Here in the good old Czech Republic, there are a plethora of Castles and other Stately Homes that are open to the public. Visiting them can bring advantages. When it’s too hot outside, the big thick walls provide an escape from oppressive heat. The same when it’s raining I suppose, unless you’re visiting a ruin.
There are 2 ways to look at a Castle, one’s from the outside, these buildings always seem to have wonderful settings, probably why they built them where they did. Let’s face it, if you were a mediaeval war lord with a huge gang on horseback, you just found somewhere nice and built a big castle. You didn’t have to evict anybody, just employed them as serfs. Pernstejn is my favourite, great setting, all funny little corridors and strange shaped rooms inside. Also they sell good beer and the usual food and sausages outside in the restaurant.
It’s the later built Zamky I have a slight problem with. But, don’t think I’m going to tell you which ones I didn’t like. I couldn’t handle the backlash of how dare you’s and accusations of being an uncultured yob. I will tell you however that my last visit to an unnamed Zamek did not bode well for me at all, in fact I was nearly on my knees by the end.
From the outside it looked ok, a bit big maybe. We bought tickets and waited 5 minutes for our guide. To her credit she wore the shortest skirt I’ve ever seen and all the males in the party followed closely as she led us up the wide staircase, closely followed by their respective partners trying to thump their menfolk on the arm.
What followed was all downhill from there. I’d been given the 1954 English typescript for the tour. I took time to notice that it was nicely yellowed, the b’s were at a jaunty angle and the s’s were a bit up in the air. I read the whole thing in the first big square room, so I knew all about the place and didn’t have to listen to the memorised monologue, given in a high pitch gatling gun monotone.
The whole place was full of big square rooms, through some double doors, leading to another big square room. There was the blue room, the pink room, the Chinese room, the green bedroom without a bed, the stripey room and so on. I didn’t get near the miniskirt again, the other male visitors had long forgotten their partners and jostled for pole position in each square room. By the time we got to the stuffed animals oblong shaped room, I’d taken to looking out of the dusty windows. It seemed like hours, I blinked in the daylight and freedom again.
Dagmar came to the rescue again, taking me to the restaurant and filling me full of beer and a vepro, knedlo, zelo lunch. As she was driving me home, I was dreaming about long legs and gattling guns. All in all not a bad day, almost as good as watching snooker on Sky sports.
In the UK, it’s done a bit different. We visited Chartwell, Winston Churchill’s zamek. We could wander about at our own pace, they had volunteers positioned in some of the rooms. They were from the local villages around and usually OAP’s. and they answered questions. This confused my Mum, she wandered into a bedroom and saw this old lady sitting in a chair.
Mum started asking her if she was ok and if her family knew where she was.
Time for a sharp exit!