Jindřichův HradecHere wo go again. Ray Charles sang it in 1979 already. Now it is our turn to sing it. And Linda and I have reasons to sing. After three years of self imposed quarantine we hit the road again. With our little Volkswagen Polo we'll leave The Netherlands, cross Germany, cross Czech Republic, cross Slovakia, slowly traveling from spot to spot. Near the border with the Ukraine we will turn and travel back via another route, slowly again, enjoying the trip. It will take us one month.
Our pension is at the right.
At Friday the 15th of April we passed with our little Volkswagen Polo the border between Germany and Czech Republic. At the border we had to buy a "vignet" for the Czech highways (16 euro to pay in cash). Via České Budéjovice we arrive at last in Jindřichův Hradec in South Bohemia. All the way I am practising to get the right pronunciation of these names. Specially Jindřichův asks agility of mouth and tongue muscles. Linda doesn't have any problem with it. As a Slovakian she is trained in these tongue twisting words. It is a big advance now we drive in Czech Republic, because I only know the most important words like
pivo and vino and the necessary curse words ofcourse. Jindřichův Hradec
Sometimes I ask myself why people go to France, Italy and Spain all the time. Because it so beautiful here in these little villages here in Czech Republic and Slovakia. The hotels and pensions are great, the food is delicious, the people nice, the prices low and the streets are not full with hordes of tourists. And when you don't have a partner who can speak the language, almost everyone will address you in English. Like here in Jindřichův Hradec.
We have a charming little pension (Pod Zámken) near the centre. From here we walk to the castle which towers over the village. Czech Republic has lots of castles. One of them is the castle in Hluboká nad Vitava, 60 kilometers from Jindřichův Hradec. It is on top of a hill and terribly white and mega. Actually we don't like it so much. But the interior is absolutely fine. Specially the library is impressive.
Linda heard about these castles in Czechoslovakia during her childhood, though she never visited them. Another castle she knows is Červená Lhota. She knows it from a movie called Zlatovlaska, which
means 'The girl with the golden hair'. It is produced in the 50's and it tells about a hero who comes in a rowing boat on a big dangerous lake to save the princess in the castle. When we visit the castle Linda is disappointed: the lake is actually a pond and not dangerous at all. But the scenery is beautiful. The castle is completely red and is surrounded by water and forest.
Back in Jindřichův Hradec we have a nice dinner. Linda eats zander and I carp. So delicious. Pavlov
Pavlov is not mentioned in our travel guide. Still it is world famous. At least when you are interested in the origin of mankind. And when you are not interested in the origin of mankind, you might be interested in the delicious wines they produce here. We are interested in both.
Pavlov sits in South Moravia near the border with Austria. It is world famous because here and in nearby Dolní Věstonice prehistoric settlements were found of humans who lived here 30.000 years ago in the Gravettien (Pavlovien). Probably these hunter-gatherers were the first inhabitants of Europe. One of the most precious artifacts is a little
sculpture, baked in clay: the Venus of Dolní Věstonice, comparable with the Famous Venus of Willendorf in Austria. You can see it all in the archaeological museum in Pavlov, small but beautiful. After visiting the museum we walk around in the hills to get a feeling of how these people used to live.
Thanks to Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius we can enjoy the delicious Moravian wines nowadays. The man is really unbeatable. One of his predecessors, emperor Domitianus had assessed that it is forbidden to produce wine in areas north of the Alpes. (The man is really out of his mind.) But Marcus Aurelius lifted this embargo in 178 AD. And he was right. Because the Mikulovska area here has exactly the right viticulture conditions. It is the wamest and driest area of Czech Republic. Everywhere around are vineyards. In Pavlov we visited a wine cellar. We got exactly 50 minutes to taste ten kinds of wine. Specially the Rieslings are outstanding. We learned that there two kinds of Rieslings here: the Ryzlink vlašský and the Ryzlink rýnský. The Ryzlink vlašský is made of the original grapes of the Roman time. Actually we preferred the Ryzlink rýnský. Rýnský means
of the river Rhine. We left the wine cellar with two boxes.
The Rieslings combine very well with the local food. Specially the Svíčková na smetana (meat with creamsauce) and the goulashes are delicious.
And apart from the delicious food, the world famous prehistoric settlements, the delicious Moravian Rieslings there is a still the magnificent nature. The Pálava (pálava means burning hot) is even an UNESCO biosphere reservate. It is part of the offshoots of the Western Carpates which give it is special climat. Climat and the Jura limestone cause a special vegetation with meadow steppes, forest steppes and thermophile oakforest. Along the river Thaya you even find halophytes.
To see it all we make a sturdy hike across the Děvín hill. It is full of flowers. Later we visit the little village Slamsko u Nerytu to see the extreme rare halophytes at the remnants of the Pannonian plane. We hardly can find it, but when we are finally there, there is hardly anything to see. It is too early yet. Too cold.
Our next destination is Slovakia. I will write about in our next blog.
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