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June 3, 2006
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Today was our first day of more or less utter relaxation. Our housemate Veronika invited us to lunch with her friends David, Pavela, and Petra. David's an American English teacher who came for a visit in '94 and never left. Pavela and Petra are fellow nurse social worker colleagues of Veronika. Additionally, I got an email out of the blue from Lawrence Wells, another American longtime Czech resident who chanced upon a map of Kutna Hora here a month after his initial contact with PoD (also by chance) and asked if he could ride his bike over as he was going to be in the area doing research for an audio walking tour. Cyclists are always welcome here! Veronika made delicious cabbage pancakes with potatoes and Sarah fried up some tasty soy steaks. Pavela is one of the first native Czech vegetarians we've met but she says it's quickly becoming more common here. She was impressed with the steaks and asked for the recipe (the secret ingredient is vinegar). After lunch we took a tour of the historic church across the street which was consecrated in 1165 and lasted almost 800 years without incident until in the 1950s a cold war airbase was built nearby and sonic booms of jets cracked the building. The solution was to exhume all the graves of surrounding centuries-old cemetery and fix the foundation. That's progress! We walked around a pond, past fields of waving grain, then back to backyard where we sat in the sun and chatted over red wine, grapes, and chocolate. As the visitors left, Pavela said in a kind of Seattle dialect, "This place has good energy." "It's the people that make it," I said. We built a small fire, Veronika played guitar and sang camping songs, saying it was strange to do without others to sing along. Sarah and I recognized a couple of the tunes, but all the words had been changed when adapted to Czech. John Denver's "Leaving on a Jet Plane" became a lullabye, something to the effect of "Sleep and Soon You'll Dream...."