Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Prague 2008: Day 8 (29 June)

Our fist stop on our sort-of way home was the castle Pernštejn. The first written record of it is from the 13th century. It's out in the middle of a beautiful green wood and looks everything like a proper castle should. There was a dirt road that led to a small market area before the castle proper. The whole of the castle had been built with a rock as its foundation. The castle had a bit of a split personality, though. The original construction was in the gothic style, but reconstruction and new construction after a fire added baroque qualities. One of the new baroque rooms was a formal dining room full of portraits of the family as well as family friends, like a Hapsburg emperor and his wife.

After the castle we had a long bus ride to the Moravian Karst (caves). We had about a 30 minute walk to get from the parking lot to the entrance to the karst, but it was a beautiful wooded walk along a stream. The caverns stay at roughly 48° F all year 'round. It's difficult to describe how beautiful the caves were, but probably one of the best words for them is "ethereal." There were fantastic stalagmite and stalactite formations, and we saw a crater that formed when an underground cavern/cistern collapsed on itself. After that we got to go on a boat ride through the caverns.

Our last tourist stop was in a little town called Křtiny where we saw a baroque church that is called "the pearl of Moravia." It was truly awe-inspiring, but we didn't get to see it for very long because we had our time table reformatted so that Barbora and Zdenek could visit the guy in the hospital. The rest of us had one quick final bus tour of Brno and ate at McDonald's while we waited. We then hurried back to Prague because many wanted to be able to watch the football finals in Old Town Square. Alicia was among those that went to the game, but after the adventure from trying to get to the semi-finals, I decided not to go. Everyone came back late from the game, and the cheers of "España!" went on for days.

The view walking up to Pernštejn

Inside the caverns

More inside the caverns

The newly-formed crater from the collapsed underground lake

She was waiting outside the giftshop at the caverns

The Pearl of Moravia (this picture does it no justice - it's huge!)

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