My first impressions of Czech Republic, not including a quick underground ride from the train station to bus station in Prague, came from the village of Načeradec. Arriving at after dark only provided me with the knowledge that the winding roads were narrow and our host teacher’s husband was not afraid to take them on at a high speed. But the morning illuminated a tiny village settled on a base of rolling, recently harvested fields.
The historic cobblestone town square contained a church dating back to the 12th Century and is lined with shops that look much the same as they must have two hundred years ago or more. A few residential roads branched off with a scattering of houses on each, none of them further than a half mile or so from the village center.
As I said, Načeradec is tiny. Therefore, the selection of conveniences one has to choose from is also tiny. The place where about 600 people call home has no restaurants, no ATM, no wifi and most unfortunately no ice cream shop. While there were three painfully small grocery stores, I am not sure any two were ever open at the same time, and though there was a gas station, I only saw that open once as well. The highlights of our student-provided town tour were the football field and the big farm.
The interesting thing about the lack of conveniences, like wifi and ice cream, is that while they did prove to be trying, I don’t think it at all diminished the quality of life in Načeradec at all. If anything, the pace of life here felt more natural and satisfying. Some of the people seemed embarrassed to admit to us they lacked some conveniences we’ve come to take as a given, but in reality, it was a refreshing experience in many ways.
While small, Naceradec does have it’s claim to fame. It is one of a few villages, and believe it or not, probably the biggest, that lie in the shadow of Blanik. Blanik is a mountain full of Czech legends, literally. The story is that the revered Saint Wenceslas and his knights lie sleeping within the mountain, ready to rise in defense of Czech Republic if it is ever invaded from all directions. Continue reading