You can always depend on the kindness of strangers

Trip Start Apr 10, 2010
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Trip End Apr 10, 2011


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Flag of Austria  , Upper Austria,
Friday, August 6, 2010

Just when you think you've seen enough schloss, we get to see the Hluboka nad Vltavou! Know as the Neuschwanstein of Bohemia. Though in our shining opinion, it is easily10 times better. We had not expected to be so impressed. We walked all the way around it wondering why this amazing castle is not more famous. I suppose Hluboka nad Vltavou doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well as Neuschwanstein. Perhaps people do want to talk about. But they fail at pronouncing the bloody name.

We then drove Bigwig into Cesky Krumlov, a UNESCO medieval town that has the second biggest castle (after Prague castle) in all of the Czech Republic. It also has a beautiful tower that lords over the whole river city. We climbed the tower. The ticket guy didn’t believe we were students. We always fail when they actually ask for an ID. You can’t trick a trickster. So we paid. It was nice, buy we think the old town square with it’s little alleys and arcades was just so much better. There were a lot of people in the river, riding kayaks down the dam. There were many people watching them, hoping for a capsize. When it happened, everyone cheered, even if some of them got hurt. One dude even had a really bloody leg. These people might as well build a coliseum if they love blood so much.

Driving around in the Czech Republic has been great. Towards the south the towns have become much cleaner and warmer. We have seen strange folks standing randomly in forests. Jena was convinced they were collecting wild mushrooms. Joel played with the idea that they were looking to dig shallow graves, but Jena was right.

As we drove out of Bohemia and into Austria we were farewelled by lines and lines of Czech prostitutes along the freeway. A kind of going away present for bad Austrian husbands. We drove through the border unchecked and thus began our grand odyssey of Austria.

Our first place to visit was an old walled town called Freistadt. Yes they have schloss, but we just wandered around the town to suss out a local bakery. When we were readying to leave we were approached by an Austrian couple with a stroller who spoke great English. At first they wondered where we were from, but as we got to talking they let us know about a great spot to park in the nearby town right next to a castle. We soon set off to seek out the town they mentioned (Kefermarkt) and eventually found the castle.
Just as we were about to pull up the bed we noticed that same couple coming up the hill with their son. They came to offer us a bed for the night and a hot traditional meal. How could we refuse! There could even be a shower!

Their names were Wolfgang, Melanie, and little Lorenz. We spent the evening learning about all the really great Austrian traditions, including excellent food and local beer and beer and beer..

We did not know it but it turns out we had crashed their wedding anniversary! Later they showed us their wedding album and they explained what an Austrain wedding is like. They rolled their eyes when we mentioned Arnold Schwarznegger, but it was really fascinating hearing about their lives in a tiny catholic community where they know everybody in town. Their house was very modern and big, and they spoke proudly about doing the right thing by the environment and their community, which was really inspiring.

We had breakfast with them in the morning and then lunch, which included a traditional dish with ham. So very unpescatarian of us! The first meat we have eaten in exactly one year. Perhaps we can call it an anniversary gift. It was great.

We really were touched my their random generosity. They showed us how we would like to be in the future for travelers in our town. Just great loving people.

In Kefermarkt, apart from schloss, they had a very spectacular church, with a beautiful wooden altarpiece. A very unexpected treat. We were told that many people come from all around to see it. We then went back to Freistadt to browse the farmers market before we broke out of town and headed for the Danube.
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