Brno, Telč & České Budějovice,
We dragged ourselves away from the cave and headed for Brno, aiming for a campsite. The first one we tried was well and truly closed (for many years, it seemed), so we headed over to the only other one in town. When we arrived the gates were closed and we couldn't see anyone else inside. A few moments later another car showed up, opened the gates and drove through, so we followed them. At the end we searched around for some sort of manager for five minutes, until a woman appeared out of nowhere to assist us. It turned out that they were open, just not very popular. And by that I mean we were the only campervan, caravan or camper in the entire campsite. No worries about having to wait for the shower in the morning.
Another chilly, cloudy day. Czech was not turning on the warm weather for us. We drove into Brno and parked near a “functionalist” house (a form of architecture popular in Czech) that is a major tourist attraction, but unfortunately for us it was closed for renovations. So we made the long walk into the old town, full of gorgeous buildings of different styles, colours and patterns, built in various time periods. Danny hung around long enough to walk the length of the town with me before disappearing to locate two microbreweries nearby. In the meantime I made a lap of the sights, starting with the cathedral. From the top of its tower I could see the castle on the hill, which looked lame so I decided I wasn't going to walk up to it. Next I visited the crypt of a monastery, which contained the decaying bodies of several families and church workers from the 18th century. No embalming, no closed coffins, just rotting bodies lying around for people to stare at. Their skin was as delicate as tissue paper, and the outline of their clothes was still visible. I could even see rosary beads on one of the monks. Strange place.
I met Danny back at the car and found he was slightly drunk after drinking who knows how many beers. One guess who drove to the next town. Telč was tiny, with a centre square, a small castle (situated on the edge of the centre square) and that was about it. However it was the cutest town we had ever seen. All the houses around the large square were three storeys tall with archways along the bottom level, and were painted in distinct colours and patterns. It almost looked too perfect. The souvenir stores even contained miniature statues of each of the houses, precisely replicated and numbered so you knew which dwelling you were buying. Around the edge of the town were fish ponds, and although we didn't see many fish it did provide shimmering reflections of the town in the water. After a lap of Telč we spent the afternoon in a cafe, where I sipped a local Moravian white wine that was surprisingly good. Funnily enough, Danny stuck to coffee.
We then drove on to České Budějovice, known as Budweis in German, home of Budweiser beer. It was dark by the time we arrived, allowing us to explore the beautifully lit centre square. The buildings were similar Telč, colourful with arches at the bottom. We found a busy beer hall where we had to stop for a drink. Danny was convinced there was only one type of Budweiser, but when he read the menu he discovered there were six varieties. He tried three; his conclusion was that they all tasted the same. As Budweiser is not his favourite beer, he didn't enjoy any of them. I drank another glass of fantastic white wine, something I never expected when I came to Czech. We also ordered a cheese plate, comprising of a local cheese similar to Camembert, covered with pickled onions, sweet chilli sauce and paprika. Apart from the onions, the dish was quite tasty. By the time we got through everything, it ended up being a bit of a late night for us.