June 20, 2004

Off with a car

On Friday, we headed back to Prague intending to rent a car from an agency where we had received a reasonable but still high quote. The train ride was delightful. We had the company of two women who spoke excellent English. I sat next to and talked to Marti. She was twenty-two, a petite dishwater-blonde who had been a nanny in England. When the family moved to the states, she lived with them in Erie, PA for six months. So, her English was near perfect. We exchanged information about our families: her father was a train engineer, and mother was a sales clerk in a heating and plumbing outfit. She has two sisters one married and living in Germany, and the other, her twin, was living in Prague. Betty talked mostly with Barbara. She was with her two children, a boy of about six and a beautiful little three-year old girl, Marie. Barbara's husband is a painter, who is working on the restoration and rehabilitation of a small church in České Budějovice. After two hours on the train we arrived in Prague all talked out.

We went to the Royal Rent car rental agency. Their normal prices were competitive for Prague. They were willing to give a discount that made the rental affordable but still high for such a long rental. We ended up paying about $18 a day for 73 days. The only problem was that there would be no car available until Saturday. So, we once again checked into the Bonn Hotel. I love how they like to bounce their rates around in Prague. We insisted on the same rate ($48) as three days earlier, and eventually got it. We did not do much the rest of the day. We wandered about an area a mile south of the Museum, eventually sitting in a great little pub that I knew from my last trip. We worked a crossword puzzle, drank lots of beer and had some local cuisine.

Yesterday I picked up the car, and we took off heading east. We stopped in Kuná Hora for a few hours. We came to see the very old and beautiful church with flying buttresses and all. I spied one structure with a date of 1297. It happened that the town was having a weekend festival of medieval music with dancing, singing, costumes and jousting. Who cannot go to such an event without eating and drinking? We bought cheese and a sausage, and cherry mead to-go, besides eating some candy and nuts and a local sausage. It was fun being there for half the day.

Press HERE to see a slideshow from the Czech Republic.

From Kuná Hora

kh_1297.jpg kh.jpg
kh_church1.jpg kh_betty.jpg
kh_fairGrounds.jpg kh_costume.jpg

We then moved on to Litomyšl, a town recognized for its town square of the Middle Ages. This town is having a 10 day festival honoring their native son, composer Smetana not Santana, who was born in the castle brewery. We went to a concert last night, Saturday. We might go to another today, an opera, and will spend another night. Our accommodations are in the price range that I like - $20 for both of us. We had breakfast included for another $2 each. We went to a very high-brow concert last night. The concert tickets were high, 19 bucks each, but it was a full orchestra and three vocalists, a tenor and two sopranos. The concert was in an amphitheatre on the castle grounds. Thank goodness, it was covered with canvas - because it was raining.
Opera always brings back deep seated memories of my childhood. My mom was an avid opera fan. She loved to sing and she studied opera. I even got to see her sing in the chorus for one when I was about twelve-years old. Maybe everyone in Minnesota remembers the opera broadcasts on WCCO in the 50's. Nearly every Saturday, as we did our weekly house chores - the opera played in the background. I kind of feel sorry for the subsequent generations that missed this piece of culture. What really got to me was one piece that my mom worked on for years to perfect. It was lots of fun for both of us.
I will post some pictures of Litomyšl in my next journal entry.

We are going to some smaller towns in the Czech Republic. Many of these towns are UNESCO world heritage sites, meaning the towns have special preservation rules. They get extra recognition and free advertising for tourism. Litomyšl is one of these towns.

Posted by bill at June 20, 2004 11:50 AM