Thursday, August 21, 2014

In Jičín to see Rumcajs, Mango and Písek (Sand)

The town of Jičín August 17 - 20, 2014

Four days of adventure in a town full of fairy tale creatures, Jewish architecture and writers, green pastures, horses and small hills that seemed like mountains when climbing them with kids on our backs. My friend Nora, her daughter Mia, Rica and I. All-the-girls' party. We stayed in a motel called nobly Charlie in a small village outside of town but everybody else in the village called the place U Karla.

Jičín is the town of a famous fairy tale about Rumcajs, his wife Manka and their son Cipísek, which all kids of my generation - that is those who partly grew up during the communist times - know all too well. Rica nicknamed them Lumcajs, Mango or Manga (probably from the fruit she used to know well in the Philippines - mango) and Písek (Sand in CZ).

Today the cartoons of Radek Pilař seems to be a bit outdated but we ignored the fact that as small kids as ours prefer tablets and iPads nowadays and took them to a gallery dedicated to this fairy tale. The displayed objects could be moved from one side to the other. It naturally meant kids got into fight over trying to move one "scene" at the same time. Rica was the leader, of course.

Jičín is one of the most touristically attractive cities in CZ these days. The local city council plus probably investors did an excellent job with renovating and revitalizing it. The city is lucky for having this famous fairy tale I mentioned as well as Albrecht von Wallenstein who upgraded the place on a great scale and Karl Kraus, an Austrian writer and journalist who was born in Jičín. Not that the house of Karl Kraus would attract hords of day trippers but those who like books and literature from the beginning of the 20th century will probably know this witty, progressively thinking writer.

We topped our trip by climbing the Zebín Hill one day and Prachovské skály the next day. It was a lunch time and our girls were sleepy and intermittently whined and misbehaved. As if they could not do it at the same time and then gave us a little break. But Nora and I, the patient mothers, held on, particularly onto the baby stroller handles, since the terrain was not exactly stroller-friendly, as we were told by one of the park employees.

It was sunny, the air was as fresh as it could get in late summer (which reminded us more of the beginning of the fall anyway) and the green color surrounding us pacified our minds, so no nerve lost in the woods of the Czech Paradise (Český ráj). Rica, the true Filipina, insisted on walking in the mountains barefoot. A habit no New Zealander would find strange. Many Czechs around us did.