Cesky Krumlov: Unesco World Heritage Status

Trip Start Feb 06, 2011
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Trip End Sep 15, 2011


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Where I stayed

Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Monday, July 11, 2011

I picked the southern town of Cesky Krumlov to be my last stop in the Czech Republic.  When the entire town is granted World Heritage Status by Unesco, it's gotta be something special right?  My bus journey there was rather eventful.  The driver got pulled over by the police and I thought it was just a routine check for driver's license etc.  The driver looked somewhat distraught after he was administered a breathalyser test.  Of course, I couldn't understand a thing but I was worried we would be stuck there.  Thankfully, after a good 25 minutes, the police left and we were on our way again.  Whew!  The hostel was a just a few minutes walk from the bus station and on the outskirts of the Old Town.  What makes this town so interesting is that the Vltava River horseshoes right through the area.  You can also travel down the river in rented canoes, kayaks or inflatable rafts and watch people enjoying their meals and beers as you float by.  

After all the meat I had been eating for the past couple of weeks, I was happy to find out that there was a popular vegetarian restaurant in town!  I chatted with the owner and he was nice enough to throw in free dessert and jasmine green tea at the end of my meal!  I didn't realize how many Asian tourists actually pass by this town.  He mentioned that it was mostly Japanese tourists who visited the area but recently, there have been more and more tourists from mainland China and Hong Kong.  Never in a million years did i think this place would make it on a typical Asian's vacation radar!  

I had signed up to go rafting with the hostel for the next day but unfortunately they cancelled it so I looked for another company in town.  I went first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds and the beating sun.  The owner dropped me off at the start of the 15km circuit and told me to call him when I reached the end.  No safety briefing, no map, no nothing.  He did warn that there were a few areas where you have to steer the raft down a narrow downhill channel.  He said that the first one was difficult but the rest were easy.  Well, he was right!  The first one was difficult... difficult enough for the entire raft to flip over when I reached the bottom!  Luckily, there were quite a few people wading in the area and they rescued my flipflops and paddle!  Slightly embarassing but glad I didn't lose anything!  The rest of the trip down the river was lovely and very peaceful and relaxing.  It is customary to say "Ahoj! (pronounced a-hoy)" when you pass by another rafter so that's pretty much all I did as I paddled my way through.  When I reached my destination, there was no reception area to be found.  I tried asking at one of the food kiosks but they couldn't speak English!  Lo and behold, a guy comes out of nowhere and offers to let me use his cell phone.  It turns out that he's originally from Vancouver and visits his family every year in the Czech Republic.  It's interesting who you meet in the most random places!  

I wanted to visit the castle on Monday but to my horror, I found out that it was closed!  I was still able to walk through the courtyard and admire the castle gardens.  It was a fairly relaxing day.  I ate at a typical medieval restaurant where they still use old school ingredients like millet in their cooking.  Very interesting!  For dinner, I had grilled trout caught fresh from the river and it was super yummy!  I probably spent one day too many in Cesky Krumlov but it was great to not feel rushed experiencing the town.  

I had a fantastic time exploring the western side of Czech Republic and would return in a heartbeat just for the beer!

Some random thoughts:

-you can get excellent draft beer for under $1.50 a pint (in Prague, it's a bit more expensive but if you know where to go, you can still find a great deal!)
-cheese is super cheap!
-fave soup: garlic soup with cheese and croutons-like some other countries in Europe, they always list the portion size of each menu item in weight (grams) It's great to know in advance how big the dish will be!
-Prague is way too touristy but you can still enjoy the beauty without the crowds if you go first thing in the morning
-there's a torture museum in every Czech city (I have no idea why but it seems to be hit with the tourists)
-unpasteurized unfiltered beer is the way to go... nothing else comes close
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Comments

eau on

hi Clod! just commenting so you know someone other than your mom is still reading your posts!! ;) Will be thinking of you as I have some egg drop chicken noodle soup. stay well! ^_^

Mr. Sparkle on

It's awesome how the owner just sent you down the river, literally. It's actually very logical that restaurants list the exact portions of the food they're serving - I imagine something like that could help fight obesity in North America (although Richmond doesn't need it). Until your next post!

JL

Em on

Hey Clod....I'm still reading your blog! Who feeds the bears?

clodblog
clodblog on

I'm guessing the city does! But there's huge signs everywhere warning tourists NOT to feed the bears!

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