Nastravije!

“It’s home made” he said proudly, a big smile on his face, as he poured the wine into our glasses. The three of us looked at each other, our walk around the lake had suddenly taken a whole new turn.

It all started when we -three girls and old friends from kindergarten- tried to make a fire, and completely failed. We had nothing with us but that disposable grill and a lighter, trying to light it by burning cardboard was useless. “We should ask the people over there if they have some lighter fuel” one of us suggested. We had found a perfect spot right by the lake on some rocks, with a view over the surrounding deep forest and our hometown. About a hundred meter away there were some summer houses, and there seemed to be people staying in at least one of them.

Two of us set off, crawled under the fallen tree and between the thick fir tree branches. We found two men from the Czech Republic, and asked if they had some liquid. “Like matches?” the one asked. “No, we have matches. Like… you know, the liquid to make it burn?” I tried to explain. “Booze?” the man raised his eyebrows. “No no, ähm…” he came with us. Giving one glance at our disposable grill filled with pieces of cardboard sticking up every here and there, it was a sad sight I must say, he said “You can share our grill, we have one up there, it’s no problem.”

Ten minutes later we were having home made white wine with three Czech men in the middle age, outside their rented red cottage with white corners not overlooking the lake but sure in the forest. As we had our sausages one of them went inside to get another bottle. “You must try this, you really must” he said and put six small glasses on the table. “Like a snaps?” I asked. “Yes, like a snaps.” he said and poured the drink. “Is it also home made?” He looked at me and smiled, “yes, it is definitely home made” and smiled even bigger as he said it. “Nastravije!” “Skål!” “You have to look into the eyes of the person you cheer with,” and we gazed deep into each others eyes before we swallowed what tasted like pure poison. It’s amazing how you meet the world by just walking into the forest.

We tried to make them taste our stick-bread, but they didn’t seem convinced and said no. “I am impressed by your equipment, you have everything with you, really,” one of them said. “Well you have to be prepared, and it’s not so much anyway” my friend replied. As we left we gave them our mushrooms, they seemed to think that we had pluck them ourselves but the truth is we bought them. As thank you they gave us the bottle of wine to take home.

Half an hour later we continued our walk around the lake, found ourselves trapped between the mountain and the water and decided we had to turn back. The surroundings has changed a lot since we were kids, and also many more summer houses has popped up where there used to be trails along the lake shore. We walked up the ski slope instead and watched the sunset over the small town. All we saw was the white church tower and the houses closest to the water, the rest was forest. Deep, thick, fir and pine forest around the glimmering clear blue water. It was the the town that used to be our home.

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