Pavel's younger sister Hana lives a short walk away with her husband and baby daughter (a 2-month old premie who's just one of the smallest things I've ever seen!).
The feature event of the weekend: about 4 times a year, Pavel's extended family gets together to slaughter one of their pigs. They then slice up and store the meat for stews and eating for months to come, the fat to use for cooking oil, the skin and other meat for sausage,... actually, the only part of the entire pig not stored and used were its feet, its tail, and in this case its intestines, though those can also be used for sausage casing, etc.
It may sound strange, but the whole process was actually kind of fascinating, and far less bloody than I expected as well (they did work over drains which collected everything immediately). I took way too many pictures to post to the blog, but I will put them on a separate webpage and link up soon. Actually, Pavel's family almost never buys meat, eggs, or veggies -- between their pigs, rabbits, hens, and large garden they're pretty much set!
Pavel's family was wonderful and welcoming, as was everyone else I met in the village. A number of his relatives seemed fascinated to have an American visiting in their house, and so bombarded Eliska with questions about me as we went to return equiptment to relatives and walk around the village. And everywhere we went, we were invited in and offered a shot of their homemade alcohol, which of course it would be very rude to say no to! Between the shots of "stay warm" alcohol Pavel's family gave me in the morning, the glasses of warm spiced wine his mother and grandmother insisted I drink at lunchtime, and the shots of "we welcome you" alcohol his relatives around the village gave us, I was working up quite the buzz by mid-afternoon. Which of course meant that I took a three-hour nap, as did the rest of the family. :-)