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Published: October 8th 2014
"In utero" by David Cerny, 2012
This sculpture is in a small square one block from our apartment on Masna St in Old Town Prague.
By luck we chose the right time for a rest day in the beautiful castle town of Cesky Krumlov. We stayed in a B&B in a 500 year old house built into the rock with a magnificent room overlooking the Vltava River, which winds around the old town there, way upstream of Prague. It poured rain for much of the day, but we did not have to ride the bikes, and everything in town is within very easy walking distance. We enjoyed the castle, touring only the Baroque theater, which is only one of two in Europe that still has the old mechanical mechanisms for changing sets and creating sound effects, very interesting. We also enjoyed the ambiance of the old town and the tour of the Josef Seidel house and studio, which provided an interesting look at early photography, both the techniques (how they made prints before the town got electricity) and the documentation of the people and places in that part of Bohemia in the old days.
Two long, hilly days of biking north towards Prague completed our cycling. We rode in and out of dark woods where you can imagine the origins of fairy tales with witches
and big, bad wolves. The Central Bohemia countyside is beautiful and also very hilly. Fall has definitely arrived so that the cold of the mornings lingers even past noon, if it warms up at all. The country towns are quiet and sometimes interesting, as in our serendipidous discovery of an area of so-called "rural Baroque" architecture that even has its own greenway as part of the Czech cycle route system. We overcame minor road blockages caused by bridge reconstruction and Czech logging practices on woodland trails. We decided to end the cycling at Benesov, a short train ride from Prague. Our mileage for the entire trip was 987.6 (just to be precise). Close enough to call it a thousand mile ride, and a great one at that.
In Prague we are staying in a very comfortable studio apartment in the Old Town, obtained through Prage City Apartments, which we highly recommend. Great location, quiet, a place to cook when we want, and good access to restaurants, stores, and the sights we missed last time. The Castle District, including St Vitus Cathederal, the Kafka Museum, The Museum of Bohemian and Central European Medieval Art, all great. So's hanging out in
Example of Rural Baroque architecture in Komarov, south of Tabor
This style dates from the late 19th-early 20th centuries. Current residents are rennovating these houses to the original look. One of the Greenway bike trails focuses on this arrea and architecture.
the Old Town Square, catching some more great street musicians, standing in the Wenceslas Square where the 1968 Prague Spring uprising was put down and the 1989 Velvet Revolution succeeded, and shopping for Czech glass, jewelry, and music.
Also, to mollify some of Cousin Todd's concerns about my (Kit) earlier remarks about the local beer, I want to state clearly that the Bohemian pilsners are great. My favorites are Ferdinand (brewed in Benesov and hard to find in Prague) and Pilsner Urquel (very common throughout the country, but still great). These are a bit hoppier than the other Pilsners, which is probably why I like them better. I don't like Budweiser Budvar as well, but it's fine. I will stay away from the question of whether or not it's the Czech version of our Budweiser and just say that I am very happy that the Czechs have not allowed Anheuser-Busch to buy out that company and take over the rights to the name in ths area.
There's a lot more to say about this trip. Despite a few difficulties, we recommend both the Danube and the Greenway for long distance cycle trips. As is always the case, we
learned a lot about ourselves and each other doing this one. We also learned a lot of history, which is always easier to absorb when you are physically where things happened. You could write a lot, and maybe we will some time, about victims, heros, and villians. Certainly, the opportunity to be present where some of the horrors of the Holocaust and of Communism happened provided a lot to think about and a new lens through which to view current events. Being here and talking to people who have lived through and after this part of history helps illuminate some of the nuances as well. The Czech-German realationship, for example, is complex, and it's impossible to see one group as the victim and one as the villian. Similarly, our Hungarian-Jewish guide at the Budapest Synagogue clearly expressed some responsibility as a Hungarian for some of things done to the Jewish people by her country. We need to remember that many of these issues are not all black or all white, except when it comes to treating our fellow human beings like fellow human beings. The memorials at the Budpest Synagogue to the people who opposed the Nazi atrocities remind us
View from the Cesky Krumlov castle
Our pension was the red one just past the white one on the right bank of the river.
that sometimes great courage is required to accomplish this. Have we made progress in that area over the centuries? Maybe, maybe not, but being here sure helps you think about it.
Thanks for joining us in our travels. We are headed home early tomorrow morning with happy memories and happy anticipation of being reunited with family and friends.
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