I made one trip out of Prague for the book. It went…ok. If nothing else I learned what not to do next time.
When Emperor Rudolf kicked Dee and Kelley out of Prague his second in command William of Rozmberk gave them refuge in the southern town of Trebon. Most of Kelley’s alchemical successes and the infamous wife-swapping took place while they lived in Trebon Castle and a lot of the 16th century building remains. Of course I had to see it. I’d heard great things about the Czech Republic’s train system and it was only a 2 hour ride – what could go wrong?
Heh heh heh…
First off I severely overestimated my understanding of the train schedule. Prague to Trebon looks easy until I discovered I had to change trains: I had to know both my destination and my terminus, and ideally be able to pronounce both.
Which was my second mistake: I can’t speak Czech. It’s my own damn fault; save a few important words (Praha = Prague, knihy = book) I relied on everyone to speak English (ugly American, me).
My third bad assumption tied into the second: I was under the impression Trebon was a sizeable town and, therefore, full of English speakers. We got off the train to discover it was a one-taxi town – and the taxi driver spoke German.
The upshot was that we missed our first train and while we caught our second we were rushed and highly dependent on our phones’ ham-fisted Google translations.
So, yeah, not my finest travel moment.
I went on the only tour available in our short time-frame – Czech, with English handout. Though they didn’t permit interior photography (the Czech site has a nice photogallery) I got a handle on the smaller scale of a country palace. To my surprise the tour mentioned Dee and Kelley – there’s even a room set up as a makeshift alchemical lab.
Evidently there’s also a medieval-themed tavern named for Kelley on-site, but we didn’t have time to stop in. A mile sprint got us back to the station just in time to catch our ride back to Prague.
In lieu of Trebon Castle pix, have this one of the Rozmberk Palace in the Prague Castle complex. The Rozmberks scaled this one for grand city living.