Opava and its Zámek

The Fulbright program encourages its participants to really explore the countries in which they are placed.  I had grand plans to explore the ins and outs of my particular city in the Czech Republic as well as to travel to nearby cities.  Unfortunately a bit of timidity and the pathetic thought of traveling alone has prevented a lot of meandering.  Following a Svatý Václav celebration on Wednesday (due to the national holiday) I learned that some of the Americans in my company had made a habit of taking Saturday morning excursions to nearby villages and sights to enjoy the gems the region.  Heartened by the idea of travel buddies, I accepted their invitation to join them and it was deemed that today would be such a venturing day.  The destination of choice?  Opava.  I was enticed by a photo of it's zámek, which looked a little something like the photo I took today:

I met my comrade for the day, Chelsea, at the train station and we were soon on our way.  We arrived in Opava knowing it would be a bit of a hunt for the bus stop.  We found the bus stop quickly enough, but were met by a cryptic Czech sign which had some sort of exposition about the beloved 218 that was to take us to the zámek.  Undeterred, we began to explore Opava.  We were quickly enticed by the varied architecture.

 . . . as well as the presence of autumn.

Chelsea was thrilled about the changing leaves.

Tree-bordered paths, miscellaneous statuary, rose gardens, and a set of stone-steps soon led us to a  bird-themed park.  We were quite surprised to find some larger than life (and larger than human) bronze birds rotating their heads at intervals due to internal motors.  I thought I caught quite the video of our reaction to their antics, only to realize that I never pressed record!  Alas, I do have an image of the bird-themed playground:

We then aimed our walking a little bit more towards the city center.

We enjoyed our romp around the downtown, but soon thought to seek out the aloof 218.  At precisely 10 AM we found a suitable bus stop and also found that the next departure would be at 12:17 PM.  We considered walking the five kilometers to the chateau but lacked a map.  I suggested we follow the electric cables there, but that would have been a bit difficult to decipher.

So we did the next most natural thing, we enjoyed the sights of the city center and hunted for a nice cafe.

This was posted on the theater across from the town hall.
No, the translation isn't "a comedy of vegetables" but I am a bit curious . . .

You have no idea the difficulty with which I chose which cake I would indulge in.
The outdoor cafe was all we could ever desire.  Moreover, the day which had started with the visibility of my breath had changed into one quite toasty--causing me to discard both jacket and scarf in turn.  After a leisurely time of sweets and caffeine, we set off for the bus.  There were no automatic ticket machines to be found anywhere, and the local trafika didn't carry them either.  Through the aid of three strangers, we found that you purchase the tickets with an automatic machine on the bus itself.  So, at 12:17, we boarded our bus and headed to the outskirts of town in search of the chateau.  My instincts proved a bit wrong after we got off our bus stop, but through the aid of two more strangers, we finally navigated through the village streets and through the ensuing bike race to the aforementioned chateau.  It was nestled amidst some nice scenery and did not disappoint.

Upon departure, there were plenty of aged buildings to be enjoyed.

After soaking in the beauty of such deliciously old buildings and expanses of dead leaves and rambling lawns, we settled in for some cold refreshment before our train departed.  True to Czech form, I decided to go for a Pilsner.

A bus, train, and tram ride later landed me walking home to my humble dormitory.  I deem the first of my domestic Saturday-morning adventures a success.  (Oh, and the cost of the entire experience?  About 17 US dollars.)


  1. Fun reading. :) And travelling is so much better/easier with a friend! The fall leaves look gorgeous - that's one thing we're really missing hear in vietnam...


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