Following on from Friday’s Bench, I thought you might like to see the border between Gmund and Ceske Velenice I was talking about. There’s a thin strip of land which is neither Austria nor the Czech Republic, so it seemed appropriate to place my husband in ‘no man’s land’ 😉
The Czech Republic joined the EU in 2004, so it seemed strange to me that the unmanned border crossings between the two countries are still very much in evidence. In contrast, we’ve enjoyed toll-free bridges across the River Severn into Wales since last December and I saw workmen dismantling the toll booths when I went to Fishguard in February.
We stayed in the pretty north Austrian town of Gmund on holiday, remarkable because was split in two between Austria and Czechoslovakia after WWII. The other part of the town (now part of the Czech Republic) is called Czeske Velenice and was a mere 5 minute walk away across a now unmanned yet still imposing looking border post.
A little further on was the town’s (both portions) main railway station. Ceske Velenice inherited it as part of its allotted portion. Gmund’s station is tiny by comparison.
To my eye the station itself looks little changed from the communist era, though I’m sure the residents could put me right on that.
Having seen some stark contrasts between some of the towns and villages either side of the border, my husband had an interesting chat with one of the train drivers.
‘Are you happy?’ he asked. ‘Yes, I am’, was the smiled reply, ‘I don’t have the latest phone or car, but me and my family have a comfortable life. We don’t need the latest things to be happy with our friends and family’.
You might think that sounds a bit forced or rote, but hubby said his reply was spontaneous and genuine – remember I’m reporting his report of the conversation. In our world of must-haves and keeping up with the Joneses, it was food for thought.
One of the more bizarre moments on holiday in Prague was finding these giant items bouncing up and down by the escalators in one of the new shopping centres.
The doughnut and strawberry on a fork were odd enough, but I’m not really sure how a handbag and a heart of roses fit with the theme!
A simple plank placed over a log meant that sitting down, standing up and even just sitting were carefully choreographed. Much laughter ensued!
A steep grass bank in the monastery gardens in Litomysl intercut with supporting stone walls with room for simple wooden seating made for a simple performance area in the garden.
This is one of the fabulous artworks to be found in the wonderful monastery gardens in Litomysl. OK, it’s strictly speaking a chair rather than a bench, but I think it’s well worth an airing in this category 🙂
I love how road signs are the same when abroad, yet subtly different. Here the Men at Work sign looks less like a man opening an umbrella and he’s still wearing a cap. Whilst I can smile at this image now, it wasn’t much of a joke when we were at Litomysl as they starting drilling into the road at 6am, not that far from our bedroom window!
Romance at a restored chateau in Bohemia