Cesky- stepping back in time

Trip Start Sep 24, 2012
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Trip End Nov 02, 2012


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Flag of Czech Republic  , South Bohemian Region,
Sunday, October 14, 2012

Jana our host provided a substantial breakfast to get us on our way to visit the Cesky Krumlov castle. First view of the castle exterior the striking feature is the trompe l'oeil painting of nearly all the walls to give the illusion of various patterned brickwork and building block cornerstones, and 3 dimensional human figures.
I wondered if I had seen enough castles by now, but the mandatory guided tour method of visit meant we received loads of info and could ask many questions. Our night tour last night had given us a good basis to build on about the 3 families who had built, owned and in some tragic circumstances had to leave it over its life from the 1200's (Roznberg 1302-1602' then Eggenberg's to 1710) to 1938 when the last member of the Schwarzenberg's fled to America fearing the rise of Hitler. Then the communist rule of Czech meant it became state property.

These families had an opulent life but it seems cared about the township and the massive tracts of land they owned. The most spectacular item was the original golden carriage made for a 3 km journey in Rome to deliver gifts to the Pope in 1638. Guards of the gifts, driver and the horses all dressed in matching fabric attire to do justice to the carriage. A guard outfit was on display- no photos were allowed unfortunately. The remainder of the displays were the best we have seen for the fullness of detail of functionality of the rooms. E.g. The dining table completely set for a party with mock food, flowers and the adjoining kitchen as if it had just prepared the food.

The rococo theatre was now closed for the season and its preservation, but we were informed the Masquerade Ballroom gave some indication of style of the world famous theatre looked like. Built in 1748, it is still used today for an annual masked ball and other special events.The whole room was painted in masked comical characters to provide the scene for the annual masquerade season borrowed from Venice. Characters such as Scaramouche, Punchinello, and Harlequin. From here we could walk through the large gardens and on the way back the 3 bears kept in the old (dry) moat canal were out eating lunch. Century long history for keeping bears at the castle after an initial gift from an Austrian powerbroker centuries ago. The castle has 8 bear rugs which we were assured are made only after the bear die of natural causes.

The day was like a stunning Melbourne winters day with cool temperatures but streaming sun; perfect to lunch at a cafe by the riverside before an indoor session at the Regional Museum. There was ancient history displays, but here could get a grip on the more recent 19 and 20 century history of CK, particularly the German take of during WW2 (which many locals welcomed as 80%25 were of German descent)' then the USA liberation, Czech control and then Russian rule with a communist regime until 1992 and the end of the communist regime. The photographic, text and prop displays showed how the society was influenced both positively and negatively but these circumstances. E.g. The streams of education had been according to position in society, WW2 disrupted education completely, then the communist system assisted education for all. But industry was poorly planned financially and to fit demand.

Our dinner at a traditional Czech restaurant was quite an experience. We sat next to the raging fire where all the food was cooked ( most like an Aussie BBQ) with immense skill as all meat was so tender and not a charred piece to be found. The young waiter/chef did all the cooking for about 20 at separate tables downstairs and two groups of 25 upstairs- the hotplate was constantly full. No resting of meat, just straight to the plate and is was very tender. The place was about 30 metres from our door and down hill roll luckily as we were so full.
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