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.