A Krumlov Pause
Trip Start Sep 09, 2013
24Trip End Dec 16, 2013
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Where I stayed
Hostel Krumlov House Cesky Krumlov
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Read my review - 5/5 stars
The train took us south and slightly west of Prague, into Bohemia 'proper.' Rolling hills under plough or harvest - groves of pine trees and then the alders and birch either turning gold or about to - familiar enough to most Canadians, especially anyone who has been to the central Alberta parkland, somewhere around Edson or Whitecourt. I wish we had more passenger trains in Canada - the clackety-clack and gentle shimmy of this form of travel is known to us, but still novel enough to make us kind of giddy, like kids piling into the back of a station wagon without seat belts
The names of the towns at each stop, so unfamiliar, and so difficult to pronounce: Dobříš (my attempt: "doh-brreets"), Strakonice ("strah-koh-nee-chay"), České Budějovice ("chesky boo-day-oh-vee-chay") - and my personal favourite - Černý Dub (something like "chair-ny dewb," but the second word shortened, maybe "chair-ny dwb").
Then we arrived at Český Krumlov, our destination, and I knew we had found someplace different... truly special. Here was a castle the likes of which I had never seen before - fairytale like, rounded and peaked - yet almost garish. Once upon a time the castle had been brightly painted, though it was now faded into a dappled wash. It overlooked a village where nothing seemed straight - not bridges, nor paths, nor roofs. Even the cobblestone streets were undulated and curved with age. I had to stoop and step down, at the same time, to enter doorways to pass through metre thick walls, as if they were really meant for Hobbits. Not quite Middle Earth, though, because it felt like Dr. Seuss could have been inspired here as much as Tolkien.
Our hostel epitomized the vibe, Krumlov House, with its wavy roofline and small but heavy wooden door, the skeleton key locks, the small windows set in thick walls - making it cramped but somehow cosy. My favourite place was a pub where we ate all our suppers - a medeival charmer called U Dwau Maryi ("Two Mary's") with dark, heavy tables and benches. Here, the server had to duck between chambers - not rooms - to deliver the meals, up or downstairs, from the kitchen which appeared to be a hole in the wall, right in the middle of the building
It was hard to leave Krumlov (as locals call it), where in that wondrous way, we felt so far from home. The drum had sounded. We had to go online and figure out which bus would take us away. We had to stuff our backpacks again and leave Krumlov House. We had to shuffle to the station and find that bus. We had to pick up the rhythm of travel again.
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