Trip Start Sep 12, 2011
Trip End Dec 20, 2011

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Moravia,
Monday, September 19, 2011

The train trip to Brno was a touch of the Communist era, basic but comfortable. The promised dining cart was non-existent, we walked from one end to the other and it was definately not there, perhaps it had uncoupled itself. Lucky Rose-Marie and I had suggested we save our little packets of dry biscuits and cream cheese from the plane trip we couldn't fit in at the time. Katherine laughed at us keeping them, a very Czech ( or at least a very Dad ) thing to do !  We had them and a banana as a real treat. Going to the toilet was abit of a hoot, pumping the pedal with your foot to get water at the washbasin, Katherine got abit carried away with the rhythm of the train and flooded the place.

Arrived in Brno to a very excited Zdenka and husband Jirka running along the platform calling out Ahoy. Zdenka's stepfather is Rudolf Wositzky, who is Dad and Rosa's cousin. We have stayed the last few nights at Yirka's sisters place, wiith their son Peter who has been just fantastic. Peter speaks very good English so has become our constant companion, interpreter, translator, guide, and fellow detective in trying to find various places in Brno. He has an amazing knowledge of the city, it's buildings and history and without him we probably wouldn't have found nearly as much as we have.

Together with Zdenka and Jirka we have walked and walked, have found all the addresses of their past homes, been to the park across the road where they played, the old post office where Granny worked. The one home we want to go back to tomorrow is at 14 Kolisce - the one where they set off to freedom- Dad in February, followed by Granny, Rosa and Rose-Marie just before Easter in 1949.Tomorrow we will walk from there to the train station just as they did.  

A highlight today was ( after a few attempts over the past few days ) searching around the old area Dornich, the poorer area, often referred to as the slum, we found the old canal we were looking for. Most of this area has been destroyed, what's left is mostly derelict or falling down. Has a really interesting feel to it though, steam coming up through pipes, crumbling walls, rusty pipes, almost like a scene from Oliver. Today sneaking behind old buildings on a hunch of Peters we found it, completely overgrown, and very very smelly. This was the area Granny,Dad and Rosa lived in when they came back from Russia. It was an area that had canals with the poorest of housing right on the canals, the houses were mixed in with textile and wool factories which drew water from the canals. Apparently the toilet waste was thrown out the windows from the houses directly into the canals, so the smell today was very apt.

Finding the church that Dad went to and prayed before leaving has proven more difficult. There are many churches, and all we have is a photo of an alter inside the church, both Katherine and Rose-Marie have been to this church before but can't remember exactly where it was. It's been a process of illimination, now down to two options. One church is under reconstruction and thus we can't get inside to see the alter, this is the one Katherine thinks it is - But Peter went to the Bishops office with the photo and after being handballed through several people he found a lady that was absolutely certain it was St Michaels. So.. off we went to St Michaels - closed .. but there is Mass on there tonight so wešll hopefully find our answer !

In amongst all this searching - we have been well and truely stuffed with food by Ydenka and Jirka, cakes, coffee, bread rolls, ham, cheeses, dumplings, duck, rabbit, beer, wine, cabbage, strawberry icecream, palacinka -  the array of food is endless! 

Tomorrow train to Vissy Brod ... until then. 

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Melinda on

Thanks Helen for taking the time to keep us all updated with your adventures.

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