Czech Republic Starring Roles: Castles and Beer

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Jindrichuv Hradec Castle Czech Republic

Czech Republic Starring Roles: Castles and Beer

What a whirlwind day!  I enjoyed fascinating conversation ranging from the Hussite wars to carp for Christmas Eve. Zoe drove us through the countryside to several destinations. There were discoveries around every bend in the road.  We regularly passed roadside shrines the kindly Czech people built for the safety of travelers. They also planted endless rows of fruit trees along the roads for travelers to enjoy.  We even passed a train station with stables–because the Czechs had horse drawn trains!

With more castles per square mile than any other country, we had many castles to see before we slept. Our first stop was Jundrichuv Hradec where the castle rises dramatically alongside a river, as usual. We visited a tapestry museum in the castle. The looms range from simple to complex, and the complex looms can take weeks to set up before the weaving commences!

Telc also has a castle, but is listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site because of the preserved homes lining the square. There’s one that stands out among all the rest because it is so different. Interestingly, the owner was a Protestant, which accounts for his decorating style!

Trebon is in the land of lakes–over 500. These lakes were built by a man who was an engineering genius but much hated because of his ruthless nature (desolated villages in the process of lake building). The lakes are stocked with carp–the traditional Christmas Eve Supper, served with potato salad. The lakes are drained annually and the carp are easily harvested, then sold while still alive. The carp are kept in the tub until they’re prepared for dinner in Christmas Eve unless the children have become attached to the pets!

The smell of hops brewing permeated this entire town. Zoe tells me that the Czechs drink more beer per capita than anyone in the world!  She once had a crew of workers at her home who worked steadily from 6:00 a.m. but stopped abruptly at 8:00 a.m. They all looked around aimlessly until they found the case of beer. With large grins they said, “Czech breakfast!”

The end of another perfect day in the Czech Republic. I am amazed at how each day surpasses the last, and so glad I’m spending enough time here to get an appreciation for this country.


Rhonda Sarantis

Rhonda Sarantis

"She's crazy and loud but she loves you!" That's what they tell my infant granddaughter to prepare her for my visit, so I thought it would be a great way to prepare you. And while I may not always be crazy or loud, one thing is always true: I LOVE people. That's at the heart of my passion for travel. I love getting to know people from different cultures who speak different languages, eat different food, have different ideas and opinions. I'm endlessly curious and make a point of reading about the countries I visit. Instead of saying "that's not how WE do it," I enjoy identifying strengths in diverse cultures, and learning about their way of life. I LOVE road trips! I have great memories of monthlong vacations growing up. Dad always had a van--before they were popular--and invited anybody who wanted to join us. My road trips within the United States will be featured in "The Lower Case Travelogs." Be sure to buckle your seat belt. I execute illegal u-turns if a bakery or estate sale is spotted!


  • Ami

    How incredible to have a great tour guide! How did you find her?!

    October 1, 2015 at 12:17 am
    • rhondasarantis

      I TOTALLY lucked out! Her tours sounded interesting, but it’s the end of the season so there weren’t enough people signed up. She agreed to take me solo for this week–I’m so fortunate!

      Sent from my iPhone


      October 1, 2015 at 5:56 am