After over two weeks of travel in big cities (Budapest, Krakow, Prague) we were ready to spend a couple days in small Cesky Krumlov, located in south Bohemia in the Czech Republic. We once again used the company Student Agency, this time hopping on a bus to travel the two hours from Prague into the countryside. The bus was the nicest we have ever been on (and we have been on A LOT of buses) and each seat had an individual touchscreen TV with pre-loaded movies (we both watched the Hobbit).
Our Airbnb was located right in the center of old town and from our loft bedroom we had a view of the castle! We quickly settled in before heading one street over to a restaurant by the river where they served old, traditional Bohemian food including millet and buckwheat cakes and mulled wine. The food was delicious and the ambiance wonderful. We sat and enjoyed our food while watching the male and female ducks do a little courtship dance on the river.
After lunch we wandered around old town. We loved the small town feel and medieval charm that the old town had maintained. We learned later that this city was first taken over by Germans, who basically expelled all the Czech people living in their centuries old family homes. Later, after the fall of communism, the Germans were forced to leave and people returned to reclaim their family homes. Many families did not return and the old homes were sold for extremely cheap, with the stipulation that they be restored to their original, medieval state. Therefore, the whole city looks largely like it did 500 years ago.
The next morning we walked up to the castle on the hill. The castle is over 1,000 years old and overlooks the entire town. We paid to go up to the top of the tower for the best view, but decided not to go inside the castle’s rooms as we heard that it was not worth the cost. We walked around the gardens, which were beautiful and massive and visited the castle bears, which have been guarding the castle for the entirety of its existence.
In the afternoon we took the free walking tour of town and learned more about its history. The tour of the town was okay, but our guide was really interesting and told us a lot about what it was like to grow up under communist rule. The rain had started, so we decided to relax for a bit. Our apartment had a giant bathtub so I took my first bath in years, looking up at the castle out the window. After some relaxation we went for our last Czech dinner. Logan had bread dumplings stuffed with meat and I ate the most delicious gnocchi with chicken and cheese (better than I had in Italy!). We also drank our last Czech beer and hot, spiced wine. After a slightly disappointing time in Prague, Cesky Krumlov was exactly what we needed. It is charming, quaint, and relaxing. It was a wonderful respite from big city travel and gave us a chance to recharge before hitting our next destination…Vienna!