Thanks to my husband's work, we are in Poland for a week. There are so many things that remind of the Czech Republic that it's uncanny. I knew that the two countries shared a lot of the same culture, but I never expected to be hit so hard since I buried my Czech life a few years ago.
My husband wanted to eat in a Czech restaurant a few days ago. I immediately hesitated because I wasn't sure I wanted to go on a trip down memory lane. I have to say that Czech cuisine is not the type of cuisine that many people immediately like, but I miss it a lot. I would say that the Poles eat more red cabbage than the Czechs. The Czech cuisine uses more German-style Sauerkraut cabbage (meaning it is more sour). They also eat a lot of bread dumplings while the Polish ones are more dense and potato-like. The Czechs also like goulash, but their goulash is a lot milder than the Hungarian one, which is more spicy. My husband was so eager that I gave in, thinking about how much I missed Czech food.
|Traditional Polish food. Author of photo: Den Nation.|
We were greeted to music by Jaromir Nohavica, a Czech folk singer. I remember how I used to listen to Czech folk songs, especially his songs, all the time, and now I haven't listened to any of these songs in the past 5 years. It's funny how things change, isn't it?
The waitress was really friendly and while the food was good, it wasn't 100% authentic. I'd say it was around 80% authentic so still pretty close.
I was so surprised that I could still sing along with some of Jaromir's songs, even after all these years. I was listening to Jakube, Jakube and was suddenly overcome with nostalgic feelings. There I was 6 or 7 years ago riding my bike through the forest at the outskirts of Prague. I remember that forest: I spent so much time walking and exploring there. I still remember its strong pine smell.
And then suddenly there it was. Right in the middle of forest, right in the middle of a small lake was what I called the pond pub. You knew you were arriving because the trees were less dense. Then you came to a drop and a clearing. I remember dragging my bike down to the lake and crossing the small path to join the pub in the middle of the pond/lake. Going there at sunset during the summer was the best: the cicadas were chirping, shadows were moving across the water, the mosquitoes were out and biting and there was this quietness, a peaceful still. They always softly played Jaromir's music and the food and drink were 100% authentic, far, far away from the tourist food in central Prague. It was so simple but yet an idyllic paradise.
The memory was so vivid yet so far away at the same time. It was so bittersweet: how I longed to be there if only for a minute. I'll probably never go back there again, I hope I'll dream about the pub on the pond.
As much as these nostalgic feelings make me uneasy, I do welcome them. It's my time to reflect on things, on my life, my experiences, the people that I have known and know and to remember. Even if it's a bit sad, I am so glad for these memories. Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, right?
p.s. If anyone is interested in hearing the song Jakube, Jakube, just click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5r7jfu1zwA