Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Check Out Czech

Jetrichovec was our destination.

We had a map to Jetrichovice, which is also a city in the Czech Republic, (on the other side of the country!) Luckily our course was corrected in time. This little place wasn't on a map at all, nor was it's neighboring town of Zhorec, but we were told they were near Tabor.

In about 1400 the folks in Tabor decided to make the center of their town
impossible to find.

Twenty eight crooked streets form a maze to protect the main square.

The castle sits on a hill overlooking the town, and the twisted labyrinth of paths was designed with protruding buildings so that an enemy would be confused. It's worked for hundreds of years, and it worked on us.

Originally there was an outer wall with a drawbridge over a moat, leading to an inner wall that went around the town.

Colorful buildings surround Zizkovo Square...

...and this church, which was built in 1480.

Tabor is an untouched medieval city worth searching for. We almost missed it.

Knowing we had only four minutes to change trains, we were ready to jump. Suitcases in hand, we ran down four flights of stairs, under the tracks, and staggered back up four flights of stairs.

"Tabor?" Dee wheezed. "No! No train today!" said a railroad worker. Apparently those were the only English words he knew. He motioned for us to follow, crossed the tracks (above ground, luckily) indicating an old VW van, with a driver who grabbed our bags and said, "Autobus!" There didn't seem to be an alternative, so we climbed into a cloud of tobacco smoke and held on tight.

We weren't sure if we were being driven to Tabor, or taken to an "Autobus" or being kidnapped, but about twenty minutes later we got to another train station. A man on the platform spoke a little German, and told us the next train would take us to our destination.

A train schedule hanging on the wall showed that the stop just before Tabor was called Luznice. Reassured that we were on the right track, we were now prepared to get off at the right place.

The very next stop was named Luznice. OK. We were ready. The next stop was also named Luznice. Weird. The next stop said nad luznici. It finally dawned on us that Luznice was a river and the towns were all "on the river Luznice." So where was Tabor?

English or German have always been enough for us to communicate in Europe, but the small towns of Southern Bohemia were a new linguistic challenge. A conductor finally came by and Dee pointed to his watch and asked, "Tabor?" The man said something like, "Shobr" (which we realized was the real pronunciation,) and then said, "Four," as he held up five fingers. Four more stops? Five o'clock? Get off at Luznice?

The train stopped again and again while we scanned the stations for signs. Finally...Tabor. There was one taxi outside but no driver. After several minutes he came out of a bar (kind of scary) and took us to a hotel. Dee played charades with him for a few minutes, and communicated that we wanted a driver the next morning to take us to two even tinier farm villages. He drew a picture of a church and gravestones, and the man agreed to pick us up at ten.

With the help of an English-Czech dictionary we made it.

Remember Clive Client? This is where his great-grandparents were married!
Was Dee happy?

Czech it out!

12 comments:

Annie said...

What a journey to a quaint little church! Good for you. And now I really really want to find Tabor, too.

gab said...

That last photo is my favorite!

Christie said...

I can't imagine traipsing around and not being able to communicate. The pictures are absolutely charming and quaint. I want to go with you and Dee as guides. I'd be too terrified to go on my own.

Bridget said...

That would be so cool to see the church where his great grandparents were married. What a fun trip!

Ashlee said...

Czech it out...nice! :0)

Such a history over there. I mean....1480! It makes you wonder how long it took them to build that church. {And we complain about the number of months it has taken for our temple to get built here!}

I love hearing about your trip. It makes me want to jump on a plane and go to Europe myself. Except I don't even know German. I might be in trouble. :0)

Nina Lewis said...

It sounds like you are having a great trip! Someday I want to go to Europe. . . . Somehow the tropical places seem to lure me away from snowy Utah in the middle of the winter instead . . .

SydneyMin said...

I think the word for you two is... intrepid! I love those little central European villages. It is like time stands still there. Beautiful photos!

gramakas said...

You definately need to add "adventureous" to your resemue!

The World According to Me said...

Hello

This is the first time I have posted here, but I wanted to say how much I have enjoyed reading your posts. Love your pictures!

mama jo said...

what a fun time...love all the pictures...the town looks amazing...

kenju said...

I am sorry for your confusion, but wasn't it all worth it? What a quaint, charming city and that tiny church is priceless.

SaraLynn said...

Amazing...simply amazing!
I love the pictures and the story is wonderful.

To see the church your great grandparent swere married in, would be lovely indeed!