Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Czech Trip 2015 - Cultural Day Part 2. Telč

The most photographed view of Telč
The second and final stop of our “cultural tour” was the UNESCO World Heritage town of Telč; which was a 50 minute train journey from Slavonice. Telč seemed to have a lot more going for it than Slavonice. For a start, its population is twice that of its near neighbour, and on the walk into the own centre from the station, we passed some proper shops; rather than boutiques selling items exclusively for tourists. 

Main Square
Telč has a long and illustrious history, which I won’t attempt to recount here, but one point worthy of note is that most of the current buildings in the town date from the 16th Century, as much of medieval Telč was destroyed by a terrible fire in 1530.  A look on the town’s official websitedescribes its history and development in greater detail; from its 12th Century beginnings up to the present day.
Telč has been described as the "most perfect example of the Italian Renaissance north of the Alps”, and with one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, overlooked by multicoloured houses, it is easy to see why.

Originally created as a moated fortress, Telč today is surrounded by crystal clear fishponds and it against these lakes that some of the best and most memorable photos of the town have been taken.
Main Square

Detail on building
As in Slavonice earlier, most of our party headed for the tourist information office in order to see what the town had to offer. Afterwards, we split into small groups with just me, plus two companions, forming one of them. We followed a narrow lane which ran behind some of the houses fronting the square, down towards on of the lakes. It was here we took several photos set against the backdrop of the picturesque buildings which now house the university.

Unfortunately our visit to the town was marred slightly by the unseasonable cold wind blowing through the town. It was hard to believe that just three days earlier I had been walking around Prague wearing just a T-shirt and shorts, enjoying wall-to-wall sunshine and temperatures in the mid twenties. We sought refuge from the unseasonable weather in a rather nice pub called Restaurace U Marušky. Here we enjoyed some Černá Hora beer (Ležák 4.8% ABV), and I broke my fast with a warming bowl of beef noodle soup.

Restaurace U Marušky

I could have stayed at U Marušky longer; it was my sort of pub, pleasantly old with solid wood furniture and the look which is only acquired after many years of trading. There were several groups of locals in the bar, all keeping the friendly barmaid busy with orders for both drinks and food.

My companions though were keen to move on, having noticed earlier, a small cellar bar selling Bernard beers, so we decided to give it a try. I don’t recall its name, but it seemed popular with the town’s younger and possibly student population. I tried the mixed light and dark Bernard beer, plus a smaller glass of the dark on its own. All three of us went for a pizza as well, in order to assuage hunger (in my case) and to soak up the beer in all three cases.

Afterwards, we made our way back to the railway station, from where local and regional buses also depart. We took the bus, which was more comfortable than the train, and also a lot quicker. The journey back to Jihlava took us through some of the most pleasing countryside I have seen; with rolling hills, dark forests and stretches of verdant green pasture. Numerous fish ponds dotted the landscape, providing fresh fish for the villages we passed through on the way, as we travelled along winding country roads, lined by blossom-laden apple trees. It was a fitting end to a packed and fulfilling day out.

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