Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Trebon Area - Day 21

Wednesday, September 24
Today we walked in the Trebon area and I have named this "fish day" because most of our hiking was along the fish ponds.
That may not sound very exciting, but the ponds are like large lakes, lined with centuries old oaks that provide a haven for the biggest diversity of bird species (180) in Eastern Europe.
I found the story of fish farming in the Czech Republic, a land-locked country, quite interesting.
Dating back to the 13th century, the leaders had a vision of transforming the flooding marshlands into a series of fish ponds. The engineering skills used in this area during the 16th century were so advanced that the basic techniques are still practiced today, providing an excellent source of sustainable fish.
As we walked along the edge of Rozmberk Pond, the largest in the country, Lada told us how the lakes are "seeded with fish eggs," 90% of which are carp. They are raised for two years and then transferred to a larger pond for their last two years using a series of locks and canals. 
At present there are 2900 ponds in the country and over 500 in the region of Trebon, where we were hiking.
Carp is harvested twice a year, for Christmas and Easter. 70% is exported to Austria, Germany, Poland and France.
It is usually cut into "horseshoes," marinated in garlic and deep fried.
We walked passed the ponds and met up with our little green bus where Hradec was preparing our picnic lunch by the trail.
We continued our walk and came to the charming town of Trebon.
It is very similar to Slavonice and Telc, with its large square, framed by burgher houses with Renaissance and baroque sgraffittie-adorned facades.
It, too, has a large chateau complex, but much of it is used for other purposes. The Renaissance mansion was built by the Rozmberks in the 16th century, but it was later taken over by the Schwarzenbergs, who took possession of Trebon in 1660. We walked past the main part of the Trebon chateau, which now houses depositories of the State Regional Archives, established by the Rozmberks in 1602. The oldest deposited document dates to 1184. 
Also, in the chateau complex was the permanent exhibition, "The Region of Trebon -- the Countryside and the People." It was a combination of three-dimensional dioramas and nature exhibits. Because of the surrounding marshlands and peat bogs, the area has also made a name for itself as a spa. Mud baths with therapeutic benefits are quite popular (no interest here).
We also watched two well-done videos about the wildlife surrounding the ponds and fish farming.
The real highlight of the day came at 3 pm when we were treated to a private performance by the Pipers of Trebon at the auditorium of the Hvezda Hotel. It was a group of about 12 young women who played different size recorders. They were amazing. They played Renaissance music as well as some contemporary songs. Some of them also sang and the whole effect was delightful. 
Following their performance, we boarded our bus and headed for Cesky Krumlov, our home for the next two nights. We are staying at the Hotel Zlaty Andel on the main square. I cannot believe my room. I am on the third floor, with a room big enough for a party, overlooking the town square with a view of the castle in the background. I felt guilty with such luxurious accommodations, but it was the luck of the draw and I really appreciated it. 
We walked to a local restaurant for dinner and then to bed.

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