Last week I had the glorious pleasure of accompanying my two cousins to their grandmother's holiday house near the German border, in the Czech Republic. We drove for seven hours across Germany with a four month-old baby in the back seat, his devoted mother breastfeeding him every two hours or so, and the three of us (or rather four) singing maniacally to a CD of English children's songs I brought back from London. If I ever have to hear "If you're happy and you know it" again my head is going to start spinning. We arrived at a little wooden hut facing a lake, surrounded by other wooden huts, to an enthusiastic welcome from the Czech-only speaking auntie, twelve year old baby crazy cousin and grandmother, as well as their mum who had arrived a week previously. And fruit-filled dumplings, hot, with powdered sugar. And a hammock, which became my second home for the week while the four adults (I don't count myself) discussed their lives in Czech, only to occasionally ask me a question through my cousins, about my plans, my family, my eating habits, my ankle.
Actually not speaking Czech was a really strange experience - having to nod and smile with half the inhabitants of a very small house was a little stressful at first. But by the last day Eva was talking at me in Czech in the kitchen and I was happily not comprehending anything she had to say. At first it was weird though, especially when the grandma asked me within the first five minutes why I wasn't married and why I was a vegetarian. But obviously there were also benefits - she couldn't ask me directly for example.
It was so lovely to spend time with all these energetic and positive women, as well as a cute baby. I came back to Kiel with so much good energy - it's lovely.
The spa town near to the hut we stayed in, Fransensbad in German. Gorgeous yellow and white buildings, in the style of the Austro-Hugarian empire, surrounded by parks, fountains and the springs themselves.
One of the springs, I'm not actually filling up the bottle because my cousin said she'd throw up if she had to smell it. It did smell a bit like a year eight science room.
My aunt goaded all young women of childbearing age without children into touching this statue, which is supposed to increase your fertility.
The view from the hut.
Susie and Junus looking lovely.
Little Junus looks like his granddad.