Tubin' down the Vltava River

Trip Start Apr 12, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Cesky Krumlov had won my heart, and after four fantastic days livin the medieval life, i couldnt help but feel a little sad at the fact that this was my last full day livin the medieval mead-swilling life. But i would be back, that was for sure. Maybe not today, maybe not tommorow....but some day.

Anyway, last night at the uber 80's metal Horror Bar, Mike, the yankee ladies and myself agreed that we should all hightail it down the Vltava river today in either a giant raft, or individual tubes. Round these parts, floating down the river is pretty much THE thing to do, as it swirls right through the guts of the town, along a number of little ports and pitstops for additional supplies and merriment. We also agreed that, it being American Independence Day, we should blow something up, or at very least set fire to a range of inanimate objects.

As i mentioned in my last post, that 3am horror bar sausage was a poor judgement on my part, still digesting the bastard as i woke up this morning, feeling horribly bollocked and bleary eyed with a demonic red tinge. I was no sight to behold, but indeed, a sight to keep away from. With no signs of life from the yanks, or Mike, i assumed i had been left behind and missed the call for river rafting, so, slowly - very very slowly, i got my head together via a balltearingly muddy pot of plunger coffee, and strummed some soothing guitar as the sunny Cesky morning elapsed. Got my affairs in order, via some internet time and a few phone calls, and completed my usual routine of trundling aimlessly around the town square and its labrynthine laneways.

In the later afternoon, i moseyed down to the river to the bank where the Vltava splits, and two rapid streams of water flank a small stretch of island. There, i parked and sunbaked in the medieval sun, reading, writing, chilling and taking in the final moments of this wonderful location. Suddenly a bevy of female voices were yelling my name from the direction of the river, the yank chicks all shacking up in a giant raft going hammer and tongs full pelt down the river with limited control of their vessel. Mike was nowhere to be seen, so i assume he was in an even worse state than i was. As the afternoon was reduced to a mere glint of daylight, i walked back through town and met up with Mike at the hostel, where we agreed that the time was ripe for tubing! It was 'big kev' exciting!

Lugging two enormous black tubes down to the riverbank, we landed our respective arses in the centre of these bad boys, beers in hand, and kicked back as the natural flow of the Vltava swirled us around and down through the guts of the main town, past sun-glossed white churches and terracotta pitched medieval buildings, through shady trees blowing in the wind, and people perched on the riverbank enjoying their pints and kicking the afternoon back. As i lay back in my tube like it was a LazyBoy recliner, beer perched in my left hand, i saluted random restaurant patrons and bar-goers along the riverbanks, exuding a casual arrogance that made them grin and 'cheers' me back. It was sensational. Coming up to the first rapid, my bum skidded along the concrete incline, and got cleaned up by the whitewash at the end of the slide, knocked out of the tube, into the drink, yet managed to salvage my only beer with a fierce left arm thrusting it safely in the air. Mike was not so fortunate, and lost his beverage in the river. The second set of rapids were even more intense than the first, so i knocked back the beer before i went down, and somehow, both of us managed to ride that bad boy AND stay in our tubes, much to the fervent applause of the random tourists and locals standing afoot the bridge over the river and the lookout points to on the left. Top o' the world!

After a hihgly successful negotiation of the Vltava river rapids, Mike and i pulled in to his favourite drinking spot Two Marys, the Bohemian joint where we feasted last night. Pulling our tubes into dock, we walked a few metres to the grassy area and wet our whistles with some chilled celebratory pints on the house. Got talking to a few groovy-lookin skater types, tattoos and an air of 'cool' about them, eventually discovering that they were the organisers of this enromous skate festival happning in Prague on the weekend. We were pretty certain these cats were professional skaters themselves, but i have no idea who they were. Mike and I parked on the river ledge, and talked entertaining crap about our lives back home in Melbourne that made us both laugh, how we looked forward to being back at that wonderful city, recounting old stories of the good times. We shared a fantastic afternoon on this wonderful day, taking in the last of the Czech sun with a couple of beers. I tells ya, it was a pretty awesome way to end the Cesky Krumlov experience, and one which i will never forget.

We lugged the tubes back up to the hostel, got ourselves ready to head back out, returning to the Bohemian joint for a 'rabbit feast' (served on chopping block), and sharing some good conversation with Sarah, an Aussie from brisvegas, and Lucie, the Czech hostel chick. A few shots of becherovka, a few more beers, and the night fell upon the castle tipped skyline. Always a sucker for punishment, i agreed to accompany the others to the Horror Bar around the corner, where they were pumping out the same metal playlist as last night. The two Irish girls staying up at the hostel came down to join up, as well as Alex the Sorority girl, and another 'quiet' evening had turned into the polar opposite of what i'd originally intended. Pints kept getting pulled - i stupidly thanked the goth metal barchick each time she took away my empty pint glass with a friendly nod, eventually finding out that this indicated that i wanted another one. I nodded a few too many times.

Anyway, it was another fantastic day in Krumlov, the perfect nightcap to a sensational day of vltava tubin'. I gave Mike a warm farewell, agreed to catch up back in Brunswick St when we both return to the lucky country, and walked the now familiar route back through the cloistered, darkened streets of this fairytale medieval town. It was going to be tough to leave my old China Krumlov....but new and wilder things lay ahead in this crazy journey.
Tomorrow....london via Austria.
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