Yes yes, I know, still almost 2 weeks to Salute, but as I don't expect to be online much before it, I figured I'd post it here.
I was visiting Prague and few smaller Czech towns past weekend with my father. He is guiding a tour there in two weeks and as he has never been to Prague before, he had to go check it out. I was happy to accompany him, as I've never seen Prague either. While the city is downright beautiful, it was very cold and my shoes got me crippled, which I hope will fix itself ASAP as I need my legs in England for next two weeks!
What appears to be a very old (couldn't find a plate with a date anywhere) house in Cesky Krumlov. The true reason people come here is a large castle, with painted "bricks". Theres a picture of one of the courtyards below the house.
Our second stop was Ceske Budejovice, which probably doesn't ring a bell. In german, the town is called Budweis and there is an ongoing dispute if Budweiser is czech or american beer. AFAIK, czech budweiser can't be sold in the US and american Budweiser is sold as "Bud" in Europe.
Below is a picture of a building close to an entrance to the Terezin (means "Belonging to/Of (Maria) Theresa") fortress town. It consists of this, bigger fortress that is used to be an actual town for garrison troops and their families and smaller fortress, that used to be a prison. The fortress was built to defend Austria from Prussia. I believe it wasn't as useful as planned as Prussians avoided it and only battle which fortress took place in demanded 3 wounded. The place, however, got less spectacular during WWII as Nazis changed it into a jewish ghetto and a "transit camp" - people were gathered here and eventually moved to concentration camps to the east. I wouldn't go in much further detail as you can read about it online. It is a sad place to be at and sadness has no place in our hobby. What I did found interesting and rather disturbing was the fact that people still live here. I guess they've moved in after the war. Considering the state of the buildings, I'd guess only poor people remained and I, for one, can not understand how anyone would wish to live in a place of such reputation.
On to a bit more pleasant photos, a foggy shot of Prague Castle. I believe this is the largest castle in the world by Guinness book of records, but not the largest according to this page. You can't see it all on the photo below and the big thing in the middle is a cathedral inside.
Outside the castle two guards stood. They didn't move a muscle, kinda like british guards in London. When we arrived a group of tourists was taking shots of them and next to them. I really felt bad for the guards, but I figured it is too good to pass and came closer to take a picture! Have I mentioned it was freezing there?
I should tell you that I believe I saw few guides rolling eyes over the tourists and probably thinking what a bunch of retards we are :D.
When you come in the castle, there is a-castle-inside-the-castle, with those gates:
The big statues are said to represent the titans (Austrians) rising above the lesser kind (so, the people Austirans ruled). You can see another two guards here, got to respect them. Outside this door, castle is full of palaces and villas, actually a whole little town.
EDIT: After I've linked Defenestrations of Prague page, I've actually found out the top window of the overgrown wing of the building is where the second defenestration (that has triggered 30 years war) took place.
Below is probably one of the most famous windows and certainly the most famous window for 30 years war gamers! From this exact window few people were thrown (check Defenestrations of Prague) and Europe went ablaze for next 30 years!
Heydrich took refuge. As a retaliation 2 villages were sacked and everyone who was at least partially involved in the assassination (by executing it or helping the executors) and their families was either killed or has committed suicide. Other than that, Prague was occupied before Poland was invaded and was spared destruction (except for few buildings that nazis demolished to make view of certain churches easier).
Well, I am a bit worried I might got too realistic with those photos, as I generally believe politics have no place in gaming, yet - Terezin, for example is a nice example of an old star shaped fortress town. And, I hope noone gets offended by that, that Jewish cemetery is kinda inspirational for ghotic horror wargaming. I might mention I am just reading Witch of Prague from Francis Marion Crawford. In the story, he mentiones how Prague is a "black city" and how dull the winters here are. Surely I visited it in april, but with a temperature span between -1 and +5°C and not a single sun ray, I found his description quite fitting!
Thanks for looking and see you after the Salute with pure hobby photos,