Most of our time in the Czech Republic was spent in Prague. One day, however, we ventured out of the city to Krivoklat Castle, in Central Bohemia. We purchased our train tickets at the main station, and found our way to the correct train. We knew, from reading Rick Steves guidebook, that we would change trains at Beroun, to the cute little diesel train seen above.
As our train curved and climbed through the hills and mountains, we saw people swimming in the river, lots of campsites, and green forests. At every stop, hikers and backpackers got on or off the train. Clearly, this area is well-used for recreation.
Krivoklat Castle was first built as a hunting lodge before the 13th century. The Gothic towers lend a fairy tale air which is enhanced by the castle's setting in a lush forest. Later, the castle was used for incarcerating prisoners. The top right photo shows one of the kitchens - let's just say I'm very thankful for my small, but efficient, and light-filled place to cook.
The castle is perched on a hill overlooking a small village. The steep climb from the train station, on a very hot day, had me looking for every bit of shade along the way. What a great view!
On the way back, we stopped at Nizbor for lunch in a converted former railway station. Flower boxes and tables made from old treadle sewing machines made it a charming stop. We ordered a traditional Czech dish, svickova - tender beef slices in a vegetable puree sauce, with dumplings and a bit of cream and cranberry sauce. It was filling (very) and delicious. It's one recipe I may try to recreate here.
After lunch we walked across the railway track to the Ruckl Crystal factory and watched glass blowers and cutters at work. I admired the precision and speed of the gentleman above, cutting the patterns of lead crystal by looking through the glass.
Soon we were on the train again, chugging our way back to Prague. The train station in Nizbor had these pretty geraniums on the window ledges.
Venturing out of the more touristy areas and relying on public transport was an adventure that turned out well. I am so impressed by the graciousness of everyone we interacted with - we don't speak Czech, but English, on varying levels, is common - and so we muddled along.
Linking with Mosaic Monday, hosted by Angie of Letting Go of the Bay Leaf.