Puddleville (Prague)

Trip Start Jun 01, 2006
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Trip End Ongoing


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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Puddleville (Prague) and Dresden

As with all trains, I worried for the first half of the ride that I was on the wrong train, then I worried for the second half that I would miss my station! However, I arrived in Prague and was met by my friends.

Again, as with all 'friend' visits, sorry, you don't get the details. It will have to suffice that T&M went to Europe on the honeymoon and had a tour of Eastern Europe planned. In their case, once they hit Prague, they stopped, never went on to the other cities in their itinerary. Upon their return, they made plans and within 6 months had moved to Prague and have been there ever since.

After a year or two, they moved out of the city to a small town about an hour and a half away to the north. They now live in a place that loosely translates as "Puddleville" where they bought a house, had children, and now live contentedly. I have not seen them for some time and years ago we were quite close, spending much time together so it was wonderful to see them again and catch up. I also was able to see another Godson (I do have a few!) and his brother and although the visit was brief, I was able to connect a little with them as well- as for them, I am close to being a virtual stranger!

Puddleville is situated in the mountains not far from the Polish border. A small village of a few hundred people, everyone knows everyone else (and their business) and my friends are settling in and an accepted part of village life now. I got to walk around, go into the 'big' town a few miles away for lunch one day and generally get a feel for T&M's life.

Being up in the mountains, the weather is much colder. There was frost on the ground each morning and winter is most definitely on the way. For me, the contrast of coming in from 'the cold' to a warm house, filled with children and all the habiliments of home began to make me homesick. This was later re-enforced when I got to Dresden: after an evening walk in the cold, I could look in to windows and see people warm and snug in their own homes, surrounded by their things and lives- it has now made my hotel rooms less appealing and I find myself getting homesick. Homesick, of course, is a relative term, since I no longer have a home! I am reminded of the old fable of "The Grasshopper and the Ant" and now that winter is almost upon me, I realize that getting back and getting a 'home' is important before the snow flies! So in that sense, I think my wanders are about over and while I regret the end of the journey approaching, I think I am clear that I will not extend the trip any longer, but rather head 'home' and get something snug for the winter.

Of note, the house next door (ok, in the front yard) of their house is going up for sale. Snug and cozy, it has two bedrooms and a bath upstairs, a living room and eat-in kitchen downstairs. Made of stone, it appears to be in good shape. Their guess, it will go on the market for about $20k (USD). Hhhmmm, should I choose the path of 'writer' it might be an option. For that matter, should I want a nice home-base in Europe, it might be an option! We figured about $5k (USD) for improvements, maybe another $5k for modern appliances and voila- for about $35k (can you imagine?) a home. Paid for. In a quaint village with a cost of living of less than $500 per month- I could do a lot writing at those prices- it's a consideration!

Anyway, Puddleville. After a wonderful visit with my friends, it was time to move on to Berlin. Now, just because you live in Puddleville, does not mean you don't have a busy life when you have kids. I was struck by home similar life is when you have children, regardless of whether you live in metropolitan Dallas or Puddleville. Art lessons, Scouting meetings, all the things kids now participate in, are prevalent everywhere. You CAN be a 'soccer mom' and spend half you day in a car, even in a small village in the mountains of the Czech Republic! So, on the last night, we worked on schedules (one child has this after school and needs to be picked up at this time, another has that activity and needs to be somewhere else) so that meant trying to fit in a drive back to the train station while not leaving a 6 year old stranded! We went to a larger town about forty five minutes away where I got a train to Dresden. I decided Dresden was worth a quick visit before moving on to Berlin.

So, train to Dresden. Of course, I speak no Czech and was a bit confused and did my usual and - worry I am on the right train, worry I am getting off at the right place. It worked out.
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