Cesky Krumlov

Trip Start May 05, 2007
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Trip End Aug 02, 2007


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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Cesky Krumlov is a beautiful town about three hours south of Prague.  It is quaint, charming, and boasts an impressive castle dating from the fifteenth century.  The weather was gorgeous the weekend we went, perfect for rafting on the river that slowly bends through the town.  This would be the first day trip into the Czech Republic that I'd recommend for it gives a feel, if you ignore the tourists, of how the countryside would have looked three or four hundred years ago.

We got there on Sunday afternoon, put our bags down at the pension, and headed off to explore the town.  We wandered in and out of the shops lining the cobblestoned streets, sampling various chocolate confections.  After a few hours of aimless wandering, we had a tour of the castle, including its famous perserved Baroque theater.  The castle, perched atop jagged rocks, was marvelous and had stunning views of the town and river below.  That night we had dinner at a Roma restaurant, complete with traditional Roma dancing.  We heard about the history of the Roma in the area and the partnership between the local community and that segment of the population (one that has been much discriminated against in other parts of the Czech Republic and the region on the whole).

The next morning we got up early and went to the Egon Schiele Art Musuem, which had magnificent displays of Schiele's works and works of other modern artists.  I think it was my favorite musuem in all of the Czech Republic, including the Mucha musuem and Prague's National Galleries.  After leaving Cesky Krumlov, we went down to the deserted region that had run along the border between Austria and the Czech Republic, one of the many no man's lands of the iron curtain.  We visited a church that had been deserted many years because of its location.  After leaving that area, we stopped at an old castle, Zvikov Hrad, on the way back to Prague.  The complex, unfortunately was closed since it was Monday, but overlooked a beautiful lake that the guys swam in.  The massive fortified complex was neat to climb on and a good look out point for the forested region and the convergence of two rivers.   It was nearly deserted (probably because it was Monday and thus closed), and in the now over-touristed Czech Republic, solitude and history rarely mix.

On the way back, ironically enough, we picked up a hitchhiker who was a famous theater actor in Prague who'd missed his train back into the city.  He was kind enough to give some of us tickets to his show that evening, a strange post-modern play about insects.  Because it was all in Czech, I understood little, but it was enjoyable all the same.
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