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Heritage Tourism


I mentioned that we were doing a bit of heritage tourism – visiting family, old places that they might have lived in. It can be an odd experience. Sometimes it is not clear that there is a direct relation. It's also strange to find that there is usually a language barrier and a "failure to communicate" in many cases. (For example, I failed to explain that winters are definitely harsh in Michigan's upper peninsula, though not necessarily with low temperatures; that my stepdad Mark is not retired but only works in the summers and still keeps a garden; or that, though we thought Czech beer was much better than the American counterpart, but we really did need some water or tea to drink, and that could not be supplanted by another shot of slivovice; etc.) Yet everyone we met seemed happy to meet us since they thought we might be distant relatives, and this was usually mutual. At least, this has been the case for us.

During the first week of my Mom's visit we have been looking for everything and everyone "Jindrich" because my stepdad's family name is Jindrich (Jindřich in Czech). So we traveled to Plzeň in order to visit the Jindřich family, at least the one that my stepdad's aunt has visited. She still corresponds with them, but they are not sure whether they are receiving letters from the one who visited or another who is interested in family history. (See, it's already confusing.) We found – not surprisingly – that there are many Jindřich families in the area. Once we found the correct village, we did make contact with the family the aunt has visited: Václav Jindřich and his wife, children, and grandchildren. They were all extremely nice, though I never did quite understand how we were related even after it had all been re-hashed and repeated about five times by all the adults (and translated from Czech to English or vice-versa by me). Translating, it seems, does not help the information stay in your head since it is taking up all your brain space with other things.

The next part of the trip was Jindrich's castle (Jindřichův Hradec), a medium-size town in south-east Bohemia. We did not fare so well here. There is a resemblance of name, of course, but this referred to an earlier nobleman who owned the castle. This was certainly not our ancestor. We didn't have any direct contacts here, but enjoyed exploring the beautiful renaissance town. The modern-day Jindrich's did not find such a warm welcome in Jindrich's castle:

-temperatures were in the –7 to –17 range for our entire stay
-we were rejected from the town ball for lack of formal attire
-we were charged the "recreation fee" twice to stay at hotels (even though there was little recreation to be done in the cold temps)
-the castle was locked during our entire stay so we had to satisfy ourselves with a look around the courtyards (still quite impressive and beautiful)
-the castle restaurant, along with almost all the others in town, closed its doors as soon as we walked by. (It claimed to be open until 15:00, and when we walked by at 13:00 the doors were open. When we returned at 14:00 the doors were locked and a sign outside said that the restaurant was only 15:00. ?)
-the pub ran out of beer and had to wait for a refill from the Pilsner Urquell tanker. (This wasn't a bad thing since we had a glass of beer the previous evening – these must have been the dregs. It was a surprise, though—I don't recall seeing the beer tanker in any other Czech towns!)

Comments:

Blogger Karla said . . .

Sounds strangely familiar despite my not having Czech relatives. As for the translation recollection issue, I have that without even having to translate for others. I understand things as they go by and promptly forget them as I deal with the next flood of data. (As I often do in English as well.) No one in their right mind will be hiring me as an interpreter.    

9:57 PM, February 03, 2006


Blogger costa rica said . . .

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.    

9:13 PM, February 14, 2008


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