Trip to Cesky

Trip Start Apr 04, 2007
Trip End Oct 22, 2007

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Today involved all of the real glamour of travel. We spent the morning packing up and getting ready to head out to Cesky Krumlov, another UNESCO town in southern Czech Republic that has taken off in the last few years as a tourist destination, mainly known for its general beauty and relaxing atmosphere. We left early for the bus station, not wanting to miss another bus, and ended up waiting in line with all of our bags draped around us for ages. When we finally reached the ticket person he wouldn't sell us any tickets. Through the very limited English and much gesticulating we think it was because it was all sold out, but he told us to go to the bus so we went and asked there. The bus driver spoke no English but through more gesticulating we gathered there weren't any free seats. Right, so no bus then. Hadn't thought of that.

Fortunately, Dan still had a map of Prague in his pocket so we made a mad dash for the train station. More line waiting, Broken English, and gesticulating later, we managed to hop on a train, five minutes before it departed, headed in the general direction of Cesky Krumlov with vague assurances that we could connect to another train that would get us there. The train cars had compartments, most of which were very full, but we managed to find one with only two other young Czech guys in it and they didn't speak a word to us or to each other the entire trip. The compartments reminded us of the movie 'Eurotrip' and he half expected a sleazy Italian guy to come in and assault us every time we entered a tunnel.

The train ride took ages. We arrived at the end stop of our current train after the bus would have gotten us to Cesky Krumlov and we still had a ways to go. We found out that the next train to Cesky Krumlov wasn't for another hour. Dan made a drink run to the Czech mall across the street and Gabrielle set up a bag fort on the train station floor. Refreshed, and a little less sweltery from the heat, we went to board our train. Turned out the 'train' was a small collection of old, rickety, tiny cars strung together by whatever they scrounged up from the scrap heap. We stuff ourselves in the sauna boxes and headed out for what we hoped was Cesky Krumlov with mostly locals packed in beside us. The train headed off at a massive speed of 5 km an hour, stopping every few feet to let other trains pass or to let other passengers off... and to check if the train still had all of its 3 cars still attached to each other or to themselves. What should have been a half hour trip took an hour and a half and landed us at the farthest point from our hostel in (FINALLY) Cesky Krumlov.

We stumbled out of the train and found out that a brother and sister from New Zealand, and an Aussie girl (who were all traveling together), had been in a similar predicament as us one car back, and were staying in the same hostel as us. We were all feeling pretty beat and decided to give in and hail a cab. The Aussie girl used her cell phone to call a taxi number that was plastered on a sign at the train station. She came back with a 'I think we'll have a cab in 10 minutes...' so after 10 minutes came and went we were getting a bit skeptical. Just our luck that a few minutes later, right as we were thinking of actually taking the 30 min hilly walk into town with all of our stuff, a cab pulled up to drop a guy off at the train station. Dan quickly secured his services and he took the New Zealanders and the Aussie first, promising to come back for us. We admit that, by this point, we had our doubts, but he came back in pretty good time and raced off to drop us at the hostel.

We were staying at 'Krumlov House', a hostel that was recommended by our guidebook and online. On the door was a huge, carved wooden dragon eating its own tail. We walked in to find a cute little hostel and a very quirky reception guy named Ryan (originally from Australia) who showed us up to our room, which had beds for 3 people in it but we had it all to ourselves! We quickly proceeded to skater our things everywhere and put on some much needed laundry.

It was quite late at this point and we were starving so we headed out for dinner. Through a recommendation from Ryan, we wandered the streets until we found a place called the 'Two Mary's'. We had to wait for a table for a bit but when we ordered drinks and were seated shortly after on picnic like tables outside by the river. We shared a table with a Czech couple (who spoke no English so that conversation was short lived) and an Aussie woman who was traveling alone. We ended up talking travel with her throughout our whole meal and had some good laughs over the absolutely beautiful food. We decided to go all out, so we each ordered a spiced mead (almond and cinnamon) and their 'Bohemian Platter' which looked to offer a good selection of Czech food. The platter came out on a massive plate with which we were supposed to dish from, but we didn't end up using our own plates. We dug into the mounds of food, including spiced potatoes, a massive salad, dumplings (real Czech ones), fritters of some sort (it was delicious anyway), and a mash that was equally mysterious and delicious, as well as pheasant. The meal was fabulous, and we devoured the entire huge plate. The strong mead topped the whole thing off perfectly, and we left there carrying our pleasantly full bellies and slightly cotton wool heads.

We're looking forward to a beautiful day tomorrow, our brief peak of Cesky Krumlov holds heaps of promise and places to explore, and a very laid back feel.

All our best from the Czech Republic

Dan and Gabrielle
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