Mar 29, 2009
Apr 18, 2009
There are two types of castle -- one involves people with good cheekbones poncing about in frilly shirts and the other is the "Go on try it. I'll take you're kneecaps off sunshine" type. Brno's Spilberk castle falls into the second catagory. It halted the Swedes in 1645 and was the holiday destination of choice for opponents of the Habsburgs (Thats the choice of the Hapsburgs not the dissidents) and was later used by the Gestapo as a "detention centre", nuff said. The torture theme is continued by the model chime in the castles courtyard which selected Sealion Dions "My heart will go on" for us Its a brooding prescence over the Czech Republics second city filled with wide squares and monumental buildings. We didnt visit the casemates but enjoyed the museum. Unfortunately the weather didnt do Brno any favours and limited us especially as Mondays seems to be "sorry we're closed" day in Czech lands. We missed Miles van der Rohes Tugenhat Villa and the abbey where Mendel mucked about with peas but spent a day wandering the town before a none too express bus with friendly driver all too eager to tell us of his daughters stay in Manchester to Olomouc's baroque spendours. More fountains than you could shake a treefrog at - a monstrosity of a plague column and wide squares with churches and chapels and a wonderful town hall with oriel window and astronomical clock complete with communist era march of the proletariat style moving figures (stragely stationary) after a lovely couple of days exploration a rattle through Moravia via the Czech Republics excellent train system took us through Pardubice (home of Semtex) to Hradec Kralove aka the Czech dower house where various queens lived out their lives -- After a struggle to find accommodation we ended up next to the towns ice hockey stadium and wandering happily through the old town of baroque frontages and towers before reveling in the new cities Art Nouveau splendours including the gorgeous East Bohemia Museum designed by Kotera and the hydro-electric plant and mosied through the gardens contained Ukranian wooden church transported whole in the 30s to the confluence of the Elbe and Orlice rivers. Again with the aid of public transport we made it to Prague yesterday where the city is in the midst of Easter fever - the old town square is filled with roast pig, beer and doughnut style delicacies and Wenceslas square is full of demonstrators for the visit of the Prez . Just doing our laundry and then its off to see Jewish Prague and the Mucha ornamented Municipal House. Next stop - Bratislava and the Spirit Hotel complete with healing pyramid!!