Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Monday, November 13, 2023
With the Amawaterways journey over, we took the train from Vienna, Austria to Prague, Czechia. Rail service in Europe is quite good, we had booked tickets on a nonstop train. We arrived in Prague in the early evening. We walked from the train station to our hotel: I was glad it wasn't too far as wheeling luggage over cobble stones isn't always easy. The street our hotel was on was a little dreary, but the hotel was nice, and we were right off of Wenceslas Square and very close to the Old Town. After checking into the hotel, we walked back to the square and found a nice place for dinner. My sister and I shared a jumbo kebob with chicken, beef, zucchini, corn and red pepper washed down with a Pilsner beer for which Czechia is famous.
The next day we toured the Old Town. The Old Town in Prague is quite extensive, and you could easily spend two full days there exploring all the little side streets. We saw the astronomical clock on the Old Town Hall, walked to Charles Bridge and all the way down to the Dancing House where we stopped for iced coffees. We also did a river cruise in the evening. It was nice not to have to meet a schedule.
Prague Castle which was on the other side of the Vltava river so off we went again to cross Charles Bridge. Little did I know that there would be many stairs to walk up to get to the castle. There are quite a few places to explore in the Prague Castle, the palace, the church and the Golden Lane depending on which ticket you buy will determine what buildings you can tour in the castle complex. We didn't do any of the towers, I didn't mind as I wasn't up for more stairs. The tickets are good for two days which is why we went on our second day as then we knew we wouldn't have to rush to see everything and could, if we wanted to, go back the next day.
On the first day as we were walking around the Old Town, we noticed a tour guide pointing up to show a group of people a statue and we found out in Prague you have to look up or you'll miss some things. So, on our third day, we decided after visiting the Museum of Illusions to go on a hunt for some of Prague's whimsical statues. I'm sure if we went back we would find ones that we missed.
Wednesday, November 1, 2023
Today, 1 November is also the Day of the Dead. It is a joyful celebration to remember family members and friends who have passed away.
This year we lost a number of family members but two were both kith and kin. In May, we lost my mother's older brother, Terence Pineau. My father, Danny, met Terence in the Royal Candian Air Force, I think, when they were both posted to Beaverbank, Nova Scotia. So, my uncle Terence was my dad's friend before they were brothers-in-law. It was Terence who brought my dad home to visit his family in Halifax, where he met my mother, Anne. As for my uncle Terence's wife Helen, she was my mother's friend before Terence and Helen began dating. My mother was Helen's Maid of Honour at their wedding and a year later Helen was my mother's Maid of Honour. So, for both my parents, their friends became family.
|Helen and Terence's wedding|
|Anne and Danny's wedding|
We also recently lost a cousin of my mother's, Ivan Arsenault. Ivan was a second cousin. I'm not really sure of their relationship. Ivan was about three years younger than my mother, so it's unlikely that they met on Prince Edward Island before my mother's family moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia. We were living in Alsask, Saskatchewan, a small radar station of the Pinetree line, when one night my father called from the Junior Ranks Club. He told my mother that there was an Arsenault from the Island and they were probably related. As the story goes, my mother said: "Don't be ridiculous not every Arsenault from the Island is related". Well, it turns out if you're an Arsenault from PEI, you probably are. Anyway, they hung up, but later in the evening, my dad called back and said: "You have some of the same uncles, I'm bringing him home". And that's how we met Ivan Arsenault. In Saskatchewan, we were a long way from any family, Ivan is the first relative I remember meeting. My mum's parents and their youngest children had visited us in Foymount, Ontario, our previous posting but I don't recall that visit at all and my dad's mother had visited us in Alsask but I only vaguely remember that visit. My mother and Ivan probably met as children on PEI during the summers as Ivan used to help his father or grandfather with deliveries. But it was way out in western Canada that we all became both family and friends.
Ivan and Terence were good friends of my father and all three served in the Royal Canadian Air Force as Air Defence Technicians or Air Weapons Controllers. Our families would be posted together at 21 Radar Squadron in St Margaret's New Brunswick.