One thing I love about living in Ostrava, and in the Moravian-Silesian region, is that so many small villages with gorgeous castle remains or beautiful town squares, are a short train ride away. You can make a decision to go at the last minute, spend $6 round-trip to get there, and come home by early evening having had a fulfilling day. I was intrigued by Štramberk because of the Truba tower but worried I’d booked my return trip (six hours later) too late and I’d run out of things to do. In fact I didn’t come close to doing everything. I still didn’t make it to the marionette museum, the cave, the botanical gardens, or the other really tall tower (Bíla Hory). Reasons to come back!
I went with a new friend from Ireland, Kate. Lucky she was along because I mis-translated ‘platform’ and ‘track’ (mixed them up) and was waiting for the train in the wrong location. Our connecting train was a tiny local one, old and, well adorable.
We were so enamored with this old train car that we nearly missed our ride because this left-hand pic featured above is actually not attached to the train that was departing. Whoops. We still got to ride in an old car, featured in the right-hand pic above.
Štramberk is comprised of winding narrow, steep, cobblestone streets, most of which have a view of the tower. Some homes built into the side of the hill, have entrances off the upper street that go right into their attics. There was no end to the adventure of wandering the streets for hours.
The food options are vast and everything we had was fantastic. We started at the Pizzerie Piccolo in a brightly decorated space – every inch was a piece of art. I even found myself taking photos in the WC because the sink was make of ceramic mosaic. It was arguably the best pizza I’ve ever had (not pictured) with one of the best salads I’ve ever had and really good wine.
Later we had Štramberk uši, also called “gingerbread ears.” They are cones made of gingerbread and filled with whipped cream, drizzled with raspberry syrup and chocolate. This is not the best pic of one, but trust me, it was good! And the guy is making the cones, first by pouring batter into circular cutouts.
We had to work off all that food to justify drinks later, so to the Štramberk trúba we went. Everything is uphill or up stairs – but that’s the price you pay for a good view, even on a really foggy day like this day.
There were a lot of stairs inside the tower, but it wasn’t that bad, really. I can’t recall the cost but it was something like $3 to get in. Totally worth it!
Not for those who get vertigo with heights. At the very top, I tripped over a big block of wood and nearly tumbled down the stairs!
The tower isn’t open in the winter but the town is, and that alone is worth a visit regardless of when you are here. We stopped for coffee afterward in a little café/vinotéka called ViniSSime and the owner, a Ukrainian woman, was so lovely that we lingered much longer than we’d intended to, learning the story of how she ended up here, in the middle of nowhere Moravia. She loves it here and is passionate about wine. Meanwhile she started pouring us wines to taste. I couldn’t help but come home with a Sangiovese that was absolutely delicious. If you get a chance, be sure to visit her!
The town has the requisite cathedral, Church of St. John of Nepomuk, gift shops (which I didn’t spend nearly enough time in) and countless pubs and restaurants I never entered.
I could have photographed the yards of local homes and random archways endlessly. The people who live here take great care of their homes and yards and have some of the most interesting lawn art.
Finally I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Štramberk cats. One beautiful black cat was very affectionate and then, at the sound of children, took off toward them, leaping over roofs and onto fences.
Back at the train station, after dark, there were several cats playing on the tracks. It made me super nervous but they seemed to know what they were doing.
I’ve heard that Štramberk is even more beautiful at Christmas time and cannot wait to return.