Where in the world are Wayne and Donna this time? travel blog

bridge and gates entering into Beroun

busy square in town centre

beautiful setting

isn't he cute - had a tough day so it's nap time...

Karlstejn Castle looming over Karlstejn townsite

what a pretty valley - taken from the castle turret

100' deep well inside this structure - wouldn't want to be the...

trying to show the drawbridges into houses and the river

peasant's view of the castle from town

27 August - Up to a bit of a gray day but not to be deterred we donned our trusty daypack loaded down with our camera, lunch, rain jackets, sun glasses and maps and caught the local bus to the nearby community of Beroun. More beautiful old buildings, another wonderful city square this time with veggie vendors hawking their wares, more tourist info people that don't speak English, more smiles and nods and sign language!!! We are convinced the locals in Rudna think we are mutes as all we do is smile, nod and point. We learned how to say "thank you" the first day we were here and have yet to have it come out correctly at the precise moment we need to convey our appreciation for something. The word, which as we understand it phonetically is "gay-kee-ay", seems quite simple when you aren't presented with the anquish of trying to roll it off your tongue like a local at just the right moment in time. Given that we have yet to master the application of this one simple word we haven't been inclined to expand our lingual talents by even one more Czech word, which makes us the worst kind of travelers, we know!

Beroun is famous for a couple of things - one is the university, which we never did find. The other is "the bears" after which the city is named. We found the bears living in the park just on the edge of town, unfortunately in a caged off area about the size of a soccer field surrounded by wire and not much else. So basically they live in a very, very small zoo that has just 3 bears in it!!!!! You can get quite close to them but from where I was standing they sure didn't look like the happy bears on the city logo!

The third claim to fame is their proximity to the Karlstejn Castle so we, like all good tourists, made the short train ride to Karlstejn, hiked up through the town to the castle perched on the edge of a rock cliff. It is quite the sight to see, all big and cementy with spires and gates. Started in 1348 and under construction for many years, near the end using Palestinian labour, it is an amazing feet of engineering. There is a great view from the top so understandable why the emperor chose THAT particular piece of property. Don't suppose the worker dudes were all that happy with his choice though!

All the literature we had read indicated that the crowds would be inusffurable but it wasn't busy during our sojourn there at all. You do have to run the gauntlet past about 8 blocks of trinket vendors & restauranteurs but the Czech's have nothing on the Mexicans when it comes to drawing in potential buyers. So being old hats at this we breezed through with nary a glance at the "original" artwork and "must have" figurines. Wayne was hankering after a nice Russian hat he saw on the way up (ear flaps and all) and was heartbroken when we returned on our decent and this unique item of necessity had been snapped up by another savy shopper who obviously knew beauty when he saw it. Personally, I think the vendor, having set it out for..............oh maybe three years and not having a nibble of interest decided to use it to buff his car instead!

The village of Karlstejn at the foot of the castle is a cool little place - small little homes on either side of the very narrow road up to the castle. On one side of the road there is a small creek that they have shored up with rock and cement then the houses are on the other side of the creek. In order to get to your house they have built what looks like little drawbridges over the creek and some people have lined them with flowers and other decorations. Very different, very neat & tidy, very unique little place in the world.

28 August - Laundry day today, which under normal circumstances is a piece of cake. And most of you out there probably think one washer is the same as the next. Well.........we are here to tell you that is not the case. When Lenka showed us the house she just said the washer is here in the bathroom and help yourself. So when we went to load it up this morning all the writing on it is, of course, in Czech and the symbols are nothing like we have seen on any other washer we have used in our other trip to Europe or around North America! We got it going at one point in time and the read-out said 2:15 (2 HOURS and 15 minutes!). With three loads to do it would have been an all day venture. So Wayne went online and came back into the bathroom pretty much as befuddled as before but willing to twist this knob and turn that dial. Eventually we got that 2:15 down to 1:14 and figured we could live with that. So our clothes are going to either be EXTREMELY clean from all that bumping and grinding in there or........they are going to be threadbare from all that bumping and grinding in there!!!

Once the laundry was under control we ventured outside for a walk around the neighbourhood. The "walk" turned into a 4 hour workout as we decided to do a loop through about 5 or 6 nearby villages. On our return we discussed the possibility that few other Rudna'ites had bothered to visit their nearby villages on foot - and we knew why!!! Oh my aching pieds - ooooops, wrong language!!!

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