Friday 19 June 2009

Trebic, Telc, Cesky Krumlov, Ceske Budejovice, and Kutna Hora

Our first stop was in Trebic. Here we walked around and saw the famous cathedral. The windows were quite nice but other than that it wasn't too impressive and was very cold compared to outside (gotta love stone churches). Also went to the Jewish cemetery here which was reminiscent of the packed one in Prague. Here however they used very old headstones to make walls which depressed me a bit. In Telc, the main square was a Unesco site, and I understand why. The buildings are all so individual and pretty, and the place is massive. The largest square I have been in CR to date. Also explored the chateau. A quick stop in Zirovnice to see the castle. Found a random cellar but couldn't venture too far as it was pitch black. Went to Jihlava afterward and explored the 2nd longest labyrinth in CR. Was nice. Then off to Zdar na Sazavou where there was a one of a kind in the world star shaped church. The place had a very "interesting" smell from the surrounding farmland but the view was nice and interesting design. Final stop for this trip was the castle at Pernstejn which was closed by the time we got there. But we could still see it and it was very impressive in size. 

This Easter weekend was a mass of traveling. Still quite tired from it all but so worthwhile. On Saturday I headed away with VUT uni to the Wallachian Kingdom, which is an outdoor museum showing early Czech lifestyles in the town of Rosnov pod Radhostem. And because it was Easter this  place was packed. There were traditional folk music bands, traditional foods and of course lots of things for sale. But the buildings that were there was also very impressive especially the wooden church and the "beehives". Afterwards we bussed up a massive hill in thto the national park where martins parents took me before but a completely opposite side (dont remember name) and had a wonderful Czech lunch and the famous Slivovice or plum brandy of Moravia (a province of CR).

The rest of the trips were with fellow couch surfers (e.g Mariusz who kindly lent us his car).
Sunday involved getting up very early and heading over to Cesky Krumlov. But first up we stopped in Tyn n Vltavou when the GPS got the town name wrong and said we were in Hluboka n Vltavou (our first destination). So had a coffee in a place beside the nice river. Good break from the driving anyway. Finally arrived in Hluboka and the white castle was awesome. Very modern looking though. And there were deer horns used all over the place for decoration. Then onto Ceske Budejovice where we explored the town square and enjoyed the famous "Budvar" beer. Apparently its 12 degrees (which is some way of understanding how good the beer is in taste) which is supposed to be good.
Onto Cesky Krumlov, the Unesco town. This place was beautiful. The castle was massive complex and the painted tower was great. The view from the castle bridge over the town was beautiful, its postcard perfect. After having our fill of Cesky Krumlov was headed onto Trebon and visited the chateau and gardens. Chateau wasn't anything too spectacular on the grand scheme but it was nice and the peacock in the gardens was cool. The last stop of the day was the castle at Jindrichuv Hradec. Nice place but it was a bit run down. The town buildings were nice however.
Monday was a day of bad luck. We stared out to Znojmo. Everything was closed, so just walked around for an hour. The views were nice especially from the church hill. Sadly the longest labyrinth was closed to 1 so after seeing the disapointing church we headed off to Laa an der Thaya, Austria. Here we were supposed to go to the sauna world at the therme, but the price on the website lied as it didn't mention that you still had to pay the spa entry as well even if you only wanted the sauan. So we didn't end up going as the price became insane. Carried onto Mistelbach, Austria. Here we had the famous coffee of the town at Cafe Harlekin. The $11 coffee was very interesting and quite alcoholic. I was more interested in my very yummy ice cream but tired the different coffees that were ordered. Very special they were. Went to Breclave castle (back in Czech Republic) which was crumbling away but repairs had started to save it. Was an interesting design, kind of a an L in shape. The final stop was Lednice where we went to the Unesco chateau. It was very pretty here. The gardens were quite extensive as well. Recommend this one.

Our final day of travels were awesome. Kutna Hora was fantastic. The old town and St Barbara's church were great, as where the views . But the real highlight of Kutna Hora was the bone church. The Sedlec Ossuary was such a popular burial place in Europe until the 14th century that during the rebuilding of it in 1870 (some wars in between and the church lost land hence no money, so a long time to rebuild), the excessive amount of bones from the cemetery were used in artwork and as a memorial to the people. For example there were 30000 people buried during 1 year of the plague, so you can imagine how many bones there could be. I was very happy even though its a bit morbid to see these displays. Was very interesting as some of the skulls and bones showed some facts of the people, one in particular was cool, obviously he had survived an axe going partially into his skull as the bone had healed but it was very obvious some sharp instrument had tried to cut his head. There were also several examples of people who had survived the medieval procedure of drilling into the skull to "let out demons". The holes were visibly healed as it was a different color to the remainder of the skull and generally in similar locals. Afterward headed to Chrudim to see the largest plague column in CR. Quite pretty. Then onto Litomysil. The chateau here had an interesting way of doing artwork which was to carve into the stone and expose a different under color to make a contrast. Final stop was in the Moravian karst region, sadly the places were all closing but we did get to see into the gorge.

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