Fairytale land

Stramberk Travel Blog

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Stramberk is nestled in the Beskydy Mountains to the east of the Czech Republic, it is a beautiful town with a medieval tower called the Truba which stands guard over the old town.  The houses are very traditionally built mostly of wood in a chalet style similar to those in southern Germany and Switzerland, many have window boxes full of geraniums and other very colourful flowers.  The streets are very narrow and cobbled so a good pair of shoes or boots with comfortable soles are necessary.

Places of interest to visit are: the towns Museum which gives a good guide to life in the area, the Zdenek Burian Museum, he was a local artist who excelled in painting neanderthal man (caveman) enthused by the findings of the remains of a neanderthal child in a cave in the mountain opposite the Tower. In the next Town, Koprivnice there is a Transport Museum as this was a very busy place for manufacturing-tanks, cars and trucks, in the past. For us, a trip to the towns Historian was extremely interesting as his father turned out to be a friend to my father in law.

The country side around Stramberk is also interesting with an quarry, swimming pool/lido and lots of small enclaves most have their own museum too. There is plenty of space for walking and at the time of year that we were there, there were also plenty of wild flowers very similar to those found in Britain.  It is also possible to hear many folklore type stories of wolves and 'small people' (can't remember what they are called here) as one gets chatting to the locals.

It helps to speak either Czech or German, we had a bit of a problem, being lazy English, as Dave can't remember any Czech although it was his first language, and my German was a bit rusty but we got by with what I could remember and draw and sign!! Mostly German is spoken here , younger people are now learning English but have not had many tourists to practice on and are a bit shy.

We stayed in the Hotel Sipka, I think one of the oldest there, it's just beneath the Truba.  It was a very reasonable price for the 3 nights bed, breakfast and evening meal with drinks and coffees and the service was good.  Food was traditional and the beer - local. The next night was spent in a Pension near to where we found some relatives living in order that we could sample their home made slivovice and not have to drive as there is zero tolerance for drinking and driving in the Czech Republic (so we were told), again reasonably priced but we hadn't realised what was involved and had to go and buy ourselves some tea, coffee etc as this Pension was of the Hostel type.

Conclusion - this is most certainly a beautiful area which we will be returning to sooner rather than later, I would imagine it must be amazing at Christmas with everything covered in snow and cut off from the rest of the world! but I can't get annual leave at that time so we'll have to wait until late spring. As far as the family history tracing went, it was a very sucessful trip, learning more about the wartime invasions and the falling of the Iron Curtain etc.  We found family members still alive which we didn't expect but also saw many remembered on the war memorials, graves and in the museum. We have more pieces to the jigsaw of Davids family history and a further understanding of how a different culture has influenced the life of his family here today.

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photo by: carrasco_ov