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Published: November 6th 2008
Wednesday October 29th, 2008
Zelezny Brod - Centuries of glass making, centuries old houses
Last spring we learned of a glass making factory in the small town of Zelezny Brod that lies in the small mountains in the northern part of the Czech Republic. Nancy had picked up a brochure when we were in Mala Skala advertising the beautiful glass beads that are made there. Our friend, Debbie, is an artist in Massachusetts and she often glues small objects in her water color paintings and Nancy wanted her to know about the factory. Debbie wanted to visit a glass bead factory and take lessons so she could also make beads herself. We don't know if she had the chance after we went home. The glass beads and seeing how they were made put this small mountain town on our list of want-to-visit places.
(Nancy)- I loved Mala Skala so much that I had hoped for a clear day so we could stay overnight, hike there and walk to Zelezny Brod. Ii had seen signs which led me to believe they were only about 3 kilometers away from each other. It took so long between
on the train that I think I was foolhearty to think that was a nice short hike. I know the train didn't go the nearest way since we had to even go through a tunnel but still I doubt if you can hike quickly from Mala Skala to Zelezny Brod. We put up a picture of the small model train station that is in Mala Skala on this blog. I used that picture in a Shutterfly travel blog and made copies of it for myself. Well, face it I just loved that model. When we got to Mala Skala on the train, there it was just as I had seen it last spring, just as it looks in multiple places on the internet and in the pictures in my office! I was so excited I almost jumped off the train. I love Mala Skala!!
We decided to go to Zelezny Brod today even though the forecast was rain, rain, rain, and unfortunately the weatherman was right. It was a rather miserable day, but why let that bother our fun? We ate breakfast and headed off to Prague’s main train station where we caught the 9:15 train to Zelezny
Brod, and arrived there about 11:35. The town was larger than we expected. Our experience in nearby Mala Skala led us to believe that Zelezny Brod was also a small village. Actually it is a small town.
Just Walking In the Rain
The train station is on the edge of town. We walked in the only direction a person can walk from the train station and soon we found a transit map board. There we got our bearings and headed toward the old part of town, hoping that we would find the factory’s bead shop without too much trouble.
It took about fifteen minutes to walk to the old section of town. The first thing we saw was an ancient wooden log house, and the equally old church. The church, as so often is the case, sat on a hill. Steps lead up the hill to the church. We looked around trying to see where the bead shop might be and then noticed a sign pointing up a side street. The sign read, “Bead Shop 70 meters.” A rather group, I believe it was two families, walked just ahead of us and entered the shop.
So, it was quite crowded when we entered. The shop is small, but there are thousands of glass beads to choose from and purchase. As soon as the 'group' got in the door the woman working in the shop said in German, "You must be the German tourists" and headed into a speel about the making of glass beads while another woman sat there actually making beads.
Pizza for Lunch
We looked abound for a few minutes and decided to walk back down the hill and have lunch. I saw a sign in a window, “Pizza”. The word pizza seems to be a universal word, the same in every language. We ordered a 4 cheese pizza to share. Soon, the pizza arrived and we chuckled. It was obvious that it was a frozen pizza that was heated and served. Fortunately it was not that bad a pizza, not nearly as bad as I had anticipated. Serving frozen pizza in a restaurant led me to believe there is not much competition in the town.
The Bead Shop
We returned to the bead shop and were the only customers there. Nancy looked over who knows
how many beads and selected a number that she liked. For a small fee the saleslady added an attachment so they can be worn as necklaces. She also gave us a map of the historic part of town, pointing out places of interest. Zelezny Brod is famous for the very old wooden log houses and they are fascinating to see and to wonder what stories they could tell. A number of these houses were built in the 1700’s. How many generations have lived here? Think of the history that has passed since they were built. All of these houses are still lived in and many are in very good repair. Only one that we saw appeared to be in need of major repairs. If you are a glass bead fan, this shop sells on the internet. Give us an e-mail request and we can send you the address. These are the finest of handmade beads. They used to do a big business in the USA but say that cheap and inferior Chinese glass beads have taken over the USA market. Shame on us! Their hand work is worth a few extra dollars!
Waiting for the Train
the time we had finished touring the old houses it was about 3:00 p.m. and we were ready to head back to Prague. There was only one problem, the next train did not leave until 6:20 p.m. . So, what to do? If the weather had been sunny and bright we probably would have taken a longer walk around the town. But with the rain, and it was increasing from a heavy mist to a real rain, we decided it was time to find a restaurant and have a snack. We returned to the older section of town and went to another restaurant, one that serves traditional Czech food. We didn't want a whole meal, so we ordered a dessert each. I had ice cream with blue berries and Nancy had a crepe filled with blue berries. To make it a perfect dessert we each ordered a cup of expresso. Here, in the Czech Republic, when you order an expresso you are served a nice small cup of wonderfully strong, good coffee. At home in the States I've given up ordering expresso as they serve just enough to cover the bottom of a small cup. Anyway, when at home
I have a stove top expresso maker and have a nice BIG cup each morning. The dessert and coffee were excellent. Since it's not summer, we have no idea how they seem to have fresh blueberries. But they didn't taste frozen and they definitely were not canned. Yummy!
After our dessert snack ,we walked back to the train station, but still have over an hour to wait. Four teenage girls came into the station to wait. It was interesting watching them and seeing how much teenagers are the same all over the world.
The rain didn’t bother us, but it did make taking pictures difficult. We hope you enjoy them even if they aren't top quality due to low light.
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