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Wake-up Call for Eva

imageI cannot recommend Zoe Brooks, Czech Tours, highly enough.  Today we began our excursion by imposing upon one of Zoe’s best friends, Eva. Eva has been sailing the North Sea and Zoe thought she still was–until a blurry eyed Eva appeared in the window while I’m snapping photos of her charming Gingerbread cottage!  But Eva was welcomed us warmly and confirmed that Zoe has a standing invitation.  Eva told us about her newly discovered passion for sailing.  “I feel free! For the first time in my life–totally free!”  It was great meeting Eva.

Then we were off to Holasovice, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.  This is a very special village of farm houses that have been preserved since the 1800’s.  All the farmhouses face a common green with a fish pond, blacksmith’s shop, and chapel.  Each property contains two homes, the main house and a “granny flat” to house parents when children are raised.  Between the two houses is a large gate for the team of horses and behind the houses is a large barn.  Strips of farmland were originally beyond the barns.

Kratochvile Chateau, our next destination, is another Rozmburg Castle–the third one in as many days!  But this is JUST (!) a country cottage used primarily for hunting and entertaining.  It was a treat to see this chateau in its blissful setting because it’s often overlooked. I’m sorry I couldn’t take pictures inside.  When I saw the Golden Hall I was stunned by its splendor–the ceilings, the walls, the floor. I didn’t know where to look!

Prachatice was our last stop of the day. This town thrived because it sat on the trade route that eventually transported salt–and salt meant money. The historic core of the town has been preserved, offering the finest examples of Renaissance architecture and specifically, the process of sgraffito. Sgraffitto is the complicated technique of applying layers of colored plaster and then scratching away portions to create images. Simply beautiful!

Zoe’s Skoda–a Czech made car–returned me to Cesky Krumlov in a timely fashion. So I had time to wander up and down the streets and get lost while I stepped back in time. It was perfect!

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