Just how I pictured Eastern Europe

Trip Start Jun 24, 2005
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Trip End Mar 24, 2008


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Where I stayed

Flag of Czech Republic  ,
Monday, August 15, 2005

After hearing many good reports about a small town in the Czech Republic called Cesky Krumlov, I decided to go check it out before going to Prague.

The morning I was to leave the hostel to catch the train, it was raining buckets. To get to the train station, I had to take the metro but what I did not know at the time was it also required a local train transfer. I got to the location of the transfer station with plenty of time but the next train did not arrive for another half hour and it would arrive at the main train station 3 minutes before my Cesky Krumlov train leaves. Any delay and I would be in trouble. I was stressed. I contemplated going back out into the rain and just run to the main train station. I decided to just stay and relax and hope for the best.

The train for transfer arrived. I got to the main train station and scrambled around looking for my train. I jumped on with 1 minute to spare and very relieved. The train almost immediately leaves the station and five minutes later .... makes a stop at the station I waited for the transfer. Brilliant.

After crossing the border into Czech, I immediately noticed everything was very old. The local transfer train was also very inefficient. Somehow, it took us to a remote place and moved back and forth 10 times to detach one of the coaches. It took over half an hour to do as we got jolted back an forth.

Getting off the train at Cesky Krumlov, the rain coming down hard. The buildings were very old with peeling paint. Cars were rusty and there were old battered looking men sitting around smoking cigarettes. It was awesome. Just how I pictured Eastern Europe.

On the train, I met Vincent, a Malay-Australian. We found an excellent Hostel called Hostel 99 in an old wooden building that felt like a chalet. Our dorm room was in the attic and it was wonderful.

The old town area is very pleasant to hang out. The castle is beautiful and unlike any I have seen. But what I enjoyed the most were the low prices of everything. Prices were generally a third of what I have been paying in Western Europe. It is amazing how much more you enjoy everything when it is more affordable. I ordered so much at the restaurant it was out of control. The best food were the Grandma pancakes that we ordered from a food stand by the street. They were absolutely delicious with just the right texture and a bit of spiciness.

Outside of the old town area, you could see remnants of the Russian occupation. From the castle atop the hill, you could look beyond the old town and see many ugly concrete buildings in the surrounding areas. Vincent termed them the 'Cold War buildings'. Probably social housing of the communism era.

Overall, Cesky Krumlov is a wonderful place and I could have easily spent a few more days there.
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