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Along The River with Twists and Turns - Cesky Krumlov

Our time in this picturesque spot had a few twists and turns... The first being that our train trip had a detour stop due to track maintenance... This meant hauling everyone onto a bus... everyone walking in lines and constant repeated messages on the loud speaker tended to remind us that Czech Republic was a communist country not so long ago. This 30min delay also meant we missed our connecting train. ..a two hour wait for the next one meant a lot of time to kill with our packs... definitely not ideal. We ended up finding a kebab shop for a massive kebab to fill our time. Back onto another train through the beautiful country side. If seems that the Czech Republic has a lot of small towns which are so cute with their small gardens.

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We arrived to Cesky Krumlov and began or trek to our pension (hotel) for the night. It was on the other side of the town so that meant we got to see the town centre on our way through. Cesky Krumlov is like a step back in time. The town follows a river and had thin cobbled streets, a castle on the hill and a town square. There are no fast food joints or supermarkets to be seen, it was idyllic and just the hideaway we needed. Cesky relies on tourism in this area to keep it going so the place has a great vibe and was just what we needed. I could have spent days just exploring the castle and the town streets with its huge array of shops.

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On our first night after exploring the streets we stumbled across a restaurant with baroque theme. Everything was cooked on a open fire like back in the day. We started with a bread bowl of garlic soup. It was delicious and the novelty of having soup served in a huge cob of bread was awesome. It was also at this point I discovered Cappy...a strawberry flavoured juice (full of artificial colours and flavours I'm sure)...it was delicious. I'm sure that Lewis appreciated me signing "cos I'm Cappy" to the Happy song tune the whole way home.

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Lewis ended up having a shot of plum brandy. ..it smelt pretty potent which we ordered as a part of the set menu without realising it was included. Our main was a massive pork chop and pickled cabbage. .the cabbage was sweet yet tangy... gherkin like and yum!

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The next day we explored the castle grounds and tower. The walk up to the top of the tower was thin rickety and had rope handle to help...I ended up taking my jandals off to come down (un-co, jandals and thin steep stairs means a major potential for an accident) the views were 360 degrees around and were spectacular.

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We saw what use to be inside the castle Horni Had, this included old spectacles. The weirdest room was the worship room where the remnants of a old Saint were in a glass box. They were specially moved here from Rome as it was considered a good omen to have them. There were bears in the moat. They were beautiful but seemed sad they were caged in there small oasis. The torture museum in the dungeon was closed for the day which I was a little disappointed about as I was looking forward to seeing a castle dungeon. I'm sure I'll find another one.

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An afternoon to myself meant more exploring the old town streets and walk along the river (Lewis was sick and needed rest). Besides the beautiful view and putting a leaf boat in the river I came across a beautiful old czech lady sitting by the river and watching the crowds back in the old town. She wouldn't let me take a photo which makes complete sense when you think of her history but even now thinking of this lady makes my eyes shine. She pretty much represented everything I saw while the Czech Republic. This lady would have been about 70-80 and was dressed immaculately as was possible. You could see that she had tried to make an effort. Here face showed the lines and hardness of age and hard times. She would have been through a war and communist rule where the aim was not to be noticed as being noticed risked being investigated by the secret police. Her skin of her hands tough from time working and the sun. Her receding hair was covered by a bright floral bandana. The thing that made this lady beautiful and stunning was the joy that came from her toothless smile and her eyes. Her happiness of sitting on the riverbank and enjoying the view freely. We tried to communicate bit my lack of Czech and her lack of english didn't make this possible. Our hand signals was enough. She was breath taking and I hope that the image of her and her happiness in something so simple stays with me for a long time.
The river was a great place to think and reflect. It was a much needed afternoon to contemplate life and all its complexities.

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Our final evening was a little tribute really. In New Zealand it was the morning of my nana's funeral. We ended up discovering this small Italian restaurant. It was fairly empty and due to the intermittent misty showers the deck was free. The deck overlooked the river and the castle which were all lit up; It was a phenomenal view. The waiter left us to ourselves pretty much and with the view. Our evening consisted of pasta and pizza with red wine. Music that reminded me of the supreme Whakatane station 1XX (which my nana use to listen to). It was a beautiful way to say farewell. All that was missing was a bit of Country Calendar on the TV and cheese straws.

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Cesky Krumlov was one of those places that again felt like a step back in time. It had a slower pace and I will definitely revisit. Maybe next time in summer with some rafting and/or a rafting pub-crawl on the river.

Posted by chellebelle 12:56 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged food town castle lady happiness tribute

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