We spent last weekend in the Czech Republic at the wedding of our (currently Southampton based) friends Petra Hajkova and Petr Junek. Things didn’t get off to a good start with the Thomsonfly flight from Bournemouth to Prague delayed by an hour and a half. This meant Emma wouldn’t wait for the feed that Christine had hoped to give her on the ascent and then had just dropped off sleep when it was time to board. Emma screamed a bit when the doors were closed but, greedy thing that she is, eventually settled in to a feed and then proceeded to sleep for most of the flight.
Hertz then delayed us a little further by directing us to the wrong parking bay and then I had to work out how to fit the child seat we had hired (somehow I had though they might do this for us). The wedding was taking place in a small village called StrÃ¡Å¾nÃ© on the edge of the Krkonose Mountains to the North East of Prague. We had to break the two and a half hour journey for a feed which then meant we wasted a further ten minutes or so taking wrong turns in the dark.
The upshot of all of this was that we arrived at the wedding venue shortly after dinner had been cleared away and we collapsed in to bed with just a cereal bar for sustinance. Still, it had taken us considerably less than the 26 hours it had taken a friend with a green conscience to come via train.
We joined the other Brits for breakfast the following morning and then went for a short walk before dressing for the eleven o’clock ceremony at the adjacent church. Sadly, Emma objected to the organ music that marked the arrival of the bride and groom. Christine whisked her away quickly, missing all of the service (and indeed most of the next three hours whilst Emma slept, the baby monitor battery having died on the journey out). Petra was resplendent in white dress whilst Petr had hired the works – tails, top hat and gloves.
There were sections of English to keep the non-Czech speakers amused and mercifully no hymns. We then returned to the accommodation where the eating and drinking began. There was also the traditional joint sawing of logs and sweeping up of a broken plate (don’t ask me!) followed by a manic bearded story-teller come puppeteer who threw the occasional English phrase in to the Czech fables so that there was a vague chance that we might comprehend.
In another tradition, the bride was then ‘kidnapped’ by relatives and taken to a local hostelry. The groom’s party then proceeded to go from pub to pub in search of her, the groom having to fork out for drinks at each venue until she was found. We were left in the hands of a live band (a little loud for Emma who only ventured out during their breaks) and Petr’s mum who was determined to introduce the Brits to the full range of Czech spirits despite not being able to communicate in English.
As the band gave way to a somewhat quieter rendering of someone’s MP3 collection, we skulked off to bed. Breakfast was mercifully a little later the following morning and Emma duly obliged by sleeping for over eleven hours.
It was only a fleeting visit to the Czech Republic for us and it was soon time for us to set off back to the airport. We stopped off briefly in Jicin to wander around the old town and head up the obligatory town tower. Thomsonfly were only 50 minutes behind schedule for the return journey. Christine had the unfortunate task of changing a nappy mid-air in a toilet that was big enough for baby or mother but not both.
On balance, an enjoyable weekend but also a hard introduction to the additional complexities (and stresses) of traveling with children.