Knights, Rivers, and Castles, Oh My!

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

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Yesterday was fantastic! We slept in until 10 am and didn't get out of the hostel until 11:30ish. We explored the town for a bit in the bright sunshine and worked our way up to the castle of Cesky Krumlov. A beautiful tower of the castle looks over the town, covered in paintings. As we looked around the castle, we found something slightly odd. It seemed that, in the building of the castle, they didn't quite have the funds to match it up to the sculptured buildings from the Czech capital of Prague. It seemed like the planners had the bright idea of 'Hey, we'll just paint all of the statues and columns on and no one will notice!'. The entire castle was covered in paintings of statues and columns but didn't actually have any on the grounds.

We walked up the tower for the view over Cesky Krumlov and watched rafters go down the river that runs through the town. Our wonderings continued up to the castle gardens, up hill behind the castle, and to a revolving theatre stage. Apparently the seating stand rotates, allowing the actors to use the theatre stage, and the park grounds behind the stage, as their acting grounds.

We wandered past a beautifully carved fountain and through the sculpted garden, stumbling upon a tent set up that turned out to be a medieval show that started thirty minutes later. We figured 'why not', so we bought tickets and went in to see the show. It was two hours of cheesy medieval fantastic! There was a heck of a lot of talking in Czech, but we caught the jist of it. There was three good knights and three bad knights and a princess that they were trying to win over. Evil knight leader dude (we assume it was him) thought to make a jousting tournament out of the whole thing, so on with the show. There were lots of pages running around everywhere setting up all sorts of stuff. The knight guys did a bunch of stunts involving being able to hit stuff while riding by on horse back (hit stuff with swords, throwing axes, throwing spears, snatching rings on lances, hitting one of those spinning dummies and seeing how many times it spins, and even shooting a bow and arrow). Then they went on to jousting and sword fighting. It was all very epic.

Our favourite was the evil henchman with the neanderthal brow. Most of the kiddies either liked the long blonde haired good guy knight or the troubled but heroic prince knight that was trying to win over fair maiden. The guys were actually really good on horse back and did some of the stuff quite fast. Hair pin turns on their horses and really good at hitting their targets. In the end, good triumphed and Dan cynically thought that it had all been set up from the start. Gabrielle and all of the children scoffed at this idea. Surely not!
We finished off the show and had enough time to hurry down for a quick raft around the river that cuts through down town Cesky Krumlov. Dan decided to put his bathing suit on, but Gabrielle stayed in her clothes because she was sure it was dry. (You can see where this is going). Gabrielle suggested that Dan sit in the back because he was better at steering, so we climbed in our two person raft and set off. It started out fairly dry, and all was well. It turned out that there were drops long the river where artificial waterfalls had been made. Small chutes were on the sides of them for rafts to go down, so we headed in! Gabrielle got soaked. Dan stayed dry in the back. Not that she was bitter. Continuing down the river, we looked around at the beautiful scenery... and then there was another chute.

We had a good time down the rest of the river and went back to the hostel to change into dry clothes. We cooked up a hearty dinner and chilled out for a bit in our room. We had heard through the grapevine that a funk band was playing a bar in town, and that the last few bands who had played in the place where really good, so we headed down and met up with a few other people from the hostel. The place ended up being absolutly packed out, and the band rocked the house. The manager, and sometimes rapper, was a big black guy named Henry D. and was wearing a red baseball cap, slightly off to the side, with a big G on it. Looked like he belonged in the heart of the Bronx rather than a small bar in the Czech Republic, but his Czech was really good and he did an awesome job of getting the crowd going. The 9 Piece Band plus singer and Henry D. were packed into a small corner of the bar and the volume was a bit deafening, but the music was fantastic and we danced the night away.

Today we had to switch hostels, due to over booking, but we settled in a nice one and just prowled around the shops in the quiet morning. We spent most of the day travel planning for Austria and Poland and managed to find an English Eastern Europe guide! (A book! not a person!) We head off for Austria tomorrow, but we've loved this part of the Czech Republic so much that we have arranged to possibly come back and work in a hostel here in October.

We hope life is treating you all this well wherever you are in the world.

All our best from the Czech Republic

Dan and Gabrielle
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