Cesky Krumlov, and sweet little Loket

Trip Start Aug 14, 2001
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5
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Trip End Nov 07, 2002


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Tuesday, September 11, 2001

Oh the grandiuer of the beautiful 13th century medieval town of Cesky Krumlov...perhaps the real heart of the province of Bohemia. This place was magnificent! We stayed in a very friendly hostel there called Krumlov House. A 450 year old house and former bakery whose only distinctive marking was a rather heavy door intriquetly carved into a dragon. We had a good feeling about the place when we walked in and the girl showing us our room was listening to Radiohead. (We haven't heard much in the way of good music on the radio these days...) The house had decent rooms, a very homey kitchen where everyone hung-out and to top it all off, an acoustic guitar for use in the living room!

We enjoyed socializing with new friends. The best thing about Cesky Krumlov was the somewhat secret (and what we called 'sacred') Tea House. Down a quiet little passageway and thru an unmarked door was a sanctuary away from the bustle of tourists and the excitement of the city... Aromas of apple, inscence and spices would guide us inside. You might be thinking, 'This sounds a bit fluffy...' Indeed, I thought so too, until I had a chance to experience it.

Seeming to demand great respect, the Tea-men of the Tea House take their jobs very seriously. They brew a hundred different types of tea from all over the globe and they've learned how each culture brews and serves each particular tea. Very stern and long bearded fellows who actually travel to places like Nepal, Sri Lanka, India and even England in search of the best teas found in the world. The main room was full of candles, smoky inscence, an old wooden chess-set, large soft chairs, Turkish carpets and the coolest eastern sitar-music ever(or always some equivalent), filled the thick air. They brought us scribed menus and a bell to ring for service. In other rooms we had to remove our shoes. There were no chairs, only short tables with pillows and soft carpets... They also had a groovy smaller room in which to smoke a water-pipe. Like I said, the heart of Bohemia.

We enjoyed 3 or 4 days at Krumlov House and didn't want to say goodbye, but we still had other places to see....

One night in a place called Marianske Lazne found us grudgingly staying at a more expensive hotel and it was raining again....poooo. The only thing worth mentioning here besides the big bathtub, turned out to be the strange radio we found in our room. Leftover from the days of communism, it had no dial! (You get only one station....) Wow, those must've been the days. Anyway, we came for the mineral-springs but found all of them under control of folks who like money....lotsa money. So, we left in a hurry.

Today, we're in the very small and out of-the-way town, Loket. (Which means 'elbow' in reference to the fact that the town is built on the sharp elbow of the Ohre river.) Our hotel has a view of the old castle which is right next door. This town was almost destroyed by gypsies and squatters and began it's recovery only slightly more than a decade ago... Our host Thom, bought his now beautifully restored pension for only 4000 US dollars in 1990. Of the castle he says, 'It's not really worth paying to visit. It looks better from the outside.' It's rumored that inside every house within 50 kms lies a piece of that castle, raped and gutted over the years before the restoration began. At any rate this place is extemely picturesque, and quiet too.

I'm finishing this long message in the town library. Just as I began this portion, Katrinka walked in with the horrible news of some giant terrorist-attacks on the US? Planes crashing into the World Trade Center Towers and other places?? The info available so far has been vague yet frightening! We don't know how serious things have become there but we are concerned. Will stay in touch.
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