Friday, May 23, 2008

A Trip Back in Time

We drove about 35 miles and 400 years back in time today when we visited the Botanicus Historic Center in the village of Ostra in the countryside to the East of Prague. We picked up tickets, changed our Czech Crowns in to Botanicus "Pragergroschen", and walked into a bustling medieval village.

The narrow streets were paved with rough cobblestones - I guess they didn't use strollers back in the olden days. Fortunately, our super-stroller bumped and trundled along, "Kyler the Smiler" strapped securely inside. The village is great "living history." Each thatched-roof house and store along the path offers a different hands-on lesson. Kids (or kids at heart) can make paper, wind rope, see how soap is made, watch the blacksmith hammer out a coin, craft candles, or even pan for gold. Puppeteers put on a show in the the town square, and the "Great Guild Hall" offered a fine selection of medieval munchies (and beer in paper cups!) Need to buy something? Just stop by the Treasury to change money. Don't try to rob it... or the village sheriff might have to hook you up to the rack, or even throw you in the town jail with the poor guy who looks like he's been rotting away there for quite a while!

We stopped by the village armory to try out their assortment of swords, knight's armor and muscats, passing water pumps, wine presses, and all kinds of things to play with (and on).

Right outside the village lie the beautiful Botanicus herb gardens - beds of mint, thyme, rosemary and other herbs nestled amid manicured lawns, flowers, and "secret" pathways winding underneath shady trees. A perfect spot for a medieval picnic, and a "dragon hunt" in the "forest" (a hedge maze).

Today was a "Special Event" day at Botanicus - with games, horse rides and other neat things for the kids to enjoy. Jad's highlight of the day was trying his hand at archery (the arrow almost got as far as the target!) and posing with a hunting falcon. Danna got to ride a "weal howse." All of this fun? Just an hour from home via our Toyota "Time Machine.

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