Prague to Vienna on Foot: To Slavonice

A series of posts following David and Gail as they walk 480 kilometers from Prague to Vienna in 2014.

September 21, 2014

Leaving the beauty of Telč was hard but, at seven in the morning we left our comfortable room overlooking the square and headed off for Slavonice. It was another long day, partially on the official Greenway trail on quiet roads and partly along trails that, for the most part, were not that remarkable. 

One exception was passing by cottage developments. It is not our first time doing so but it is always interesting to see how Czechs do the weekend cabin thing. Generally, the cabins seem to be facing a river instead of a lake and they are very small, one small room in size in many cases. The tiny house movement would do well to see how it is done here. 

The other exceptions were unexpected outcroppings of religious buildings. Such as the large and seemingly prosperous Carmelite monastery at the edge of a small village. Or, high on a hilltop, the Montserrat church, a slender tower of a structure tightly surrounded by an equally high forest.

Finally, the small town of Slavonice slowly reveals itself as we crest a hill. Within minutes we are through the medieval gates and into the first square, a fine collection of elaborate homes all dressed up in this sgraffiti finery. Fine enough to elicit gasps from Gail and me, who you think would have high standards after just visiting the standard-bearer of Telč. But no, the walls of this compact square are like a fine lace, quite different from other squares we have seen in the Czech Republic. We move through this square, squeezing through a slit at the other end which then opens to reveal another square, this one larger and more of a public gathering space, less sgraffiti but still surrounded by consistently fine wall of buildings.

At this point we were looking forward to checking into our hotel, the U Rüže. Although booked three weeks ago, we now learn at the front door of the hotel, that it is closed for renovations! By luck, we were able to find room in a pension, Ubytování U Giordanů, located in one of those fine sgraffiti finished manor house, built in 1550. For the better, we think.

The next day is a short walk day and we planned to spend the morning in Slavonice before setting out. Opening the heavy wood gates of our Renaissance-fronted pension revealed streets filled with stalls and people. We had unwittingly timed our visit on the day of Slavonice’s annual Celebration Day. Both squares were packed with stalls selling everything from bras and socks to young wine and local cheese. Baton twirlers, medieval buskers and male choral groups graced the main stage.

Before departing this party town, time to ascend one more church tower. Slightly safer than Telc’s, this one revealed how small Slavonice really was. Its edge was very clear and not far out from the town centre. You could see the roads leading to and from town as they disappeared over the hills. A little urban jewel indeed.

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