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Published: November 8th 2007
We arrived in Prague quite late in the evening, the cheerful pilot informed us that the temperature was about 2 degrees celcius - OH MY GOD!! Poor Kristi was not a happy camper!
We made our way to our hostel with no problems at all, 2 trains and 2 buses later we arrived at Marabou Hostel in the Zizkov area of central Prague. Quite a cool place, clean and tidy with a cruisey atmosphere and a free beer on arrival! They have lots of cool features, like free internet and pool and foosball tables 😊 We settled in quickly and hit the hay as we were both pooped!
The next day we got up had breaky (another great inclusion at the hostel!!) then headed out into central Prague - with no idea where to go or what to do - as it should be! We got off the tube at Wyclensas Square which is a magnificent long avenue, with a grand museum and statue at one end and masses of great shops going down its entire length. We wandered down the square admiring the cool old buildings and general hive of activity around us. At the bottom of the
square were some funky little markets with oodles of tourist knick-knacks, lots of witchcraft stuff and food etc - very cool.
From these markets we meandered into a warren of gorgeous little cobblestone streets. Prague is like something out of a fairy tale in a lot of ways, and none more so than for the breathtaking view of Prague Castle reigning majestically over the city - we came across Charles Bridge by accident really and were stunned by the beauty of the area, the bridge, the river, the town, the castle - it really is quite magic.
We wandered over the hugely busy pedestrian bridge, lined with religious statues and controlled by mamoth gate houses at each end. Over the bridge we had a yummy pub lunch and found some very cheap coffee and hot chocolate machines (essential in this cold!). Then next it was up to the castle for a look around, there were stunning views of the city and surrounding hills as we walked up - Czech republic is a place you would need to see in every season to fully appreciate it - we were there in autumn and so saw the gorgeous red, oranges,
brown and yellows of the deciduous trees, but it would all look amazing in the white of winter or bright colours of warm seasons too!
The cathedral in the castle complex was stunning, as was the grand castle itself and the whole area on top of the hill for that matter! We then explored some of the other big land marks: Tyn Church, The Powder Tower, the Astronomical Clock etc etc. Eventually we found our way back to a metro sation and headed back to the hostel area for dinner. We found a great restaurant just up from the hostel that was not only extremely cheap, but it also had great food and tonnes of character - a very young crowd frequented the place - Restaurant Rozmitalka.
The next morning we made our way to the famed Jewish quarter and admired the multitude of statues, Synagogues and graveyards. It was bitterly cold this day and raining to boot, so we headed to Wyclensas Square in search of warmth and shelter! We ended up going to the movies and watching "1408" which was pretty bloody scary!! The cinema itself was awesome - brand new and ultra flash! By the
Look how many layers of clothes Kristi wore on a daily basis in the CR....
time we left the cinema it was getting dark so we wandered over to Charles Bridge to have a look at the city-scape at night - quite stunning, the castle and river are all lit up and looked fantastic. Once we arrived back at the hostel we debated where to eat and then ended up returning to Rozmitalka Restaurant! Great place!
Our entire itme in Prague we managed to pay for public transport only once! They have an 'honesty' system on the buses and underground, where you are supposed to validate your ticket voluntarily or risk being fined by a random ticket inspector - initially we were just ignorant and didn't really know what the deal was. Eventually we saw some inspectors checking tickets on a platform we were on - so we did the honest thing... and hid behind a pole till our train came!
The next morning we were up bright and early to make our way to Cesky Krumlov. The Czech transport system is very admirable in that every service is always bang on time, trains, buses, tubes - all arrive at precisely the minute they are scheduled - makes travelling around a considerably easier
task! Soon we were on our bus to Cesky Krumlov and racing through the vast Czech countryside - it was a miserable day, so we couldn't see much through the mist, but it was nice to glimpse the rolling landscape, bisected by many small and large streams and rivers - stunning scenery.
In due course we arrived at the beautiful,1200 year old town of Cesky Krumlov -(bang on time!) A short walk to the Travellers Hostel and soon we were settled into our room - which was very nice and quite spacious - better than some hotels we have been to! As we arrived at mid day, we had plenty of time to explore in the afternoon and Cesky is really quite small, so by dinner time we had made our way around the whole town! We were recommended to come here by Trin and Sam and also Carl and Tori, and I can see why they loved it! The place is truly charming, absolutely idyllic - ancient streets and buildings and a majestic castle overlooking it all - a river wraps around the whole town and serves to create some fantasic photo opportunities 😊 The whole place is
like one giant postcard gallery - everywhere you turn is some picturesque and beautiful setting - the town is like something out of a fairy tale, being there is like being thrust back in time about 1200 years! We milled around for hours taking pics and admiring the antiquated background. We got back to the room quite late and decided on getting pizza rather than braving the cold to find a restaurant - a bit lazy but ultimately yummy!
The next morning we went up to Cesky Castle to get some views over the town and explore the gardens and Castle itself. The panoramic views from the castle top are tremendous, the castle itself is built right into the cliff face and was fairly impressive too! We made our way up to the top of the castle compound to the gardens... and were blown away. The whole area was stunning, manicured hedges and sculpted flower beds everywhere, combined with tree and hedge lined pathways and large fountains all over the place. The Autumn colours were amazing. The day was absolutely miserable, overcast, dark and rainy, but these gardens were still magnificent - especially the huge lake at far end
of the compound - it had a tiny island in the middle and was just lovely. We wandered for ages, admiring the scenery and taking silly dancing photos of each other (place was deserted)! There were also heaps of cool black squirrels tearing around doing squirrels things!
Eventually we made our way back to the township and were excited to see that the BEARS were out 😊 The Castle moat under the bridged entrance to the castle is home to a bunch of brown bears - was pretty cool to see them - even if they did appear to be going a bit stir-crazy!
We went to a lovely Italian/Czech restaurant for dinner and then wandered the street a bit more before retiring, a bit sad to be leaving such a great little place - would come back to Cesky Krumlov in a heartbeat! Would be great to see the comparison of being covered in snow in winter or in the heat of summer.
The next morning we were picked up by a minivan for a transfer to Linz train station in Austria, from which we would make our way to Vienna. The drive to the Czech/Austrian
border was awesome - the sun finally made an appearance - and the landscape was positively glowing. The scenery here is vastly different to back home in NZ, yet occasionally there will be an area that could be right in our backyard. We drove through forests and a small mountain range and past countless rivers - including crossing the mighty Vltava River. Eventually we arrived at the border - which took all of 5 minutes, and then we were in Austria!
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