A little gem in the southern Bohemia

Published: March 8th 2017
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When I was planning our trip and deciding on a route we were going to take, Cesky Krumlov appeared on the list quite early on. It was recommended basically by all the guidebooks and I’m pretty sure I’ve read some good comments about it from the fellow bloggers as well. A lovely small town, beautifully located on the bend of the Vltava River, famous for its Old Town and its 300 medieval buildings, not to forget the castle overlooking the Old Town. I didn’t really need to know more to go there... So it came as a bit of a surprise to find out there were basically no direct connections from Salzburg to Cesky Krumlov – no trains or buses... The best connection, with multiple changes, would take us around 7 hours... that is if all went well of course... Yeah, we weren’t going to try any of that... Thankfully some private companies decided to close this gap in the market and offered shuttle services. Slightly more expensive option as we would need to buy a full price seat for Millie, but at least we would be in Cesky Krumlov in 3 hours rather than 7 and she would travel in a baby chair and not on our lap. We picked one of the companies, booked it online and were ready to cross into another country.

Our driver appeared to me as slightly odd... He was trying to be as casual as possible when chatting to us, trying to make some little joke here and there and yet it didn’t seem to work that well at all, it just felt like a lot of effort on his part and was totally unnecessary... To his credit, he was a pretty good driver though and I guess that was the most important part... Millie slept half of the trip and the other half of the trip she was being entertained by half of the van, yep! We weren’t the only ones trying to keep her occupied, a very friendly Korean couple was engaging in entertaining her as well! I was really thankful about that as when we crossed the border and started driving through the curvy Czech roads, all I could concentrate on was making sure the breakfast I ate this morning stayed in my belly... Survived the trip without making a mess thankfully!

As we were approaching Krumlov and started climbing up some steep streets just outside of the Old Town, I wondered which of the passengers would be dropped off here... who else but us of course! One thing when you book things online – it never tells you how steep it can be to get to your property, ah well... our legs would get some proper workout at least! 😊 The room wasn’t much but we weren’t planning on spending too much time there anyway, so we dropped our bags and off exploring we went!

The Old Town really was just a few steps away so down the hill we went, crossed the river and we were basically in the centre of it! There weren’t many people around, I wasn’t sure whether it was due to the approaching low season, a very overcast day or maybe it was just the time of the day? Too late for lunch but way too early for dinner as well... We loved it though! Actually the lack of tourists made the place even more desirable! We walked around the cobblestoned streets and were completely enchanted by this little town. It doesn’t take long to walk the Old Town from one side to the other, but that didn’t really matter as we could just circle around these streets for hours! Until it was time to eat something of course... Millie was the first one to remind us it was time to sit down somewhere and eat something... We found an interesting little restaurant serving Bohemian food just by the river – lovely view of the castle, prices very reasonable, food maybe not exactly amazing but not too bad either, very nice way to start our food adventure in the Czech Republic. We wandered around the streets a bit longer and treated ourselves to something sweet – a ‘trdelnik’. I treated myself to some trdelnik to be exact as Grant opted for a pint of beer instead – talking about priorities! I’m still confused where ‘trdelnik’ actually comes from – is it really Czech, Slovak or Hungarian? As each of the countries seems to think it’s their speciality... I guess it’s the same battle about who owns the dish as seen between many other countries – is it Australian or New Zealand pavlova? Russian or Polish barszcz or pierogi? I’d say definitely New Zealand and Poland but feel free to disagree... 😉

After picking up some unhealthy (oops!), but very cheap breakfast from the bakery – mini pizzas and donuts, why not? – we were ready for another day of exploring. Once again we wandered around the Old Town, admiring the beautiful architecture and in general watching the life go by... I was surprised to see so many people on kayaks – looks like Cesky Krumlov is not only about the Old Town but it has some adventurous aspect to it as well. It really is set in a beautiful spot and even though the river doesn’t look like the most exciting one to be rafting on, slowly going down the river on a kayak admiring the beautiful and tranquil scenery sure seems like a great idea to spend a day or two...

We walked up to the castle this time as well and fell even more for the town after seeing its beautiful panorama from up there. We walked through the castle, but decided to skip the interior, leaving it for later. I was slightly shocked when I saw a real bear walking through the moat... Why would you keep a bear here? As we found out later on it’s a long going tradition which the castle seems to be wanting to keep up no matter what... not too sure what to make of it to be honest... Might be the only thing about Cesky Krumlov that I don’t exactly agree with... We walked over the moat through a bridge and I couldn’t help but notice a very visual sign depicting a person basically being speared through trying to climb over the railing... and yet it didn’t stop some people climbing on the railing, trying to get the best shot of the bear... No imagination or plain stupidity? Maybe a little bit of both... Or am I really getting old(er)???

Enjoying the sun we walked around the same streets once again, noticing that there were quite a few people around in Krumlov after all – it looked like they were simply hibernating through overcast days. Still it wasn’t too crowded, just the right amount of people... After wandering around for a while we decided to stop for a bite to eat. We chose a pretty good spot, right opposite a small archery range – basically a girl with a few bows and crossbows trying to earn some coin
Tasting some specialities of Bohemian cuisine...Tasting some specialities of Bohemian cuisine...Tasting some specialities of Bohemian cuisine...

...and learning to make faces in between!
by letting the tourists have a go at her equipment. It was pretty entertaining seeing some couples giving it a try, especially some guys trying to impress their girls, picking the largest bows and then struggling to handle them... The meal wasn’t too bad either, so a really good spot after all. We also met our Korean friends from the van, they couldn’t be happier seeing Millie again and of course taking gazillion pictures of her with their fancy cameras – we even got two pictures right on the spot from their flash new polaroid. It always amazes me how ahead many Asians are when it comes to electrical equipment – cameras, phones, you name it! Whatever hits the market just has to be in their possession straight away! When I see that, it kind of makes me want to upgrade my camera as well as it certainly has seen better days... But then do I really need to upgrade? After all it’s still working – they did a pretty good job repairing it in Cambodia, it also takes decent pictures, so why spend money? That’s it... It looks like I talked myself out of it once again... And that
In Cesky Krumlov In Cesky Krumlov In Cesky Krumlov

Many buildings around, just like this one, had some old paintings restored which were covered with multiple layers of paint
was it for the day more or less, after walking a bit more, having a couple of beers and trdelnik of course, we called it a day.

On our last day in Cesky Krumlov we decided to join a free walking tour of the town. I always wanted to check out one of these tours and yet never really got into doing one after all. It was time to change that. The tour was supposedly available every day of the year. I had some serious doubts about it to be honest as who would’ve bothered running it in a super low season? W did come across a group of people with a guy in the red t-shirt a day before though, so it looked like we were on a good track. Double checked the time – we made an attempt on doing one of these tours in Vienna already, but mixed up the schedules a bit and in the end missed it... So this time we were well prepared. And as we were approaching the main square there was no doubt something was going to take place as a small group of people was gathered there already. Soon after a guy in a red T-shirt appeared and introduced himself as Ondřej, our guide. Quick introduction, waiting for a few more people to arrive and we were ready to explore Cesky Krumlov once again.

We truly enjoyed the tour, not only because we got to know the history of some of the places we didn’t really pay attention to on our previous walks, but also because of our guide. Ondrej was really friendly and I liked his way of storytelling – adding a few legends here and there to make things a bit more interesting. I really loved his accent as well, he apparently spent some time in the US so his English was perfect and yet he had a really Czech accent still. Some people are better in accents, some are a bit worse – I fall into the second group as well and as much as I would love to pass for a native English speaker, that’s just never going to happen, my accent will betray me on every step along the way... I would like to think that only makes me that little bit more interesting though... 😉 Ondrej’s accent definitely made him more interesting and the tour more authentic I’d say. I don’t know whether anyone found this little detail as interesting as I did though – Polish and Czech languages obviously derive from the same family of languages and yet they are quite different... I find especially the Czech intonation really fascinating... Kind of sounds as if they were singing a bit. Because of that I found listening to Ondrej not only very informative but quite entertaining as well.

At the end of the tour we had a small chat with some fellow Australians doing a biking tour through Europe – all the way from Denmark to Italy... That of course put some ideas in my head straight away – one day perhaps? What can I say... So much to see and do in this world... the possibilities are limitless! We gave Ondrej a tip, eyeing some other people from the group emptying their pockets from coins only – come on! But then maybe they didn’t enjoy the tour as much as we did? Ah well... Since Ondrej mentioned they had a special kind of beer brewed around here, smoky beer, it was time to give it a try! Only a few places around were selling this beer but we were lucky to have finished the tour right next to one of these spots – next to the castle on the terrace overlooking the town, couldn’t be a better location! The beer itself was alright, didn’t really blow out my senses and yet I would take it any day over lavender beer we tried in Tihany for sure! A few more stops for a drink here and there, wandering the narrow cobbled streets for the last time, watching groups of kids kayaking down the river as well as a group of tipsy lads (with a few kids on board!) having a water fight on the pontoons, followed by a bite to eat and it was time to say goodbye to Cesky Krumlov.

I was really happy we put this little town on our itinerary as we really had a lovely time during these few days here. Another part of Europe I would love to explore a bit more. You’d really need to travel the whole year around to be able to explore all these little spots more thoroughly though... Can we become real nomads and stay on the road without an end date in mind? I most certainly wouldn’t mind that at all... Might need to come up with a good source of income to keep the travelling going first... For now we were ready to move to our next destination and a last stop before heading back to Elblag on this leg of the trip – off to Czech’s capital... I have to say I was a bit sceptical about this one after reading a few blogs and seeing how swarmed with tourists the city was... It was coming to the end of summer season though... maybe it wouldn’t be that bad after all? Next stop: Prague!

Additional photos below
Photos: 56, Displayed: 31


Walking around the castle grounds in Cesky KrumlovWalking around the castle grounds in Cesky Krumlov
Walking around the castle grounds in Cesky Krumlov

Amazed how symmetrical they wanted to keep everything - to the point they even added a few fake windows here and there!

8th March 2017

Looking forward to a visit ...
Loved your blog on Cesky, Anna and now looking forward to our visit even more, a bit later in the year. We just love wandering the quaint, cobbled streets and lane ways of these European "old towns" and cities. We visited Split and Dubrovnik in Croatia several years ago - experiences we shall long remember. These places have a charm all of their own. Thanks for building the anticipation and will look forward to your blog on Prague - also on our intended itinerary. :) Jan
17th March 2017

Looking forward to a visit ...
Thanks for reading Jan :) Really happy to hear my blog was helpful. We loved Split and Dubrovnik as well - charming little towns! I'm hoping to write about these places soon also, a bit behind with my blogs though... Prague on its way soon hopefully... Hope you'll enjoy Cesky as much as we did, if not more!, as it really is a little gem of a town. Looking forward to reading about your trip to Cesky as well!
12th March 2017
Stunning panorama of Cesky Krumlov

Great shot
Great photo. Your blog brings back some memories from when were in Bohemia a few years ago/Ake
17th March 2017
Stunning panorama of Cesky Krumlov

Thanks Ake. The place was so picturesque that all I had to do was press 'click' - very charming little town. Happy to hear I brought you back some memories.

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