One of Anna Grace’s former AIS friends now posted to Abu Dhabi is visiting this week, couch surfing among friend’s homes (ours included); and our home was declared the Teenage Girl Epicenter for last weekend. Over breakfast this past Thursday I reminded Tony. He simply looked up from his coffee and asked, “So, where are we going this weekend?”

Central Europe wakes up in April (and boy, do I have a story coming about this!). Trees bud and flowers bloom, but of greater importance to us, its castles and palaces reopen to welcome a new season of visitors.

A far more predictable indicator of Spring than Punxsatawney Phil, my news feeds have also been heralding the season with numerous openings and exhibitions, so I easily put together a lovely day trip to our favorite neighbor to the north. Our first stop was an “Exhibition of Spring” at a garden pavilion in “the jungles of Brno.”  Add to that our GPS warning of, “Your destination is located in an area with restricted access,” and we were out the door early.

Of course, the “jungles” refer to the concrete panelak monstrosities that tower over the remnant of a palace.

The pavilion was gorgeous and made a beautiful setting for the “Eggscellent” exhibit on Czech Spring and Easter traditions.

Next up on our two-part road trip was Hrad Veveří. From the approach it had all of the castle-y features we like; and when we exited the wagon, the aroma of grilled Klobasa coming over the fortress walls wafted on the breeze. Even better!

The castle fell into the hands of the eventual Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, and legend holds that the Templars of France brought their valuables to hide here in 1307. Recent research shows an “underground space” beneath the church on the grounds that might hold something. Hmm. Winston Churchill also visited the castle while on his honeymoon, but that is neither interesting nor a legend. But still, history.

Then we walked across the former moat to enter a village!  My snap of the information board hopefully gives some perspective on this massive fortress.

All respectable castles must have a Vinothek.

 

Ownership of the castle changed royal hands dozens of times over, and its haphazard additions reflect that.  Now, parts of the castle are in disrepair owing to its use as German barracks and attacks by the Red Army during the war; and the subsequent years of Communist “maintenance.” Thankfully extensive restoration efforts are underway to restore this incredible structure.

And, yes, we did enjoy a lunch of grilled Klobasa and a pint of Pivo, listening to a Czech band playing covers of country music. Awesome.