An Abandoned Castle
We engage in some urban exploration and then go home!
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And so, several thousand feet above the Czech Republic, in a KLM Embraer 190, our adventure ends. One story remains, however, short as it may be.
Exploring a castle
Local rumor in Vysoký Újezd has it that the abandoned castle could be entered through a hole in the wall surrounding the complex near a former side entrance. Given that this hole was also visible from the street when passing by, it was not a particularly good rumor. But we did choose to don our adventuring cap and climb through the hole, which brought us onto the fully overgrown terrain surrounding the castle, offering a closer view of the building. It must have once been a large and stately complex, for next to the main building there was also a free-standing mansion, a separate porch with columns slash temple and a sizeable stable complex.
Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints.
The windows of the castle were all either barred or boarded up, so we first made our way through the nettle, weeds and berry bushes in the direction of the mansion. It was in quite poor state: the walls of the building were still upright, but that was about as far as it went. As the front door was open—or rather, only one of the doors was actually still there, we took a look inside. There were mostly empty rooms filled with dust and debris. The main room, which occupied almost the entire first floor, offered a rather spectacular scene: the ceiling and several beams between the room and the attic had collapsed, bringing most of the attic floor and a door down into the room. Coupled with the holes in the roof, it was a desolate sight, albeit strangely beautiful in its demise. I noticed the tiled floor in the staircase which showed underneath the dust and wondered who once put in the floor and how they would feel about the current state of the building. It is the small, manmade details which give their character to a ruin like this, reminding you that people once lived, walked, laughed and wept here.
Once outside we found the door on the other side of the castle ajar, so here too we snuck in. The outside does not do justice to the size of the interior, featuring many rooms and hallways. An old bathroom seemed almost fully intact, and surprisingly enough was also the first place we encountered graffiti: a visitor from Prague had left his signature, wholly against the first rule of urban exploration:
“take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints”. Most spectacular was the large staircase that led upstairs, where the hall still featured the murals and ceiling decorations which once gave this building a sense of style and luxury. We viewed a few more rooms as well as the attic, although here too the state of the floor was dubitable, limiting our exploration attempts. After a quick tour of the stables and sheds outside, we once again left the terrain in the same way we had entered it.
We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the sun in the pension garden. As new guests were coming in, we had to vacate our room in the morning, but we were granted use of another room for the day, so that we had a place to leave our bags and access to a bathroom. And so our last few hours in the Czech sun slowly passed by, before bus 311 took us away once more to Zličín.
Goodbye Czech Republic, goodbye Pension Speller, we would love to see both of you again someday!