Published: May 27th 2012May 13th 2012
This town appeared out of the trees as a picturesque storybook place complete with castles and tiny tall white houses with orange tilled roofs. I was already in love before I had walked over the quaint bridge we had to cross to get to our hostel. The hostel actually looked like it belonged to the castle complex, I was pretty excited about our new home for the next 2 nights. It was the last bus tour with Joel, my favourite guide so far and just before he left he told us that the hostel used to be a hospital for lepracy and was actually haunted. As I have already lived in a very old minor's cottage with my own resident ghost this didn't bother me, but some of the others were a little concerned. This ghost apparently perches in the rafters in the upstairs room in his hooded gown as he was so upset by the death in his ward. Understandable really! I was sleeping in the room where the hostel owner had heard a mother talking to her baby as it was crying loudly. Don't know about this story though, the hostel owner also told us he
was able to help us with anything we needed, as long as he wasn't stoned. Haha
Our first stop was lunch at the hostel deli where I had a most delicious turkey, brie and cranberry toasted sandwich which was so delicious. I had some yum banana cake for dessert. Mum, just to confirm, it's not as good as yours! We went for a wander down the cobble stone streets to check out the local shops before booking ourselves in for a one hour horse ride in the Cesky hills. I had made 2 new friends, Beckie and Nolene who were also up for horse riding...especially as it was only 12 euros! We got a taxi to drive us out and met Archie, my horse, Bonnie (gelding) who was Beckie's horse and Nolene got the new horse. Nolene and I could already ride but Beckie was new so we all took it slow. Our guide didn't really speak english so we got to know eachother riding out of the stables into the hills overlooking the town. I had a Julie Andrews/Maria Von Trappe moment in a huge field filled with long grass and dandylions. Beckie and I even started singing
the song so I knew I had met kindred spirits. We were surprised and very excited to see wild deer cross our paths on the road up the pine forrest. I tried to take photos but they were a little fuzzy in my excitement. We had a trot and a canter through various parts of our little trek and I was pretty proud of Beckie to get through it all as a newbie. We got back very excited to our hostel and decided to rug up in our wintery gear (it was freezing) and explore the town. It was full of quaint shops with kitchy gifts and souvineers, check out the pics of the funny items we found. :-)
We stopped at a gingerbread store and tried pear brandy in a shot of 50% alcohol....after this we were warm from the tips of our fingers to our toes....wow it was strong. We also bought gingerbread cake and biscuits to nibble. The entrance was pretty impressive as there was a bear pit on either side of the entrance bridge. They weren't very social though, the bears are symbolic of Cesky Krumlov as protectors of the castle and lands. The palace
gardens were amazing, we spent half an hour gushing over the hedge rows, fountains and generally beautiful views. By this time we were ready for a pit stop and drink break so we headed to the local bar on the corner which happened to be one of the best in town. Our bartender even shared with us a taste of a locally made special brew made from nuts. He also showed us where to go for dinner for good local food. We then headed back to the hostel to put even more layers of clothes on before heading off to try authentic bohemian food which was still made with traditional recipes. We were also told to sample the traditional drink, honey mead. Our table was at the bottom of the castle, just over the bridge looking up at the tower and castle complex. We had the pleasure of sitting outside next to the heater and listened to the river as it gurgled by. Luckily the waitress also gave us blankets to keep warm so we added yet another layer....are you understanding how freezing it was at this point?! Haha We ordered cabbage, potato and daisy soup to warm us up before diving into the bohemia feast which was 2 pieces of marinated chicken, a potoato patty with veges, smoked ham, corn cakes with veges and a salad. Our eyes were definately bigger than our bellies! It was delicious! The honey mead was also extremely potent and had a great warming effect. I had read about meade in historial novels and thought it was a type of beer but it is more like a warm honey wine, but more alchoholic. By the time I finished my 2nd glass (we had shared a litre between 3) I was giggling like a schoolgirl and was quite wobbly. Being someone who normally doesn't drink at all this was quite a laugh. We stubbled home but met the country boys and Canadians on the way who (easily) convinved us that we needed one more drinK. We headed off to the local for a few more laughs before bed. Jared (my rooomate) suggested I was snoring....but I don't believe that! Haha
The next day we wandered around town and explored the shops. I found my souvineer, an aquamarine and garnet ring. We ate a savory and dessert crepe (or crap as Glynn, our token Englishman pronounced it) which was amazing. Food is a prominent feature of my trip, if you aren't a foodie, I apologise for the repeated food discussions, but eating is truely a highlight of my travels. The Canadians had decided to do a bbq for dinner so we decided to tag onto their plans and headed off to get ingredients from the tesco which was supposedly only just up the road. After walking for 20mins we saw a sign that said it was another 800m away.... So we stopped instead at the local called saundlands. Cheese and crackers, capsicum and dip, sausages and rolls and salad and we were a go-a! We made the mistake of asking the girl in the shoe shop across the road where the toilets were. She very agressively told us "SAUNDLANDS!". We were a little taken back by her agressiveness so we looked at her blankly...so like in all countries she believed that the louder you speak in your own language, the better the tourists can understand you and started yelling at as "SAUNDLANDS! SAUNDLANDS!" We hot footed it out of her store before she took further action against us.
Our bbq was a success and the Canadians al, agreed we out bbq-ed them in food and presentation but we all shared and had a good laugh while swapping country music legends on our ipads/tablets. Canada won this round as my tablet wasn't loud enough and none of us could thing of new artists, only the classic artists who were a bit 'hick' in comparison. Haha A few more wines at the local finished off a great night. I loved Cesky and could have happily stayed a few more nights, it is a great place to relax, chill and enjoy the Cech Republic.