Day 4 – we arrive in Cesky Krumlov

On our last morning in Prague, we arose early and packed up our things–we were heading out of the city to Cesky Krumlov, a small town in the south of the Czech Republic that is considered to be a must-see attraction.  We were taking a Student Agency bus, which is not only faster than the train, but cheaper–a whopping 6.5 Euros (or about 8 bucks) for a 3 hour ride.  We decided to skip breakfast in order to save time, since the bus left at 9 am, and grabbed a tram down to the bus station.

Klutz that I am, an accident happened while I was crossing the station road. I tripped over a dip in the concrete and went sprawling on my hands and legs.  Pat was watching the luggage and couldn’t immediately get to me, but a very kind Czech woman and man helped me get up. By that time, Pat had made her way over and the four of us helped me limp along to the right platform. I knew I would be sore later–I could feel the pain in my right thigh where I had landed–but hoped that it wouldn’t spoil the rest of the trip.

The bus ride was very pleasant–they served us cappuccino and gave us headsets to listen to the movie on board (the third Harry Potter movie–luckily, there was a choice of languages so we weren’t relegated to listening in dubbed Czech).  We drove through some very pretty Czech countryside and finally got into Cesky Krumlov around noon.

At that point, I realized that I had no map of Krumlov and had not the faintest idea of where our hotel was.  I had emailed myself directions using Google maps, but was having problems accessing it.  I did know the address, so we decided to start walking in the direction of where I thought the town was. After walking for 10 minutes and not seeing anything resembling an old town, we stopped and tried to figure out what to do.

Pat suggested a cab, but I irritably pointed out that there was no cab in sight and we should just start walking.  As soon as the words were out of my mouth, Pat starting waving and jumping up and down.  Lo and behold, a taxi appeared and pulled up in front of us.  Pat insisted that it was sent from God.  I declined to comment…

Pension Anna in Cesky Krumlov

Gift from God or no, it miraculously got us to our hotel on Rooseveltova–the Pension Anna–and for only 100 crowns.  The pension was very nice; clean and attractive and very quiet, with attractive window boxes filled with pink geraniums. We quickly settled in and then walked into town, about 5 minutes away.

I think our jaws started dropping as we crossed the bridge and saw the incredible vista before us.  Krumlov, which dates back to the 13th century, has one of the most intact medieval centers around. It nestles in the beds and turns of the Vitalva River, which flows all around the historical center.  Above the town, sitting on a cliff overlooking Krumlov is a majestic medieval castle.  We felt like we were walking through centuries past.

Cesky Krumnlov

We first stopped at the information center, in the main square, to get a town map, then headed down the twisty windy streets.  We were desperately hungry and had a couple of names of places I had found online.  One, called the KRCMS v Satlavski, offered a selection of medieval foods cooked over an open fire.  It sounded promising so we stopped in and proceeded to have one of the best meals ever.  We each ordered the mixed grill, which consisted of a piece of chicken, beef and pork grilled over the fireplace (we could actually see the process), and served with potatoes and sour cream, and the best potato pancake I have ever had. Coupled with a beer, it was the perfect meal.

After our meal, Pat and I split up.  I went into a few shops looking for gifts for Bjorn (he will have his first birthday while I am gone) and other odds and ends, but mostly I just meandered, which the town is made for.  Later on, Pat and I met up for coffee and apple strudel on on a restaurant located on the banks of the Vitalva.  Coffee tastes better with a view like this.  After that, we walked back to our hotel to freshen up and regroup.

The castle at night

Castle tower

Unfortunately, we found out that the castle was closed on Monday, but that the courtyards were open to the public all night.  So in the evening, we walked up the hill and found ourselves the only people around.  It was truly a magical evening as we wandered through the stone corridors of the castle courtyards (the place is gigantic–second only to Prague Castle in size) and peered out through openings in the stone walls upon the village that lay below us.  The castle tower is a beautiful work of art, with rich colors and detailed illustrations, and as we walked under the tower and through the high arched hallways, we could almost feel like we had stepped back in time.

The castle walls above town

We ended the evening in a local pub called the Hospoda Na louzi, which my sister, Sally, had recommended. The place was jamming and was packed with loud, beer-swigging young people but we enjoyed the atmosphere. The pub was worth it for the beer alone – Eddington’s, from a local brewery – but the food was very tasty, too.  I had roast duck with dumplings and Pat ordered sirloin stuffed with ham and cheese.  I’ve had more meat in the last week than I’ve had this entire summer!  We shared a table with a couple from Munich, so I got to practice my German.  They seemed impressed, but I’m sure they were being polite, as my German is certainly not extensive.

After the meal, we slowly headed back to the Pension Anna to get some sleep and pack up for our trip the next morning.  Once we got back, we snacked a bit on a monstrous bar of chocolate that Pat bought that day (and a beer that I got at a local grocery) and finally hit the hay.

Oh, I should mention that my leg is now black and blue and is swollen, but the pain is decreasing.  I also bought some gel insoles for my shoes (on Pat’s advice) and it has made a world of difference.  I love my Naots but I think they are too old to be really comfortable.

Goodbye, Cesky Krumlov!

Tomorrow – on to Munich, Germany!

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