Today was Day 4 of our 10 countries 10-night road trip from North Germany to Central Italy.
So far, we had enjoyed:
- The beautiful area of Greifswald in Northern Germany
- Camping near the Rakotzbruke Bridge on the border with Poland
- Enjoying our stay exploring the beauty and history of Wroclaw
We knew it was going to be a long day driving Eastern Europe seeing four countries in one day, so we planned it at a leisurely pace.
As we left Poland to go to Slovakia, we would pass through Czech Republic and slide into Austria for a cup of tea.
Leaving Wroclaw, we decided our first stop on today’s road trip would be the small village of Klodzko.
The town was slowly waking up as we arrived. And is in the process with beautifying the area.
Stopping at the local market we purchased some apples, so tasty, as we munched and wandered our way around the fortress and streets.
Klodzko is known as “Little Prague” as can be seen in the architecture of the buildings.
With a varied history of many cultures such as Bohemian, Germany and Prussian, the town today is part of Poland.
A walk across the Gothic bridge of St John’s with its various statues provides views back to the old town or the monastery.
During the earlier centuries, the location of Klodzko on the road between Bohemia to Poland brought great wealth to the town.
In the later years of the 19th century, Klodzko became a popular tourist destination because of the nearby spas.
Goodbye Poland for now but we will return, as we cross the border into the Czech Republic.
At the border, we had to purchase a 10-day toll ticket (the minimum length of time) for a cost of €10.
Even if you are only traveling on secondary roads and not even staying one day, €10 is the minimum.
Kraliky, Czech Republic
The small village of Kraliky was another coffee stop and their beautiful square was the perfect spot to enjoy with the locals.
Luckily the hotel took Euro saving us the bank charges to covert a small amount of currency. Unfortunately for Terry the small cake shop only took local currency, so only coffee on this stop.
The small villages we passed through had their church with a mixture of new houses and some very old houses in need of repair.
The highlight of the day would be our next stop in Olomouc.
Olomouc, Czech Republic
Well, if you love the architecture of old buildings, opera music, and churches, then Olomouc is for you.
This beautiful city has many majestic buildings within walking distance of the town hall and UNESCO Holy Trinity Column.
Situated in the region of Moravia for many centuries, Olomouc was an important city in the kingdom of Bohemia.
The influence of wealth in centuries past is evident in the many beautiful buildings.
The town hall, yes another beautiful building, was covered for cleaning and repair. However, we did get a glimpse of Olomouc’s Astronomical Clock striking at 12noon daily.
The Gothic St Wenceslas Church sits on Wenceslas Hill was consecrated in 1131. The tower to the right of the church is 100m high and is the second tallest in the Czech Republic.
With the Archdiocesan Museum next to the church built on the foundations of the ancient Olomouc castle, it is a worthwhile place to visit.
Brno, Czech Republic
The trip from Olomouc took us along a very flat landscape of open crop fields passing through small villages.
We arrived at Brno and the first purchase was diesel for the car. Our 60-liter tank had done well to get us from North Germany to here.
Brno is also in the region of Moravia and is the second-largest city in the Czech Republic.
For us, we wanted to visit three areas:
- Spilberk Castle
- The Cathedral of St Peter and Paul
- The old town area
Spilberk Castle dates to the 13th century built as a Royal Palace. But by the 14th century, the castle became a fortress in baroque style.
It was here in 1560 Brno could defend itself against Swedish raids. During these centuries until 1855, the castle became one of the harshest prisons, especially for political prisoners.
The castle remained as a military barrack until 1959 when a year later it became the Brno City Museum.
Cathedral of St Peter and Paul on Petrov Hill was easy to find with its 84-meter high Gothic towers. However inside, the interior is mainly Baroque style.
The views from the hill across a very modern Brno city also gave a glimpse of Spilberk Castle.
We also discovered the midday bells of the cathedral chime at 11 am.
This was to fool the Swedish invaders who promised not to continue the attack on the city if they had not succeeded by midday. It sounded a bit like the tale of Zagreb.
Brno also has the oldest theatre in Central Europe, The Reduta Theatre.
So it was no surprise to find the city loves its’ culture, with The National Theatre of Brno is one of the highlights you can find as you walk through the pedestrian central area.
This beautiful building dates to 1884 and is modeled on the National Theatre of Prague.
Brno has an interesting history of rulers throughout many centuries.
But within its modern history, it was here Gregor Mendel established the Science of Genetics.
While the temperature reached 35 degrees, it was lovely to sit and cool off from the heat in one of the many squares to listen to local folklore music.
Plus take a wander near the shops for a little fun under the umbrellas.
Hello and Goodbye, Austria
Slovakia was next on the schedule, a two-hour trip from Brno to the city of Bratislava. So, we once again crossed a border and paid our tolls.
As we neared the city of Bratislava we decided on a quick trip across the border to Austria. Well, when you are this close, you might as well say hello.
As we entered the city it was now getting close to 7 pm to find the campsite a little way out of the main city center. We were excited as we would finally get to use our tent packed for the trip.
What we found, however, was the area overrun with 20 years olds attending a weekend music festival. There was no way anyone was getting any sleep tonight.
Nothing left but to get out the phones, find WiFi and look for the last minute cheap hotel deals on Hotels.com. We love this website as we get every 10th night free. Yay.
We found a little place in the old town.
The owner had to open a narrow gate on the main street for us to drive through into large yard. It’s amazing what is hidden behind some gates.
All unpacked, it was time to reminisce.
The last time we were in Bratislava was 30 years ago with Maura’s brother and sister on a road trip. Back then the area was still controlled by the Russians.
So to say we were surprised by what we found was an understatement. Bratislava has been transformed.
The accommodation available all those years ago was the Hotel Carlton which overlooks the Opera House.
Our front room still looks great while the sibling’s room outback is still the size of a broom closet. Lol. It was a great road trip way back then when four of us travelled in a tiny two-door Renault.
So our driving Eastern Europe seeing four countries in one day came to an end after 12 hours and 650kms.
We were looking forward to Day 5 to once again explore this beautiful city of Bratislava with new eyes to experience its vibrancy.