How to survive winter at the chateau
In the Czech TV show Modrá krev (Blue Blood), a Czech noble man from Štemberk says: “Whoever wants to live in a chateau must have a sweater and thick socks.”
While that is certainly true, it would not be enough for Nemilkov. The winter temperatures in the foothills of the mountains of Šumava were quite extreme this winter. According to locals, it was the coldest winter in the past 6 years. Lucky us…we had the opportunity experience harsh, frigid temperatures to begin our new lives at the chateau.
You might be wondering-how is it even possible to sleep in these conditions? Well, it turns out you can sleep like a baby until the rooster’s morning call, but it is necessary to follow these rules:
- Sleep in a sweater
- Wear a hat, ideally covered by a hood
- Put two blankets below you, and cover yourself with two more on top
- Advanced technique: Do not move…at all. This prevents any air gaps
In order to survive the winter at Nemilkov’s, we compiled a list of essential items (which we were lacking) that you need to be prepared (other than socks and sweaters):
- Long Johns
- Warm winter hats
- Skiing gloves - best directly from Alaska (we have ours thanks to our son, who played hockey there and knows something about coldness)
- 3–4 layers of clothing under a winter jacket (not just for outside, but also for walking through the unheated hallways!)
The lowest temperature we measured in our living room after arriving was 0° C (32° F). The room that we used as a multipurpose living room, bedroom and dining room was quite “warm” in comparison. The highest we managed to heat the room up was up to 13° C (55° F), with significant drops as you increase the distance from the stove. Temperatures next to the ceramic stove (1 meter high x 2 meters across) were up to 18° C (64° F). Don’t even ask how cold it was by the windows 😱!
The real catastrophe is when nature calls during the night (which is not so uncommon when it’s cold out). However, if you really must go, just realize you will have to walk down a 30-meter hallway first. The bathroom has all the necessary “equipment”, but otherwise, it is bricks and a cement floor. Using this “cozy” room looks and feels like taking a visit to a cryo-sauna.
It is also a bit absurd, but while you fight the coldness, you can easily burn yourself as well. “How so?”, you ask…the explanation is easy. It is very cozy by the stove, so you dress and take care of your personal hygiene as close to it as possible. And just as you get a little too cozy with the stove…you find yourself treating, yet another, minor burn! We ended up with burns on every imaginable body part in the dead of bitter winter 😊.
After the first winter at the chateau Nemilkov, we welcome spring with open arms and cherish every new blossoming snowdrop. We cannot wait for the return of the sun, which will warm up more than just our souls. Inside the chateau, the winter season continues…