Volvo Sweden and Volvo Austria finished experimenting with my car, and after 16 days in ICU my ride was repaired and ready. Tony and I picked up the car early Friday morning (UN Holiday!) and headed, where else, to the Czech Republic. Not that the temperatures were any less unpleasant north of the border than in Vienna.
Given the forecast for the weekend, touring naturally cool stone palaces and churches seemed like a good way to beat the heat. And after all, the Czech tourism folks make it easy-peasy to hit the roads!
Friday found us in Třebíc, home to one of the best preserved (former) Jewish ghettos in Europe. All of the approximately 1.500 Jewish inhabitants were deported to concentration camps; only 10 returned after the war.
St. Procopius Basilica looks over the town from atop a small hill.
Alas, the interior could only be viewed with guided tours, and we were too hot and impatient to wait for the next tour, so we sneaked a peek through the gates and carried on to lunch and the return home.
On Saturday morning we turned the floor fans toward Clayton Theodore and headed back to western Moravia, stopping first at Zamek Slavkov, home to a prominent Moravian family whose patriarch served as state chancellor under Empress Maria Theresia. Do not concern yourself with trying to keep all the names straight; we gave up a while ago, too. Now we simply admire the architecture, the gardens, and whatever whimsy might have been added to the construction.
Near to the palace was a church in the classicist style, a rare sight in a region brimming over in Baroque.
We did note that the floor matched that of the basilica in Třebíc.
In the town proper, a new bride and groom were taking the traditional walk to the town hall to register their marriage. Well wishers honked car horns and cheered as the wedding party passed. So sweet!
In the outskirts of the town, along an alley way filled with large recycling bins and an auto parts yard, we found the town synagogue, no longer in use, its 124 members murdered in concentration camps.
Our return route took us through towns with palaces barely larger than some of the McMansions in the DC area. This one, Zamek Zdanice, belonged to the Liechtenstein family.
We dubbed Zamek Bučovice, another Liechtenstein property, a “party palace” for the Mannerist style fountain featuring Bacchus, and set in a courtyard of Renaissance arcades. Those wacky Liechtensteins.
And so the day went. Soon enough we reached Breclav for a fill-the-car spree at Tesco (the children are returning this week and the larder was rather barren!), and a late, late lunch at our favorite border restaurant before bringing the tired but happy Volvo home.