After a few-hour drive and then a stopover last night in Prague at the family apartment, we’ve moved to Krušovice to stay with some extended family for the next few days…
Today we went as a group to investigate Krivoklat, a castle dating to the 13th century. No photos were permitted inside, and you know how I love rules and order, so I followed this request. We took an 80-minute tour in Czech, which was not as helpful as a tour would have been in English but which was still pretty interesting for its sights. Also, we had English-language handouts that explained the rooms we visited inside the castle.
The first part of the castle we saw was the oldest – the knights’ hall and treasury date to the 1200s. We moved in a kind of circular way upward through newer parts of the castle, all the way to the 19th-century library. I would have loved to spend the afternoon in that last section of the castle just exploring the collection of books, some of which were the size of my torso, and many of which were probably originally handwritten by monks in castles just like this one.
At one time, this was a prison castle for the Habsburg family. There was, at another point, a Holy Roman Emperor here at Křivoklát, back when Germania was the center of the world, but the castle wasn’t really held to be of much importance for very long, and it fell in and out of favor, use, and attention between 1200 and the 20th century.
The German and Czech flags on the buildings in the surrounding villages make me think of the “it’s complicated” relationship between these two countries, the Czech Republic being around 20 years old and the Czechoslovakian state not even 100 years old, if we think of these as being part of the same basic political unit. This was all Germany, Austria, or the Holy Roman Empire at one time or another over the last 800 or more years… and this was all a part of Hitler’s short-lived 1000-year Reich. So, as far as German-Czech relations go, “it’s complicated” is a fairly reasonable summary.
Lunch today consisted of too-delicious, Czech dessert dumplings that I can’t wait to try making at home. Check out some of these photos of the process. Of course, I wouldn’t want to guess how many calories are in each of these little balls of sugar and dough, but I’m guessing it’s more than one person should consume in any given meal.
The dumplings are a part of traditional Czech fare, and they’re a specialty of Nicolle’s family. We’re staying in their 150-year old farmhouse – it’s been completely renovated and updated in the last fifteen or so years, and it’s very beautiful. I have a lot of respect for the family of hers that lives here in Krušovice, CZ. They’ve worked hard on this house, and it shows.