On my way out of Prague I visited Konopiste Castle. As beautiful as it is horrifying.
Yesterday I spent the day in Prague with my cousin.
I met him in front of the church that my late aunt was married in.
Look at this beautiful ceiling.
Can you imagine being married in such a beautiful place?
My cousin Marian is actually the son of my first cousin and we had fun trying to figure out how that whole second cousin twice removed thing works and in the end gave up.
Instead we peeked into art galleries and saw Warhol, Dali and Mucha,
we toured cathedrals and churches and then stopped for supper in a little restaurant where beer gets served via a train which drives it to your table. And then I headed back to Zdenek and Helena’s.
This morning I left Z and H and drove towards Brno, (on my way to Bratislava to visit more family and eventually to Austria with my aunt’s ashes.)
I really wanted to stop at two castles along the way, but road construction and detours meant I only made it to one. Perhaps I may stay an extra day.
This castle is Konopiste (pronounced Konopishtje) and is a weird mix of beautiful and horrific.
You approach it via this lush, green forest…
…right beside this lake.
It has beautiful statues on the grounds,
and tame peacocks are wandering around.
The first glimpse, and it looks beautiful enough from the outside.
This castle was the family home of the archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the the Austro-Hungarian throne.
And this man was a hunter.
The tour guide said that eh killed over 300,000 animals for trophies.
And the castle is literally littered with their corpses.
It was seriously hard for me to walk down the halls.
But then we got into the formal living rooms and, apart from the occasional animal skin rug, the formal rooms were blissfully free of trophies.
Again with the rule of no photos inside the castle.
Yeah, like that’s going to happen.
So, after I heard all about how the GREAT HUNTER shot animals from all over the world and had them imported to his home here,
I must say I felt a bit just rights when the guide showed us a bullet in a case.
That was the bullet which assassinated the archduke in Sarajevo in 1914.
I thought that for about a split second, until I realised that that one bullet, the final one of his life, started WWI.
Wrap your heads around that one.