Friends in České Budějovice -- which is south of Prague, not too
far from the Austrian border -- invited me for a Czech lunch and a
Sunday drive in the beautiful countryside of South Bohemia. After my
lucky three weeks of almost-perfect springlike weather, we had some
less-than-perfect springlike weather: snow showers with wind so strong
that the snow blew sideways, followed by bright sunshine, then some more
snow showers and wind, then a bit of sun... The snow made the landscape
even prettier -- and gave us a great reason to duck inside, a couple of
times, for cups of hot čaj
(tea, pronounced like the Indian chai).
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This village (pronounced HO-lah-SHOW-vee-tsay) is impossibly cute.
The buildings around the central square are ornately carved and painted
in the style that's come to be called Folk Baroque. In the 19th century,
my friends told me, when the Baroque style was popular, actually making
a Baroque building front was expensive:
all of those curlicues and patterns took a lot of time for artisans to
craft. Folk Baroque is a "low-budget" Baroque style that's unique to
South Bohemia -- and, especially, to Holašovice. Here are some photos
to give you an idea:
Kratochvíle is an especially pretty place -- where, by the way, my friends were married. (Hmmm, and you're going to have to ask my friends how to pronounce it ;-).) While we were there, another squall coated the trees and cobblestones with a fresh layer of snow.
The little round church at Lomec (LO-mets)
has a beautiful Baroque interior --
no photographs allowed. But the outside is nice too:
(These photographs are Copyright © 2003 by Jerry Peek. Much higher-resolution versions of most images, and many other images too, are available at Jerry Peek Photography. Photos are available at reduced prices, or free, for non-commercial use.)