The Window Nook

Adventures in living abroad

Fishing In Moravia

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TopofWorld     It was only an hour after dawn when my alarm went off, soft-but-insistent nature sounds gradually increasing in volume until sleep was impossible. As I slowly awakened, an unfamiliar ceiling reminded me that I was far from my flat in Prague. Yesterday I had traveled to Zabreh, Moravia (eastern Czech Republic) with friends to visit family. We arrived mid-evening, and were treated to a sumptuous feast of roasted chicken, Czech sausages, beer, salads, desert, etc. Our hosts had created a covered brick patio behind their house, with long benches, a fireplace, counters for beer kegs, and a porch swing. At the edge of their yard, a small river trickled past, and the wind rustled through the tops of the birches planted along its edge. We feasted on grilled meats, sipped our beers, and shared stories of past adventures late into the night. As the fire died down, we lingered over the table, listening to the murmuring of the water and savoring the delicious tiramisu. Heading to bed, we agreed to an early start for a morning of fishing in a private pond, with the promise of large trout for those lucky enough to catch some. At 11 at night, mellowed with a glass of beer, 6 am sounded reasonable, even easy. But much less so the next morning. I dragged myself from bed, braided my hair, and stumbled down to the car, mumbling something about coffee. The small car zipped through the residential streets and out into the highway to the next town, loaded with fishing poles, water bottles, and a carton of food. The morning light fell gently across the fields, while those farms close to the hills remained in shadow, still slumbering before the brightness of the coming day. A few hairpin turns later, we arrived at our destination, a small crop of buildings guarded by a serene black cat. The brick and plaster house was set against a steep hillside, topped with a small feeding shed. From the covering of trees on the right, I could see a small line of deer venturing towards the food, including a small-footed, graceful doe and rambunctious fawn. The reloading of our cars being completed, we set out again, racing up the highway to a gated entrance that led down to the secluded pond. Two large ponds filled the small tract of land, bordered by a rising hills that housed a herd of cattle on one side. A partially finished cabin stood close to the lake, two stories with a sharply pointed roof and a row of windows along the lake side. Flowing water fed each lake, and gusts of wind scudded across the water, creating patterns of rippling waves that rose and died away. It was the quietness that struck me, the sense of being far from cities and traffic, the only sounds being the light sighing of the wind in the trees. This was peaceful. I wanted to curl up on a deck chair and nap the morning away. But there were fish to be caught.
Armed with fishing poles, carefully selected bait, and sheer determination, we spread out overSunset the two ponds, casting, reeling in, and casting again. As the morning wore on, we took breaks in the half-finished cabin, eating onion and sausage sandwiches while looking out over the water. At the end of several hours, we had caught a bucketful of rainbow trout. Wrapping them securely in plastic bags, we headed back, stopping along the way to sample a local cheese shop and briefly visit the ruins of a castle from the fourteenth century. Crumbling walls enclosed a small fortress set on a high hill, and enough walls remained to make out the layout of the original structure. The hill commanded a wide view across the tall, wooded hills beyond, with houses and farms clustered along the curving valley road.
The next morning we drove further towards the foothills, stopping at a nature center and heading steeply up the hillside, deep forests giving way to mountain blueberries and areas of large boulders. A short, steep climb through large boulders took us onto a promontory of flat rock, overlooking the countryside. Farms and forests stretched for miles in each direction, and the air smelled perfectly fresh. We sat together on the rocky ledges, savoring the view. Gradually, we headed back down the mountain, walking slowly in groups of twos and threes. During the long drive back to Prague that night, I thought back over the memories of this weekend. The sharing of stories over beer and sausages. The rippling of the breeze over the fishponds. Looking out over the countryside from the rocky promontory. And the next night? Dinner was roasted trout with lemon and garlic, flanked with zucchini. I have a feeling the rest of the fish will not last long in the freezer.

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Author: annekemae

Enjoys writing, photography, reading mystery, historical fiction, and travelogues, chocolate in any form, and tulips.

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