Tuesday, September 23
A short coach ride this morning took us to the village of Svetla, where we began our hike. We were still in a pine/spruce forest and still in the rain.
We walked for a couple of hours, and the highlight was reaching the "continental divide."
This is a popular tourist area so there were several shelters along the way. Fortunately, we found one where we could enjoy our picnic lunch out of the rain. My friends are hunkered down to stay warm.
It was still raining hard after lunch and we were given a choice to continue with the hike or spend time in Telc. I chose the latter with several others.
Telc, which has about 6,000 people, is famous for its castle and its main square, which is quite large for a town this size. The whole town is surrounded by a sophisticated system of ponds and defensive walls.
At 4 pm our group assembled for a tour of Telc Castle, which is located at the end of the main square.
Because it has been so well-maintained, it is a delight to see. Our small group had a personal guide, but unfortunately, hurried us through because it was after hours. We also were not allowed to take photos, so my descriptions of my memories are my take-away.
The palace has 133 rooms and approximately 40 are open on tours. Among the most impressive was the huge ballroom known as Golden Hall, which had a balcony for the band. Noteworthy was its ceiling, with 30 three-dimensional octagonal panels hand-carved from wood and highlighted in gold that fit together to form a star shape . This type of ceiling treatment was used in a number of rooms. There was also a Theater Room with a stage, and panels along the wall containing painted masquers. The Blue Room, so noted because of its blue ceiling, had walls painted with an allegory of the four elements as personified by the Roman gods. Knight's Hall contained armor -- lots of it -- with full suits, helmets, shields and weapons from the 15th-17th centuries. On the ceiling were paintings of the acts of Hercules and on the wall, portraits of Hradec and his wife Katrina. But the most memorable room was the African Room, which was lined with numerous heads from animals Zi could not even name. They were the trophies from a relative who hunted in Africa from 1903-1916. I wish I could have stayed longer here. We walked across an upper balcony and were able to get some lovely views of the garden. The sky had finally cleared.