Tag Archives: orlik

Family holiday Czech style: my trip to Orlik and Podskali, Southern Bohemia

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I hate people who produce blog posts consisting solely of their holiday photos.   Save it for Facebook or the round robin email to your mates back home.

What you see above then, aren’t really holiday photos at all, more like documentary evidence from my latest expeditionary trip deep into Czechland.  Czechman’s parents rent a cottage (chata) near the same man-made lake every summer: they invited Czechman and I, along with his sister and her husband, to join them.

The cottage is in a holiday camp in a place called Podskali (literally ‘under rock’). The whole place had a ramshackle feel to it with chalets and tents and caravans scattered along the edge of the lake around a rundown looking hotel. A holiday camp back home in England usually means a place with a bingo hall, several amusement arcades and an entertainment complex where cabaret acts in the twilight of their careers put on a show for a few bored pensioners.

Not in Czechland.

Here the only ways to spend your money were playing table tennis, buying a paper or renting a rowing boat.  Or, of course, in the pub which we visited only once to get a beer to take to Czechman’s dad while he was fishing.

I’m not complaining though.  I think that this is just an example of how Czechs have mastered the art of having a good time without forking out too much cash.  We spent our time playing board games and cards, rowing back and forth across the lake and going for walks in the countryside. One of these expeditions turned into a spontaneous mushroom picking session.  I’m not very good at picking mushrooms, it turns out, probably because as Czechman’s dad pointed out, ‘you don’t really have a lot of this terrain in London, do you?’

I should also mention our day trip to Orlik, the white castle you can see in the photograph at the top.  It was inhabited by the Schwarzenbergs, a bunch of soldiering aristocrats who filled the palace with the antlers of deer they’d shot and lots of guns. There were so many dead things mounted on plaques and displayed on the walls I’m surprised they had time to do anything else but hunt.  The place must have looked even more impressive perched on the edge of a cliff as it would have been before the river was flooded to create the lake which powers the nearby hydroelectric dam.  It is worth seeing if you get the chance.

I spotted a woman striding into the lake with a bottle of shower gel in her hand, presumably to get a wash without having to pay for the showers.  Am I alone in finding this odd?

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