Ruth, whale watching in Iceland. Photo taken October 4, 2012.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Osgoode, Ontario, Canada. Just south of Ottawa.

And where are they going next? We leave November 1st for a six week trip to Romania and Moldova.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Exploring Castles and Countryside

Our couchsurfing host Andrew was able to take some time off work yesterday and so he picked us up mid morning and we went back to his place to collect his family. Good thing they have a 7 passeneger mini van because we needed all of those seats! Andrew suggested we first go to a nearby town where there is another UNESCO listed castle to visit.

It was only about 20 kms (12 miles) to the town of Litomysl. This town is slightly smaller in population compared to Svitavy, but much busier. Probably because some tourists visit there because of the castle, but also the central square area was much busier with cars as well. The town has a different feel than Svitavy, which seems much more peaceful.

Litomysl Castle. Built and rebuilt several times over the last 800 years!

Notice the individual blocks below the sundial that comprise the entire building. It is said that the graphics are different inside each of the blocks!

Impossible to describe the detail. Amazing.

We decided not to pay the 90 korunas ($4.50) each to do the tour of the interior, and we were happy just to look at the exterior architecture of the castle and the grounds.

There are also two impressive churches near the castle grounds, but we’ve been inside quite a few already so we were happy just to admire them from the outside.

Hmm. What to have for lunch...

We went to an inexpensive Czech restaurant for lunch. The lunch specials range from 71 korunas ($3.55) to 97 korunas ($4.85). These are the total prices, there are no added taxes after the fact. I have to say, we like this system much better. It was the same way in England…the price you see is the price you pay. I had chicken and potatoes and Ruth had a skewered pork and veggies with potatoes. I had a beer, and Ruth had a glass of wine. Our bill, including tip, was 250 korunas ($12.50). Oh, and a note on tipping…it is standard practice here to leave between 5 and 10 percent, and it is fine just to round up the bill to the nearest amount that is easy for change.

Then Andrew and Chisono took their children to the playground and Ruth and I went for a walk around town for a half an hour.

The back of one of the churches.

Litomysl is very busy with cars.


Andrew gave us a few ideas of what to do next and we decided to go visit a family he knows out in the country who have an organic farm. The husband is Czech, but speaks English, and the wife is from Australia. Turns out they have a beautiful property overlooking a valley and you can even see a castle in the distance. They also have three children. We went for a walk around the property with them, and down into the tiny village. A really nice area, and we enjoyed talking with Martin and Emily and their children Clara (6) and twins Oskar and Eric (4). And, it was a beautiful afternoon!

Martin and Emily have a large garden!

They have a view of the castle.

Clara, playing in the field.

Fun feeding dried bread to the sheep.

When we left, we were very close to that castle in the distance, so we stopped in for a quick look. They do charge, but it was after 5:00pm by this time and the person collecting money was gone so we asked someone and they said it was okay to wander around. So we did…some of the areas of this castle date back to the 1100’s but there was a section added on in the 1800’s.

Svojanov Castle.

They had a snack bar outside the castle, and Andrew insisted that I try a local specialty. It's a potato pancake with cheese and peppers and tomatoe...yummy!

Beautiful view from the castle.

We went back to Andrew and Chisono’s for a late dinner and Andrew’s mother Anna came over to visit with us. She speaks a little English, and loves to travel so we had a lot ot talk about and she looked at some of our pictures of Mexico. We had a great day!

Kevin, Chisono, Anna, and Andrew.

The sun is shining again this morning. It’s a travel day for us, but our train doesn’t leave until 3:00pm or so and it’s only an hour journey to the town of Boskovice where we will meet our next couchsurfing host Vanda and her boyfriend. So we will just relax for the morning and then go for a walk to the library to use the internet to post this.

Posted July's expenses earlier, you can read about them here... July's Expenses.


  1. Another fun day making more wonderful memories.

    1. Isn't that what travelling is all about!

  2. Interesting that we were in Litomysl on Sunday - that is Litomysl, Minnesota. Yes a a very small Czech settlement in SE MN, their church was having their annual festival - complete with Polka music, beer and homemade koloches.

    1. Too funny! So you got to enjoy Czech life too! I think that has happened often over the years. A community will start and then they take on a name from their home country along with their customs. Hope you enjoyed yourselves.

  3. What a lovely day -- great weather too. I can spend hours touring buildings without ever going inside.

    1. We would simply run out of time and miss so much if we kept going into all the different buildings and museums. We try to save ourselves for the special ones. Anyways, as you say it is so easy just walking around and enjoying all the different features each building has.

  4. I'm still trying to figure out the time on that sundial.
    Too many lines. Nice post. Safe travels.

    1. We just gave up on it too! It sure did look pretty though.

  5. How neat to live where there are castles! Thanks for the tour!

  6. Calvin and BrendaAugust 1, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    I would say that was an excellent day! Litomysl is a very interesting and beautiful city, the art work on the castle was certainly amazing.

    1. Calvin and BrendaAugust 1, 2012 at 9:04 PM

      .....and such wonderful hosts you had, what great people to take the day to drive you around.

    2. We thought so to. All that artwork on the castle is actually sgraffito decoration which are designs made from etching away plaster to reveal the undercoat rather than painted like a mural. Really amazing to see.

      Yes, we are very lucky to meet such wonderful people who enjoy showing off their beautiful country and giving us lessons in their culture.


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