived, and later a Bavarian (Schwalbian) meal of roast with onions, red cabbage, green beans and potatoes. Each time we blessed the food and each other by holding hands and chanting a German Kindergarten grace:

Piep piep piep
Wir haben uns alle lieb! (we all love each other)
Bon Apetit!
Our friends and their children and grandchildren made this a very special day for us.

Margret is an exceptional and rare woman. She knows how to lose herself to the heart and mystery of what is good in life. When she is with her grandchildren she completely enters their world – verbally, physically and spiritually. Later that evening, as we were talking, she told me that she would not want to live in Munich or village much larger than Parsdorf (population about a thousand). They have lived in Parsdorf for 30 years and know everyone in the village. “We all know each other, raised our children together, and now we are growing old together”, she told me. “There is much comfort, security and mystery in that for me.”

[Photos from this day are included in the Prague photo set, the Photos from the Road set, and the Easter at Axels’s set.]

1 comment:

Daniel said...

You remind me my trip two years ago. We spent 4 days there and thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip, everything from public transport (very clean and punctual) to the wonderful architecture this city has. Also find good accommodation is not a problem, even in old center, there are a plenty of Prague hotels for any budget. Where ever you looked there’s history and character, which many cities are lacking.
What a fantastic, historical, wonderful city Prague is. It was my first trip to the Czech republic.
It wont be my last.