Further south and on border of Bohemia in the west and Moravia in the east we visited Telč. Arriving just as the town’s three churches tolled their bells for noon, and in high heat as the temperature reached 30 degrees, we found its gem of a main square dazzling under blue skies.
The many colourful facades of the Renaissance burghers’ houses were mostly built after a disastrous town fire in 1530, with some updated in the later baroque style during the 1700s and 1800s.
The square is, unsurprisingly UNESCO listed, and is glorious to walk around. We tried to pick out favourite frontages.
Like Kutná Hora, Telč is a town that is lived-in. Businesses, mostly gift shops and restaurants, lined the cool arcades of the square, above which locals lived in historic apartments. Residents parked their cars on the cobbles and a tabby cat slinked past us. We dodged the Japanese and Chinese tour groups (presumably on day trips from Prague) and found our own quiet corners.
Outside of the square were narrow streets of low-slung and rendered terraces. Those houses that front the surrounding lake and ponds, formerly the moat, have been extended out and upwards and we envied their evidently modern comfort in a fabulous historical setting.
The oldest corner was home to the original walled fortress, which was later updated as a Gothic castle and chateau. In the 1600s the Jesuits arrived and built a new church, college and grammar school, today part of the universities of Brno and Prague.
After an hour’s stroll around there wasn’t much else to do other than sit again in the square and watch the play of afternoon sunlight on the painted frescoes and scarified decorations that made each house unique.
On the way back to Bertha we spotted a ‘pinothek’ or wine cellar. Unlike Bohemia which makes world-class beers, Moravia is all about vineyards and wine production. It was time for the first wine sampling of the trip!
Our overnight stop was in the old lakeside town of Třeboň. Founded in 1341, it grew rich on the annual fishing of thousands of carp from its lake, and from the visiting sick who paid for treatments from its waters and peat.
Warmly welcomed at a busy campsite, we joined the most number of ‘vans we had seen since the Baltic Coast, and headed into bar for cheap and tasty Czech beers.