A day trip for today. We caught the bus out to Strecno Hrad or castle. This is a small dilapidated castle on a hill overlooking the river. Its only about 20min out of town, and fairly easy to get to. The village it is in is split by the river into two parts, with only a footbridge and vehicle ferry to get across. Being a small town there is nothing there, a couple of shops and a few houses.
We had to walk through town to get to the base of the hill. There is a small car park with a couple of closed tourist stalls. On the side is a staircase going up to the castle itself, however this is closed at the moment, and we had to follow the road up. A few houses, good woodland setting with a small stream gurgling down the hill. It was quite picturesque. Along the way was a series of information plaques. These listed the wildlife around the place, here we were told about the snakes, frogs, birds and even bears that live in the area.
On getting most of the way up, we discovered why the stairs were closed. They are in the process of building a medieval town to go with the castle. Here there are going to be all sorts of period buildings with stalls etc. A good idea if they do it well.
Further up we started to see the walls of the castle. There are ditches around this section, and a double drawbridge leading to the first annex. Here is the ticket office. You are free to walk around the outside, but it is a guided tour inside. The next tour is about half an hour away, so we amuse ourselves walking around the area. It is right on top of the peak, and 3/4 of the castle is built up to the cliffs. There are a few outside sections that were built for gun emplacements. The view out over the river and valley are stunning, and we hope it gets better from the tower.
When the time came for the tour, we had a nice lady as our guide, and a few others as well. It turned out that she couldn’t speak English though. However we were given some paper with a list of what we would be seeing. There have been extensive renovations to sections of the castle, but they have been done well.
The tour takes us through the kitchens, around the remains of the courtyards, with wells and storage areas and up the tower. The view is as good as we had expected with the ability to see far off peaks. A perfect place for detection and protection of this section of the river and valley. Finally we end up in the chapel.
It is the burial place of the wife of one of the lords. Zofia Bosnakova. She was very popular, and still worshipped as a saint today. Born in 1609. After her husband died, she went back to her family, then they all died except for dad, who was away. So she took over managing the estate, and was known as a generous supporter of the poor and sick. At 21, she remarried and he was the lord of Strecno. They created an orphanage. Due to her reputation, everyone thought she was a living saint. When her husband was caught having an affair, she spent more time in the village helping people, before dying at 35 in 1644. In 1689 the then lord wanted to move all the corpses out of the basement or closet as the case may be, and found her body perfectly intact (Trying a good luck kiss didn’t wake her up though) So they put her in a glass coffin, and it turned into a pilgrimage point. We were told that the original mummy is still there, but wikipedia has an interesting ending to the story…
Back in town afterwards, we needed something to whet our tongues, and stopped into a local. Not ours, but it must be some ones. The woman serving us was great. Talkative and interesting. Then we were joined by the next table. Before we knew it we were at the second destination. The place you should never go! A long night drinking herbal drinks. They promised that they were only made from herbs, and not a spirit, but I think they lied!