Wandered into the Czech Republik again today.
The little country that could has rebounded since the lifting of the Soviet bootheel from its neck.
The tiny town of Loket, known as Elbogen in German, has a tiny stronghold on a deep bend in the Elbe, or Ohre in Czech. I'm sorry, I'm not getting the diacritical marks right on my American keyboard.
Here is an official link:
All good fortresses have a devoted guardian, and this one had a little black girl-kitty who followed us around, amused by Chuck's four-legged gait, I suppose. Maybe she just knew suckers for kitties when she saw them.
I think she would have liked petting, but had some history to preclude easy contact. I got a brush of her damp, silky coat as she wove through a stair railing next to me.
We didn't have time to go into the fortress itself. The time it took to check out the town and grab some lunch precluded a real savory experience of poking through a nice artifact. I was not, however, kept from window shopping. I wonder if flies are free with all overpriced porcelain?
Starving by the time we made our way through soggy little towns and border crossings, we stopped at the Goethe Restaurant. By this time a dry tent would have been warm and inviting, so we paused for beer and sustenance. I had a fabulously fresh trout (pstruh) and CG had his usual fried chicken/Cordon Bleu variation with fried potato substances. We had the obligatory cold Becherovka and split some Pilsener Urquell. The food was lovely, the girl looked like a tall version of a pouty 30s beauty, and spoke very good German. We savored the hoppy beer, the spicy liqueur, and the fresh, carefully prepared food. The entire meal cost about $25 American. Ask yourself, could you get this, with the scenery, for this price, in the states? The drinks alone would cost that much. Oh, and we each had a Viennese coffee (Vdanska kava) hot coffee with loads of whipped cream on top.
By this time, the castle was closing in 30 minutes (at 4:30pm) and we decided to come back another time.
We did take the time to meander the walls of the fortress, enjoying the forested walks and views of the castle walls from outside.
The rain took a break for our tour, and got right back to pissing when we got back on the road back to our home in Bavaria.
Driving along between imaginary country lines, I think of Bill Bryson and his book "Neither Here nor There" which is pretty much where I'm living these days.
I'm contemplating an unknown path, with a high wall on one side, and a muddy river on the other. I'm afraid of heights, and hate water I can't see the bottom of, though I swim like a fish and climb rather well. I just dislike the inconvenience.