It’s been another great week — four days in Cesky Krumlov with my sister and her family, followed by three more days in the Czech Republic.
Monday 6/5: We didn’t really do too much on our first day in Cesky Krumlov apart from wandering around enjoying the town. Since Henry is only two and a half, he moves quite slowly, especially when going over bridges or passing fountains — he has a real fascination for water! The highlights of the day were lunch at the Two Marys and dinner at the Gypsy Bar, though sadly neither was quite as I’d remembered them. The waiter in the Gypsy Bar was positively ogre-like, though he melted completely when Henry said “děkuji” (thank you) in his sweet voice. And the goulash was still delicious.
Tuesday 7/5: Since Anna and Mat had never been to Prague, we decided to drive there for the day. Craig stayed behind, as ITP had crashed again, but the rest of us piled into the car and headed north. Unfortunately, Henry fell asleep just as we entered the city, so we drove around a little until he woke up, then parked the car and started walking.
We got to the Old Town Square just before 1pm, and joined the throng of tourists in front of the Astronomical Clock. Although he’d thought it would be a bit boring, Henry was enchanted by the figures spinning above the clock, as well as the sound of the bell ringing.
We had a delicious lunch one block back from the square, then caught a horse-drawn carriage down to the Charles Bridge (Anna’s idea). The bridge was crowded with portrait-painters, buskers, and tourists, and Henry’s insistence to be shown the river every two minutes meant that it was a slow walk across.
We didn’t have time for much else, so we hopped back in the car and drove to Ceske Budejovice for dinner; Henry enjoyed the fountain in the main square.
Wednesday 8/5: It was our last day in Cesky Krumlov, so we had to do everything we’d been planning on doing but hadn’t done yet. We started with a walk around the palace, then headed back into town to do a short tour of the city and the Eggenberg brewery. The tour ended with a free beer in the brewery restaurant, and the five of us had lunch there too.
One of the things Craig and I had most enjoyed about our previous visit was rafting down the Vltava river, and our enthusiasm rubbed off on the others. Anna was concerned about going down weirs while pregnant, and also about how Henry would handle it, and Mat had hurt his back and didn’t want to aggravate it. In the end, though, we all went — and it was great. The kind owner of Malecek Rafting and Canoe let us rent a raft even though it would mean him working past closing time, and we launched quickly and without any issues.
As for the weirs, it turned out that there was only one — one of the main ones in Cesky Krumlov itself was under construction, so we launched downstream and had a smooth run almost all the way to our pickup point. Just 200m before the end was the one weir — which was awesome. I think we all wanted to do another, but Henry was the most vocal about it.
Back in town, the place we wanted to eat dinner was fully booked, so we chose a pretty average restaurant and made the best of it.
Thursday 9/5: We waved a sad goodbye to Cesky Krumlov and made our way to Linz, where Henry had been promised a ride on the “dragon train” at the top of the Postlingberg. Unfortunately getting to the Postlingberg proved a little more difficult than we’d planned. We’d parked the car near Sabine’s place, where we were going to stay the night, and the walk to the main square was full of tasty distractions in the form of cheese samples and doughnuts — so we just missed a tram. Luckily, another one was leaving in 15 minutes, and even more luckily, it was an old-fashioned one. Unluckily, it broke down just as we were starting up the hill.
After much too-ing and fro-ing, we returned to the old funicular station at the bottom of the hill and piled into an already-full (and not old-fashioned) tram that was waiting for us. This one got us to the top of the hill and we headed straight for the Grottenbahn, where we barely had to wait at all, and where we got seats near the dragon’s tail. Luckily, Henry didn’t seem to mind the delay too much, and completely loved the dragon train — a win!
Anna and Mat had to leave Linz by 5.30 at the latest to be able to catch their plane from Munich, so we had a very fast (and delicious) lunch at the beer garden opposite Sabine’s place, then waved them on their way.
Sabine had planned to accompany us up the Postlingberg, but she was sick and had to pull out. We had arranged to stay at her place, though, and she wouldn’t hear of us changing our plans, so we spent the night at Sabine’s place without Sabine. We spent a fair amount of time chatting with her on Facebook, but it just wasn’t the same.
Friday 10/5: Ugh, rain makes everything more difficult. We had a successful morning of work, then caught the tram to the train station to catch a train to Ceske Budejovice. However, the train cost a lot more than the bus (€18 compared to €12), and a bus was leaving forty minutes later that would arrive at the same time as the train, so we decided to go with that. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the bus stop, despite being told exactly where it was by the woman in the info centre — it was across the road from a very misleading bus station. Also misleading was the sign at the correct bus stop (we did find it after all) which said the next bus wasn’t for two hours! Just as we were plunging into despair, our bus pulled up, the driver confirmed that he was going where we wanted to go, and we finally got out of the rain and into a warm bus.
The journey was relatively uneventful, and we were able to pick up a few groceries at the bus station before heading to our Couchsurfing hosts’ place. Lucy met us at the door and we chatted with her for an hour or so, then spent the evening working while she studied.
Saturday 11/5: The rain still hadn’t let up, but we wanted to see a bit more of the city, so we walked around town for a while before having lunch at Masné Krámy, where we went with Konrad and Inger several weeks ago.
When we returned, our other Couchsurfing host, Jana, was back — she’d spent the night at her parents’ place in a small town nearby. We chatted with her for a while, but she had to study too, so we worked a little then went out for a long walk along the river — where we stumbled across a music festival! We didn’t stay for long, but one of the bands was really good.
Sunday 12/5: After a bit of a sleep in (it was Sunday, after all), we followed Jana’s suggestion and walked to Hluboká castle. Unfortunately, though the sky was blue when we set out, it didn’t stay that way, and we were quite happy that we’d brought the umbrella with us. Luckily there were a couple of towns along the route, and we stopped at a canalside restaurant for a delicious lunch and at another cafe for a terrible coffee.
We spent an hour or so checking out the castle and grounds, and rejected the idea of walking home because the weather decided to turn nasty again (and I already had wet socks). The info centre furnished us with bus times, and we chatted with a friendly older lady while we were waiting for the bus.
Back in town, we had a glass of wine in a warm cafe before heading back to Jana’s place, where we spent some time with her before a relaxed evening in.