Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Ivancice - letovisko

Ivancice Letovisko

Since heat doesn't lower even for few degrees, the best place to spend a weekend or time after work is at a lake, pond, river or swimming pool. You can either choose one of the crowded swimming pools in Brno(Kralovopolsky, Kravi Hora, Dobrovsky or Riviera) or you can go about 30 kilometres by the city to Ivancice Letovisko. It's south west from Brno. You can choose among different bike paths leading to Ivancice, take a train or jump into a car to get there. On Saturday we decided to go there on bikes, it was a "brilliant" idea. In temperatures exceeding 30 degrees we were literally dying. What's more route is demanding a bit, constant up and downhills or road between crops in a full sun didn't make it any easier. It took us more than we expected to get there, about 2,5 hours. We rode through Brno Bohunice, Moravany, where cycle path 403 starts, following the path to Nebovidy and Orechov. Be careful there, if you don't want to make up your way, turn right on Brnenska street, don't follow the path 403 anymore. You should reach Siluvky in several minutes, then still following Brnenska or road number 152 you'll get to Moravske Branice, next stop Ivancice Letovisko. You'll recognize the place immediately. Many cars parked on the roadside and restaurants on the right side of the street are the distinctive marks. If you want to go to Ivancice by train, keep in mind that during summer break, there's a closure on the line and bus is put instead of train. It takes about 45 minutes to get there. We liked that place so much that we wanted to go there again on Sunday, but this time by car. GPS lead us to D1 highway in directions to Prague, we took the first exit to Ivancice, turn left to route number 23 and then follow to Tetice, Neslovice and to Ivancice. Set your GPS to Ivancice or Moravske Branice, Ivancice Letovisko is between those two. 

 Although no attractions are provided, people visit it with pleasure. One of the main advantage is enough space on the grass around the river to sit down. It's nothing like other places, where people touch each other while lying on the blanket. What's more kids can play outside the water as well as in it, as it's really shallow in some places. I recommend however putting water shoes, because little pebbles at the bottom of the river are not very comfortable to walk on. I also noticed that older kids had fun using small "waterfall" as a slide or jumping place. At a first sight it seemed safe, but the minute I went to slide on the mattress I was injured. But that's only my fault, I missed the mattress;) Kids were joyful and were happily returning to repeat their activities one by one. Teenagers and adults also found their point of interest, they were jumping in the river from about 2 meters high tower. This didn't seem secure at all and I wouldn't dare to do it, but it's possible thanks to an artificial dam, which keeps the river on sufficient deep. Water is amazingly refreshing after a 2 hour bike trip. Trees separate the river from the street, making cover from the noise. Even though once in a while some fast cars drove through, it wasn't disturbing.

If you're not dog's lover, you'll definitely not like the fact that dogs swim freely in the river. Let's just hope they don't pee there.

 And one more point to consider, there's no lifeguard, therefore keep an eye on your kids while they're around water.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Boskovice castle and Western city

A week ago, for the second time, I visited Boskovice castle. Weather was warm and pleasant, not too hot-perfect for sightseeing.

Boskovice castle is about 40 kilometers north from Brno. Hit road E461 in direction to Svitavy. Recently often visited by my boyfriend and I.  After you reach Cerna Hora turn right on the next crossroad-signs to Boskovice. Once you’re in Boskovice, go straight on through the city until you reach signs directing to city centre. We parked at  the main square, on Saturdays after 1p.m. it’s free of charge, the same during week but after 6 p.m. On Sundays no charges are taken all day. 

The distance between main square and Boskovice castle is not big, it’s merely 2 kilometeres. Behind the town hall, which by the way is also available for tourists, turn right and follow the signs as well as yellow or red trail.

The entrance fee is extremely cheap(35 kc), but that’s because you don’t have to pay for a tour guide. The only tour guide you get is some sheets of paper with facts about the castle. You’ll read about different families inhabiting the possession through ages, its history or about usage of particular rooms.  Instructions are available in different languages-they also have one in English.
Tour shouldn’t take more than 2 hours. You should arrive at latest 30 minutes before closing time. During summer castle is opened till 6 p.m. Keep in mind that it’s closed from October to April. Full opening hours may be find here

Every important spot at the castle is described in the tour guide and of course corresponding name plates with numbers are located around the castle. There’re 16 stops in total. During your first stop you can admire the casket miniature of the ruins or supposed shape of the castle during Renaissance. What’smore at stop 8 you’ll learn that there used to be two floors. The first floor served as a representative room and on the second floor rooms for guests were situated. It’s quite hard to imagine because only ruins were left. For my taste, families had limited space there, but maybe I’m wrong. There’re also few observation points at stops 11,12,13 and 15 on each side of the globe. Entrance to spacious, dark and currently empty basements were also allowed, they used to serve as huge pantries.

Even though we spent quite a while on the castle, our trip didn’t finish there…

Because we still had some time, we went to Western city. It’s about a kilometer from the Boskovice castle, signs directing to Western city are visible from the city centre, so it’s easy to hit the target. A green path from the centre should also lead hikers there. Car park by the Western city is huge, but it cost 50 kc per day. One of the interesting things we were told before we even get to the city was the fact that  the only valid currency in the city is boskovice’s dollars. It’s possible to exchange it at the bank, in the saloon or in the exchange, conversion rate is 1:1.  We were also recommended places we should visit and showed how to get to the western city. It’s about 500 meters I guess, we got there within few minutes.

 All attractions in Western city are opened until 6 p.m. every day during summer. In addition every Saturday a country disco or gigs take place. So called Saloon 1870, which is also a restaurant and a pub is opened 24 hours per day. Men dressed as cowboys or Native Americans, women dressed as western or saloon ladies dancing country, quite a view. You could feel the atmosphere of Wild West. While adult long for the night, by day children are lured by Rodeo, Ancient World, horse riding or jungle park. They can also go for a horse show or learn how to throw a tomahawk. Inviting activities for kids were also gold washing or archeological excavations.

I found it really creative and extraordinary that it’s possible to spend a night within the area. You can either sleep in a wigwam for 200kc per night, pitch your own tent for 50kc per person, sleep in one of the hotels at the main street or rent a western style wooden house on “suburbs”for a bit more money.  Maximum capacity in those houses are 10 people. I think it’s popular destination for holiday camps.

Parents and their offspring will not be disappointed with time spent in the city, I guarantee.  

Western city's official webpage here