“A wedding, I love weddings!” says Jack Sparrow, and the same goes for me, though probably for different reasons than the ones he concluded his statement with. Seven hours on a Eurocity Express from Hamburg to Prague, and then I was picked up by one of the wonderful maids of honour to continue to the wedding location, Statek Ondříkovice.
I had mostly been to Prague before and it was exciting to see the landscape change to the stuff of those Czech fairytale films I remembered from my childhood. Hilly, green, lush – the busy highway eventually gave way to narrower country roads boardered by fields, grass and occasional forest. I was indeed in a village and we had to ask for directions despite the GPS. But time moved differently here. And when I stepped out of the car and breathed in, it was as if great buckets of something else entirely were being poured straight in to my lungs, making them expand. A city girl I am, through and through, and this air was immediately and completely different. “You don’t go to places like this often, do you?” one of my co-passengers remarked shrewdly.
Located on the edge of what is known in the Czech Republic as the Bohemian Paradise, Statek Ondříkovice is a lovingly restored farmhose which combines comfort with features that help retain its original charm, like the wooden furniture and staircase. Flowers spill from windowsills and corners, and it’s all so idyllic I can’t quite believe it. It’s also very warm and summer is simply everywhere. Wide fields surround the property and a spacious courtyard makes for breakfast outside in good weather.
The sounds from the cosily creaking staircase in the lobby mingle with the excited voices of guests running to and fro between rooms as they prepare for the wedding. I step outside on the wooden balcony spanning the second floor and run my hand carefully along the railing, watching stripes of sunlight settle on it. It feels like a happy house.