The dragon roared ferociously, in my head. His breath boiled of hot lava. His dark, fiery eyes drooped as if he had just risen out of the pit.
Quickly my eyes focus past the monster as I make my way up the hill toward the drawbridge entrance. The commotion buzzes around me like a whirlwind. The clanging of hot iron pierces the air as livestock scurry beneath me, chased down by their lad master. I can hear the small group of ladies gossip as the chickens peck at the grassy knoll.
This is what it was like to live in the early 1300’s in Czech Republic.
My gaze turns to the ruins that were once the fine dining concert hall. The architecture that remains is ornate. I stare at the cold stone walls as if each mark of detail has its own story. Images began galloping across my mind throughout the historic castle.
Jesters perform among the houseguests, causing booms of laughter to echo throughout the narrow halls . . . dwindling down to the lowest of lows eventually reaching the thief. He sits in the dreariness, locked away only to listen to the sounds of the ongoing party against the damp, cold boulders.
The castle layout is simple, yet the pieces that remain are marvelous to behold.
How could people build such a fortress to last 700 years?
There were no brilliant 5-star bedrooms or theatres, only hand chiseled stone stacked one on top of another forming indescribable results. The views of my city below were waiting to be stamped on postcards.
The castle name read Strekov.
I explored every square foot of it with two of my friends that came to visit me from the States. We traveled room-by-room, learning each one’s purpose and imagining what life was like in the early 1300s.
Strekov was built in 1316 for John of Luxembourg, the father of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, to guard an important trade route to Germany. Later on, it saw much damage throughout the Seven Years’ War. In the 1800s, it was a prime spot for artists, who claimed its views inspired ideas and creativity. Known as the best castle in Central Europe, Strekov was soon captured by the Nazi’s and later bought out by the Lobkowicz family who own it today.
If you are 700 years old, I hope you, too, have stories to enchant.