>So near, so spa

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After six hot days in Brno, we finally head out for the countryside. My wife’s family has a holiday home dating from 1970s in rolling hills near the Slovak border. We speed a long a lot of bits of newly opened motorway between Brno and Zlín being built with EU structural funds, although there’s still a lot of driving through villages and on small windy roads to be done in between before we finally get there.

As we have already discovered, for any family holiday in the CR the koupák is king and we know from previous experience that the nearby village, a kilometre down the road, has a particularly pleasant and clean open air pool near the municipal football pitch. When we arrive, however, disaster strikes. The koupáliště has been closed down under EU hygiene regulations. The problem, as in many rural locations, is sewerage. Too few toilets and an outdated septic tank, they tell us in the village shop.

When walks in the forest, insect life and table tennis have amused the kids as much as they are ever going to, the only solution to get the bus to nearby Luhačovice, a small spa town nestling in wooded hills, which has historically been popular with Czech political and cultural elites of various ideological stripes (there is a direct train daily to Prague). As well as wafers and ice cream sundaes, crucially it also has a koupák – somewhat old fashionably termed a plovárna – where a good time is had by all and I even manage to have a swim and read the papers.

Later we hit the jackpot when we get given a leaflet about a children’s theatre performance the next day being given as part of the annual theatre festival by Brno’s Divadlo Polárka company. When we pack into the town’s small theatre, I wonder quite what we will have in store, but as it turns S koníčkem přes hory a doly (loosely translatable as ‘Travels with a horse over hill and dale’) is beautifully staged and also thoroughly entertaining for the kids, who emerge delighted.

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