Czech-ing out Cesky Krumlov

Well, amid the fanfare of the new look, we need to finish up my Europe trip.  Here are the links to get you caught up:

Part I: Planning

Part II: Lake Bled, Slovenia

Part III: Hallstatt, Austria

Part IV: St. Gilgen, Austria

Which brings everyone up to speed.

Where to next?

I had a car, petrol, and no idea where to go after leaving the Salzkammergut.  I put my car on the autobahn and headed east for some reason.  And that’s when I remembered my roots.

I’m a mix of any pale sort of heritage you can imagine: English, Irish, Cloud, Ghost, Scottish, German, and especially I’m Czech.  So I dwelt on this for a bit and then remembered how close the Czech Republic is to Austria (just north).  Those of you who read the blog regularly know I’m not afraid of a drive, sooooo….

Crossing the Vltava

Cesky Krumlov

Cesky Krumlov

I love Rick Steves’s Europe shows.  It’s where I first heard about many European destinations, including Hallstatt and Lake Bled, and it’s where I do quite a bit of research about what to do on my trips.  I remember quite a few years ago seeing a town with a really fun name on it in the Czech Republic called Cesky (pronounced “chess-key”) Krumlov (pronounced “Krumlov”).  To me it sounded like an adjective or how you’d describe a buddy: “I tell you what, that guy is one Cesky Krumlov!”  Yeah yeah I know, it doesn’t make sense.

Anyway, what Rick Steves said about Cesky Krumlov was that it was an intact city with lots of central European charm, away from the hustle and bustle of Prague (pronounced “Andy this joke is getting old”).  Aside from that, I actually didn’t recall much of what he said about it.  What I guessed was it had a town center and that I could probably find my way around, despite not learning Czech before my trip.  So I set my car’s GPS towards Cesky Krumlov and got down to business.

About two hours later, I arrived to a cloudy medieval-looking city.  The centre of town is hugged closely by the Vltava River (pronounced “river”), which some of you may recognize is also the main river running through Prague.  The town felt a lot to me like Salzburg, especially once I made it into the centre of town.

I made my way to the town square and was reminded of Prague by: the hills.  There are sharp inclines and declines here, so be sure to wear great shoes when you visit.

A church sitting atop a hill

A church sitting atop a hill

The town square eventually emerged from the narrow walkways and greeted me with colorful buildings and statues and monuments with really thorough descriptions written in Czech (so I have no idea what they said).

Big ol' monument (note: not actual name of monument)

Big ol’ monument (note: not actual name of monument)

I had some lunch in a restaurant near the town square and was sure to have some of the original Budweiser beer (called Budvar in the USA).  Most people don’t know that Budweiser is originally a Czech name, and there’s quite a bit of lawsuit-flinging across the Atlantic Ocean to force the return of the trademark to the Czech company, located only about 45 minutes northeast of Cesky Krumlov.

Afetr lunch, I decided to make my way to more hills the castle.  It was a fairly large complex and was designed by graphic designers I think.  Why do I think that?  Check out this wall below.

Cool-looking bricks, right?

Cool-looking bricks, right?

The brickwork looked great.  Certainly very intrica….wait.  A closer look was needed.

IT'S FLAT!

IT’S FLAT!

There were many buildings like this (check the next image for another example).  I thought it was a cool effect, and it was obviously believable, seeing as I fell for it.

The castle in Cesky Krumlov

The castle in Cesky Krumlov

Walking to the castle

Walking to the castle

After walking around the castle for a bit I decided to make my way back to the car for my departure back to Austria.  I had a long day of driving the next day and wanted to rest up.

On my way back to the car, I grabbed a few more pictures.

I then noticed the great door to the Gorilla Pub.  I loved the things that were prohibited.

Pub door

Pub door

In other words, they were saying “Hey, please leave your drugs, guns, and Communist leanings outside.  AND BY GOLLY YOU BETTER NOT BE WEARING A TIE”

Anyway, I just sampled Cesky Krumlov.  I liked my time there and look forward to going back.  Like most of the Czech Republic there are layers and layers of history to sift through, which is to the joy of those who make the effort.  I didn’t do it justice here, but I was really hoping you all would appreciate even just a glimpse (however brief) of what I think is a pretty cool town.

As I was driving back, listening to Achy Breaky Heart by Miley Cyrus’s father Billy Ray (laughing at the lasting popularity of that song in Europe), the sun waned in the sky, casting its light across green fields.  I wrote that really poetically, but truthfully I just thought the light made everything look like the Windows XP default desktop background.

Czech Fields

Czech Fields

I made my way back into Austria and prepped for my drive across Germany the next day (meaning: I had a beer at a local restaurant).  As I lay down to sleep, I was really thankful for the chance to spend a day in the land of my ancestors.  My pale, pale ancestors.

 

STAY TUNED for a surefire winner of a post about the best flight I’ve ever taken, along with another great giveaway!

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for this, Andy. Very entertaining.

    Reply
  2. Wonderful place! I definitely recommend to book a private tour, it is worth the time and money. My recommendation is http://www.lucytours.com, had a great tour with them!

    Reply

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