A Travellerspoint blog

Dining in Cesky Krumlov

Hanging out in the middle ages

rain 20 °C

After a hard day's exploring the town, I headed out for dinner. There was just enough light rain to make the cobblestones tailbone-breakingly dangerous, so I went for the off-road shoes. I checked out a few restaurants but no one seemed to acknowledge me when I went in and I started to wonder if it was because I was dining alone. After a while, it dawned on me that I should just sit anywhere and wait to be served. I was being a little too polite. Finally, I found a restaurant not far from my hostel, ordered "Rosenberg's Secret", and sat down in a cute little alcove. It was delicious! Czechs are into their mixed grills and as it turns out, so am I.

My_little_alcove.jpg

When the chef came out, I thanked him and told him it was my best meal in Europe so far. He was very pleased and said "Now I must give you present." Hooray! I thought, a discount. I can come back tonight. But alas no, instead he put a shot glass on the counter. Noooooooooo. "It's good", he said. "You drink, you drink, it's medicine." Medicine, my butt. But I managed to drink it, shuddering as it burned all the way down, then took off for the door before he had the chance to pour another one. I slept like a log.

Posted by Gotmybindle 00:16 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged czech krumlov Comments (8)

Southern Bohemia

On the road to Cesky Krumlov

overcast 22 °C

Prague to Cesky Krumlov
Accommodation: Krumlov House - Quiet, but OK.

It was with a heavy heart and an even heavier backpack that I left Prague this morning. I'd love to take the entire hostel with me for the rest of my trip, if only I could. Beer Tasting Night didn't turn out too well, due to a couple of young drunk guys with very short attention spans. I still managed to drink more than I meant to, and it was sad to say goodbye to Helena when I finally managed to drag myself away from the bar at midnight.

This morning I caught the tram to the bus station, half an hour from where I was staying. Once again I had to ask someone for help to know when to get off the tram, and once again I was kindly helped by a nice young Czech guy. I have found Czech men, my age and younger, to be really kind and helpful. Not so much the older ones, probably because of the language barrier, and the women have been extremely reserved. Twice, women serving me didn't even bother to stop texting or look at me when they took my money. But it's all good, and I am really impressed with the Czech Republic.

The scenery on my bus ride south was interesting. I imagine not a lot has changed in centuries, as it's just acres of fields of barley and other crops, separated by the occasional belt of trees, small lake, or forest. Because it's spring, everything is bright green and the three hour trip went quickly, just watching the scenery roll by.

After hopping off the bus in Cesky Krumlov, I had a very short walk up a hill and was greeted by this view.

Cesky Krumlov2

Cesky Krumlov2

Then it was just a very short walk to my hostel where I checked in, and then headed out to explore the town. It's gorgeous! I went to a place for lunch that my hostel recommended and ordered the Bohemian Feast (I went with chicken, rather than rabbit or pheasant). Getting totally carried away, I ordered a hot bohemian summer mead to wash it down with. The meal was fabulous, the mead not so much. I'm not sure what everything on the plate was, but there was definitely smoked chicken, ham, millet, potato salad, among other things. Lunch was served on a sewing machine table with a rickety old stool, in a hidden little courtyard over looking the river.

Bohemian Feast

Bohemian Feast

After that experience, I headed over the bridge and up to the castle. Two bears live in the moat surrounding the castle and they looked in a much happier state than the other ones I saw dead, skinned, and splayed on the castle floors. The castle is huge, and I walked all the way up the back until I reached the gardens which were absolutely stunning. I kept going and came across the lake, very square with an island in the middle and covered in lily pads. I imagined how beautiful it must have been when they were rowing about on it in the 17th century, and later I saw a picture of it as an iceskating rink. In the garden is a fully revolving theatre. It was out of bounds today as the theatre company were rehearsing, but as luck would have it I happened to be watching when they turned it around. It works like a lazy Susan.

The revolving theatre...

The revolving theatre...

....still revolving.

....still revolving.

After checking out the gardens and the courtyards, I joined a tour inside the castle as I was keen to find out more about the history and who had lived there. It was really interesting seeing all the art and furniture, and hearing about how the beds have roofs on them to stop the bugs from the wooden ceilings falling on the women in their beds. Now I'm sitting on my roofless bed in my 16th century hostel looking at the wooden ceiling, thinking about the bugs.

Krumlov Castle in the background

Krumlov Castle in the background

Posted by Gotmybindle 08:51 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged czech republic krumlov cesky Comments (1)

Hell in a handbag

Window shopping in Prague

semi-overcast 25 °C

It's been a traumatic day. I found a pair of gorgeous Guess shoes/boots (shoots?), that would have been perfect for me but I have to lug my damn backpack around for the next 6 weeks so they had to stay on the shelf. Then I found a pair of baby pink jeans. OK, they don't sound that flash, but they were pink!! Alas, I couldn't get them either for the same reason as the shoes. So I went back to Guess to console myself with a beautiful cobalt blue and bling watch. But it didn't fit me and they couldn't adjust the strap. It was at that point that I almost started drinking again. So, I leave Prague empty-handed. Disgraceful.

Other than that, I had another great day exploring the city. When planning my itinerary, I set aside today as a rest day to get over the flight. I need it too, as jet-lag has definitely hit. I awoke bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready to get up at 4am, and then I was ready to retire for the night straight after breakfast. However, Prague's atmosphere is such that I knew I could easily spend another day just wondering around enjoying the vibe. I managed to get the right tram this time, thanks to a Belgian women staying at the same hostel. Once in town, I headed for the astronomical clock again as it was almost the top of the hour and big crowds gather to watch a procession of 12 apostles that appear every hour.

Crowd gathering to watch the astronomical clock

Crowd gathering to watch the astronomical clock

It would have been a wee bit of a let-down, but for the trumpeter who suddenly appeared at the top of the tower. Then I walked to the Jewish quarter but after peaking through the gate I decided to give it a miss, and headed down to the jetty to take a cruise on the Vltava. It was nice just to sit back and watch the scenery from out on the water.

Prague_from_the_river.jpg

This city is truly majestic. Every which way you look, the buildings are incredible. The entire city centre is a world heritage site, so there are no buildings out of place. Well none, except this one, which I blame entirely on the Czech population's obsession with beer.

Fred_and_Ginger.jpg

I walked across Charles Bridge again, watching the buskers, and making a wish on a statue as is the tradition here. And finally, I headed to a pub to have an authentic Czech meal. The choices were Goulash, Schnitzel, or Potato Pancakes with sauerkraut. Since I'm going to Austria and Hungary I figured I better have the third option. It was actually much more appetizing than it looks, and I washed it down with a beer. Of course.

Potatoe_Pancakes.jpg

Now I need to pack up my stuff because I have to be up early and on the road to Southern Bohemia. I can't leave packing til later, because it's Beer Tasting night in the bar tonight. On a Monday?!

Prague is wonderful. It's the kind of place where you could spend all day doing nothing and find it absolutely fascinating. I give it a 10 out of 10.

Posted by Gotmybindle 07:58 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged prague Comments (6)

Beautiful Prague

My first day of exploring...

sunny 25 °C

Breakfast was awesome. Surely I'm starting with the best hostel in Europe? It's going to be a hard act to follow. After breakfast, I caught the tram into town but got on the wrong one and ended up getting dropped off outside the Prague Beer Festival. I stood outside the gate watching the people flood in. For a fleeting moment the unthinkable went through my mind, and I contemplated joining them. But the thought of beer made me feel a little bit sick, so a nice Czech guy helped me across the road and onto a tram heading in the right direction.

When I finally reached the old town centre, I walked around the in absolute awe of the buildings.

Tower Gate

Tower Gate

I saw the famous astronomical clock and then made my way over a very crowded Charles Bridge. I know Prague gets 20 million tourists a year, but was still quite surprised at the crowds of tourists. I kept walking until I reached Prague Castle and spent a couple of hours there looking around. I was most interested in the little medieval houses that have been retained, and the amazing suits of armour worn by soldiers that guarded the castle.

Medieval Home

Medieval Home

Apparently, it's the biggest castle in Europe and it's definitely worth seeing, although I was a bit disturbed when I found myself in the dungeon. Just looking at the torture contraptions that they hung people in over pits, and the cages that prisoners were kept in, made my stomach turn, so I didn't linger there for long.

It was such a beautiful day, so it was nice to just wander around taking in the spectacular vistas of Prague and all its landmarks. I didn't use a map and only took a wrong turn once. Generally, if I wasn't sure which way to go, I just followed the direction the crowds were heading and I soon came across something interesting. There is so much to see and do here, I think you could easily spend a week. By late afternoon, I caught the tram back to the hostel to have a quick nana nap, but ended up falling asleep for a couple of hours. Must be the jet-lag. Or the hangover. Then I went down to the bar, where Helena was working her first night. I just had one bucket of beer and managed to get out of joining in games night. I had quite enough fun and games last night and am determined to wake up tomorrow feeling 100%.

Beautiful Prague

Beautiful Prague

Posted by Gotmybindle 13:14 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged prague eastern europe Comments (3)

Getting there!

And so the journey begins....

sunny 20 °C

Accommodation: Sir Toby's Hostel - highly recommended!

I cannot believe I am starting with a hangover. I shouldn't be surprised, it's so typical of me. But let me start at the beginning.

My flight to Sydney was the best I've ever had, so smooth. Once I arrived in Sydney, I ended up sitting in the bar with a guy I met on the flight. We had a beer, then he caught a flight to Bangkok and I was left to drink on my own. The flight to Dubai was long. 14 and a half hours, made longer by someone's toddler screaming all the way. Then I had a few hours at Dubai which passed quickly, and 6 hours later, I arrived in Prague.

I'd arranged for a pick-up from the airport, which I shared with two women from Auckland who were embarking on a 5 week journey through Europe. So, it was kind of cool to start out chatting to a couple of Kiwis. The drive into Prague was exciting, seeing the skyline dotted with spires like I'd seen in pictures.

I was greeted at the hostel by an amazingly friendly woman who made me feel really welcome. My room is lovely. It has a little kitchenette and the bed is warm and comfortable. I crawled into it and slept for a couple of hours and then forced myself to get up and have a shower. I thought it would be sensible to go and have a beer in the bar and then get a proper night's sleep to recover from the flight.

In the bar, I met Helena from Sweden. She'd just moved here to live and is the new bartender, taking over from a guy from Algeria and Quebec, who was working his last night. I ordered a beer, which apparently only come in bucket size. Then the barman decided the three of us should have a white Russian. "Shark" from Azarbaijan arrived to recruit people to go on a pub-crawl but I declined on the grounds that I had just arrived from a long flight and didn't want to wake up with a hangover. After that, I remember someone suggesting we play drinking games, so I taught them Jacks. Then I remember sitting in a rubbish bin drinking shots of vodka. And Westlife turned up. Four guys dressed all in white who were on their way to a music festival. I woke up this morning with a half drunk bucket of beer in my room, and a hangover. Dammit. I literally have not even been out on the street yet, and already I'm up to no good. There's an all-you-can-eat breakfast here, so I'll have some of that and then Prague, here I come. It looks like a lovely, sunny day. There's not a cloud in the sky.

My room

DSCF4553

DSCF4553

Posted by Gotmybindle 22:44 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged prague hotel europe Comments (3)

Got My Bindle

overcast 9 °C

I've got my bindle and I'm ready to step out into the world. Well, I had to borrow my friend's bindle when I discovered mine was too small. And my first step involves boarding a plane for 2 days, but other than that, I'm good to go.

This trip has been two years in the making. That's a long time to plan, pack, re-plan, re-pack, pack the plan in and start again. But I never did that. I knew where I wanted to go, and I've built my itinerary around just one destination - Romania. Everywhere else is a bonus.

When I was a kid, I loved books with stories and pictures of medieval towns, quaint villages with cobbled streets, and townsfolk wearing pointy hats and carrying baskets of bread, while playing merry tunes on the lute. I imagined these real life tapestries took place in Romania, a mysterious, ancient country nestled somewhere between Poland and Russia. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered Romania is nowhere near Poland. Or Russia, these days.

So, step one in planning my trip was finding Romania on the map. Since then, I've learned a lot. Thanks to the power of the internet, I've researched, planned, and plotted a grand adventure over six weeks, across Eastern Europe. I've booked my accommodation and even some of my transportation online. Adventurous travelers scoff at planners like me. They prefer to go where the wind blows them, and doss down wherever they can find a spare bed, but I'd rather spend my time exploring a new place than worrying about finding somewhere to stay.

Lots of people ask me why I'm doing this, why I'm going there. But why not? Why wouldn't I want to explore, learn about, and experience a region and culture so different from my own? I'm looking forward to the challenges I'll encounter, the people I'll meet, and the places I'll go. I'm looking forward to the fun, the friendships I'll form, and the freedom I'll find.

I've got my bindle, and I'm ready to go.

Posted by Gotmybindle 00:21 Comments (2)

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