I'm continuing in the Vaberec region - I would say I'm about 50 % done now, which means I should finish by the end of November. For the past two weeks, I've been drawing in okres Nebrašov, last week I let my art hoe self write a thing about the karst, today the bliki gets even bleaker as I describe the life on the northeastern country border.
It takes a little over 4 hours to get to Lipka from Odrava by train, if you're lucky and catch one of the four trains from Nebrašov to Lipka on workdays (or the two on weekends.) The bus might be a better option after all - it takes you directly to the central square anyway. But still, why would you do that?
Lipka is a mere portrait of the dreary everyday reality that is life at the northeastern border. No, there isn't any conflict or crime going on - well exactly, there is literally nothing going on. Few job opportunities. Poor availability of services, from university education to healthcare. There are some businesses on the central square - which is literally named The Square - but the pawn shop, the convenience store and the sketchy second-rate pub are ultimately the most popular ones.
The population of okres Nebrašov is aging. That's no big surprise: when young people go to university, they stay in the city as it provides more lucrative career options, sometimes they visit home on the weekends but often not. Real estate prices in Lipka are tanking, almost 10 % of houses are empty or used as weekend houses. Oh, could tourism be the salvation for the struggling town? There is the chateau, the renaissance town hall and an overall well-preserved historical center, but again, so is in nearly every other town in the country. What also puts Lipka at disadvantage is the lack of fast transport connections.
And so we have the government pumping money into regions like this, but it's a treatment of the symptoms, not the problems. New sidewalks are nice and the revitalized park is pretty, but it won't fix the fact that over a third of the residents are 60+ years old. Paint is peeling from the church wall in Lipka - is He there? He doesn't seem to answer. There is no god in Lipka.
Comments are v welcome
but while you're there, enjoy the colorful autumn foliage