First, in case there were doubts. Yes, he is spoiled.
Our final day dawned even later than the previous. By two minutes. Yay, us! Tony took Clayton Theodore out for his morning constitutional while I collected breakfast from the buffet and brought it back to our room. We lingered over cappuccinos and all the good stuff of a European breakfast (plus the cheese plate leftovers from the previous night), packed our weekend bag, and reluctantly pointed the car toward home, via Trebon, Zvikov (well, sort of), Jindrichuv Hradec, and Telc.
If you find yourself along this route, Trebon warrants a pause. The town square is pretty and walkable, and the village is surrounded by carp ponds and thus geographically restricted, so it retains much of that compact, old-world character.
Whatever this was, we did not sample it.
Trebon was oddly noteworthy for the large number of “Asia Shops” selling cheap junk and street vendors offering Chinese noodles.
The local brewery offers a pleasant terrace for sampling their brew, Regent Dark, with intriguing chocolate and coffee aftertones, but a bit hefty for my tastes.
Our next stop was to be Zvikov, to see its Gothic castle “perched at the confluence of the Vlatava and Ostrava rivers.” Well…neither of us paid much mind to that last bit. Hrad Zvikovwas many kilometers to our north; the Zvikovvillage we found was in the middle of Czech Nowhere. No doubt the Babuschka in the field who watched us drive down the narrow lane past her farm (and back out) without seeing a castle pulled her iPhone from her housedress and logged onto Facebook to laugh about “another dumb tourist who can’t read a map.”
Thoroughly laughed-out at our navigational mishap, we made it to Jindrichuv Hradec without busting a seam. Our sole purpose for stopping was to see the “Guiness Book of World Records Largest Mechanical Manger.” Well! Entrance to the monastery housing the manger was 75 Koruna (no big deal), BUT, photos were not permitted (no big deal) AND there were no postcards of the manger to purchase (What the ?). Given that most of the manger can be viewed online, both Tony and I thought that J. Hradec needs a new marketing person.
Our overgenerous European breakfast starting to wane, we motored into Telc, keeping our rumbling tummies in Czech. Telc is a UNESCO-Heritage City, so we lowered out expectations for the visit. J (Though we appreciate the UNESCO designation, it just seems like every third city in Europe can put that on their business card. Pretty soon UNESCO might just wrap a ribbon around the planet and call it good.)
That aside, Telc charmed us. Pictureque, colorful, lively, and everything in between. It didn’t hurt that a weekend festival was underway, adding to the merriment. Craftsmen, artisans, tchotchke vendors and the like were all out plying their wares under the pretty blue skies. An open smoker offering kolbasa lured us to their tables (finally! a menu board I could understand!), so we sat for two plates of the savory sausage and another shared Shopska salad. And two pints of local brew. (Cletus made do with table scraps, such is his life.) An ideal lunch.
Afterwards we strolled the town square, shopping and snapping photos as we went.
Late afternoon upon us, and with one of us having to return to the office in the morning, we forced the wagon toward Vienna. Great beer, great food, great people, great weekend. Na zdraví!