All the leaves are brown (leaves are brown...)

Trip Start May 23, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mood: revitalised

Cesky has been exactly what I needed. This place is just wow. Really special. Lately travelling has been exhausting me, leading up to the 5 month mark I have been well in need of some break time, just to be and feel normal again, to hang out, take things a little slower. Cesky Krumlov was my answer. As it was a half stop on a busabout day, me and Allison arrived in at lunchtime. The day was shaping up to be a perfect one - it was almost t-shirt weather! We were pumped.
Cesky looks like something out of a postcard. The picturesque little town features a castle and tower as its centrepiece, with little red-roofed houses built into the sides of the hills, and a meandering river winding its way lazily through. The hills surrounding look like a painting, covered in lush grass, and forests turning from green to red and gold. It's amazing.
We met up with Lucy, who had already been here for 2 days, and wandered around the town. It didn't take very long, as its quite tiny and there isn't much to see, so we had a sandwich in a deli near the hostel, and then hiked for half an hour up this bloody hill to Tescos to buy groceries to cook a family dinner - this was the first hostel in ages to have a kitchen and the 3 of us were CRAVING fresh veggies! When we got back we hung out at the outside tables in the sunshine and chatted and played cards with some of the other busabout-ians, and we finally ate the wheel of cheese that Allison and I invested in on our bike tour of Amsterdam. It had been stinking out her bag now for the last 2 weeks! Funny stuff. For me anyway.
When it started getting dark and cold we made our dinner - chicken curry with rice and heaps and heaps of vegetables. It was so needed and so good. Europeans, especially in the north, do not seem to consume much veggies, at least they don't get served with a restaurant meal, and if they do, it's usually just potato, never anything of substance.
The hostel here is really cool. The guys that run it are hilarious hippies, and each room has a different name eg. The 3 Amigos (3 bed dorm), Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs (8 bed dorm) and ours - the Family Room - a 16 bed dorm. It's up in the loft, all single beds, with angled roofs and huge exposed timber beams. It's huge, and by far my favourite hostel room to date. It's just too cool to explain! And it was full of people, which made it even more fun. We felt like we were orphans in an orphanage, and every so often someone would break out in song with 'the sun will come out tomorrow' or something else from the Annie movie. All through the hostel are doorways and rooms, split levels, it's so random that you feel like your going to get lost. And it's even functioned a little like a poor orphanage, sometimes we had no toilet paper, and the light in the toilet didn't work so you would be in complete darkness. It just added to the whole atmosphere and I found it amusing rather than annoying.
After dinner we took over the tiny TV area, and watched my all time favourite movie - Napoleon Dynamite. Seriously, I was in heaven. I have missed him so much! I will never tire of watching him. So as you can imagine, I went to bed as happy as Larry. And since then, all we have been doing is quoting lines from it!
The beds here are superbly comfortable and I had the best nights sleep, waking up yesterday to another beautiful clear autumn day. Had pancakes with fresh fruit and yogurt for breakfast, then we walked up to admire the castle. The tower was described to us as looking like a porcupine penis by one of the hostel guys. Now I don't know what a porcupine penis looks like, unfortunately I have never had the joy of witnessing one, so I will let you guys judge for yourselves. The only thing that disappointed me about the castle was that they have actually painted the fašade rather than built it, but it's still pretty and from a distance it looks real. The views however are gorgeous, as are the gardens. Lucy and I ended up losing Allison and Karlie, so we wandered through the forest, out to a little lake, tossed around some of the autumn leaves, and soaked up the amazing day, making the most of the thongs and t-shirt weather. God im loving having those bad boys back on again.
The castle also has bear pits, though the bears weren't feeling very social it seemed, as they didn't show their faces either time we walked past.
At 2pm a vanload of us girls headed upstream to partake in a pub crawl - but in a raft downstream. The only problem was that it is now October and officially no longer the peak season, so all the pubs that are usually open along the river are now closed, so instead we took a bottle of wine and shared it as we floated down. We were dropped off 12km upstream, given the rafts and oars, and then they just left us to figure the rest out for ourselves! We had 7 girls in our raft but only 5 paddles, so we had to master the art of 4 people rowing and one steering. The river was pretty low so we got caught on some rocks a few times, but we ended up doing a lot better than the other raft and made it back well before the others. The best fun was going down the little causeways as these act as mini rapids, though the hard bit is figuring out which part you are meant to go down as there are nice sloping ramps built for the rafts, but if you miss that there's a 4 - 6ft drop straight down instead, which does not look that appealing from above or below! Neverless, it was still good fun going down the ramps, the boat would fill up with water and we would slide off the rubber seats and get soaked arses, then using a bottle we would try and bail out the water, usually just finishing right before the next causeway, meaning we would have to repeat the process all over again! After a while we cut the top off the bottle which made it a lot quicker, but it was amusing more than anything! And luckily it was such a beautiful day that we weren't really that cold. I think we finished in a record 1.5hrs, though nearly struck tragedy when we almost took out a fly fisherman. We still couldn't steer very well. But it was a great avo out.
After hot showers, we went to the restaurant at the hostel as most of us were starving. I had a hot chocolate, and then a chicken burger, followed by berry crepes. I felt like such a fatty, but it was so good, and so cheap! The equivalent of 10€ for all that. Absolute bargain. I love the Czech Republic. We took over the lounge again and watched one of the Harry Potter movies last night, which ended up drawing a huge crowd. I think everyone was really enjoying having the time to chill out and be normal for once. We had another early night to bed as we were all pretty exhausted from our big rafting day.
I was so glad this morning as although we are getting picked up by the bus, it wont be here till 11.30am so we got to have a sleep in. usually we have to be ready to go at 7.30am in the main cities like Berlin and Prague. We went and got waffles with banana and honey for breakfast before. Mmmm. Im so not ready to leave this place, it's got the most magical quality and it's just beautiful. And im so glad I have got to see it before it gets totally over run by people. You all have to check out this place.

Oh yeah, and i think im going to permanantly have the 'all the leaves are brown' song stuck in my head. We have sung it the whole time we have been here. Cesky's theme song. Beautiful.
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