- Photo Essays
With their subdued ambiance, low lighting and casual atmosphere the culture of tea houses in the Czech Republic is something else and Dobra Cajovna is tea house like no other I have found.
The Dobra chain of teahouses has branches all over the Czech Republic but my favourite is the one in the medieval town of Cesky Krumlov.
Cesky Krumlov is in Southern Bohemia nestled in a valley below the Sumava mountains, just north of the Austrian border.
It is a miniature version of Prague and is like stepping straight into a fairytale with the same uneven cobblestone streets, picturesque buildings, a river flowing through the middle of town and, of course, a 13th century castle towering above it all.
It is said that during the communist era while there was a ban on tea imports, a small group of tea-lovers would meet in secret and taste black market teas.
This same group started the first of the tea houses that would become the Dobra Cajovna chain.
I am seated on a round red cushion at a low table in a room of domed ceilings and mud-red walls. The room is lit only by the glow from several tiny teapot lamps – barely enough light to read by.
The description on the extensive tea menu tells me that my choice of steaming hot tea – ‘The Calling of Nepal’– will encourage reminiscent thoughts.
I’m not feeling the need to reminisce but this dim light and sweet smelling haze from the incense burning behind me is blurring my eyes, making it difficult to write and bringing me to wonder – what drives our compulsion to put words to paper in the first place?
Anais Nin said “we write to taste life twice”….could it really be that simple?
When we are interrupted while contemplating
During a good conversation deep into the night
When there is a light, soft drizzle
With agreeable friends and slim concubines
When the children are at school
In a bamboo grove on a spring evening
Under unusual rocks.
At the theatre
While opening letters
When the children are not at school
In torrential rain.