Day 259: Lednice-ValticeOctober 31, 2017 in Czech Republic
Last full day in Czechia today! Thankfully only one WHS, but this one has two separate villages. So off we went, back in the car around 9am and heading south. This one is a cultural landscape, based around the towns of Lednice and Valtice. The two towns contained important residences of the Liechtenstein family (yes, that Liechtenstein), and they set up an enormous parkland area around and between their main residence at Valtice and their summer chateau in Lednice.
We arrived firstly at Lednice and had look around. The huge neo-gothic chateaux was closed to visitors since it's now on a winter schedule, but the huge gardens area was open so we went for a walk with Schnitzel. The full grounds between the two towns is over 200kmsq, making it the largest garden in Europe (if not the world).
We just contented ourselves with a 3km walk around a large man-made lake out to a watch-tower designed as a Turkish minaret for some reason. Fun trivia: the architect of this building went on to invent the pencil!
Lots of nice garden areas, as it was done in the appealing English garden style. Schnitzel spotted a couple of red squirrels which made him very excited! After a nice walk around we grabbed some lunch of takeaway paninis at a cafe then headed back to the car.
Drove about 20 minutes across to the other side of the cultural area and the town of Valtice. Didn't seem like much happening here, but we checked out the main palace which was very impressive but closed for the winter. Filmed a few pieces, then headed out of town to a weird Roman triumphal arch thing, dedicated to another Austrian nobleman. One of those random points of interest they put into large parks I suppose.
Finished our filming and headed back to Brno, though traffic was quite slow as it was approaching rush hour. In the city itself the traffic absolutely crawled, since it seems like there are far more cars than the city can handle. It's been a long time since I've driven in peak hour and I have no idea how people can handle it every day of their lives.
Also made a quick detour to visit another WHS - Tugendhat Villa. It's in the wealthy hills of Brno, and is a modernist style villa built in the 1930s. We'd planned to skip it since the guided tours sell out months in advance, but decided on impulse since we had an hour to just visit the gardens instead. It's very nice, and also has a claim to fame as the location where the "Velvet Divorce" agreement between Czech and Slovakia was signed in 1992.
Struggled to find a park near our apartment as well, and weren't helped much by the warren of one-way streets. Eventually just pulled up somewhere in a quiet side-street in the hope that something would free up later.
Headed out for dinner to meet some friends, Tom and Sarka who we met while climbing Kilimanjaro back in 2011. Tom is English but Sarka is Czech and they've lived here for about 9 years. They've married and had a little girl since we last saw them! Cute little kid, very chatty and playful. We had a nice evening, though the brewery we were at was very noisy and conversation was a bit difficult at times. Alas!Read more