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11-03-05  Cesky Krumlov
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Day tripping to a magical place

I guess I must be in a traveling mood as I didn't spend the weekend after my London trip resting but taking a fun-filled day trip to South Bohemia. Cesky Krumlov to be exact.

On Saturday, bright and early, I headed down south with some girlfriends. We met up at McDs for a little caffeine injection and some salty food to soak up the booze from the night before!! haha. It seems like we all went out on Friday night despite the fact that we met up at around 6AM!!! Yikes! Sufficiently juiced up on coffee, we headed to the bus station to hop on the Student Agency bus for the 2.5 hour drive to Cesky Krumlov. Man, I love those yellow buses!! The seats are comfy and you get free coffee or hot chocolate. And a movie. Plus, there's a bathroom on board, yippee!! I did not take advantage of the coffee or movie on the trip down....I plugged in the old Ipod and fell asleep. By the time we arrived at our destination...I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!!

Cesky Krumlov is a town of about 14,000 located near the Vltava River founded around 1253. As a matter of fact, the old town area is almost completely surrounded by the river as it twists around itself. The main attraction is the Gothic fortress that looms over the river and town. The buildings throughout are of the Renaissance and Baroque styles.

Cesky Krumlov Castle has a large round tower and summer gardens. Also...it has bears!! LIVE bears! In the moat! Ahhh...but we did not see these bears as they were hiding against the wall, out of sight. Bummer. But the castle is very stunning. Built on a bluff, and seemingly out of the rocks, the views from the castle are fantastic. We had a brilliant blue day while we were there so it was great walking around. The castle was built by the Rosenbergs (and you can see the rose motif throughout the town) in the 13th century. There is a Baroque theater on the grounds as well that are well maintained. Unfortunately, we were there before the official tourist season starts, so we couldn't actually get into any of the buildings, but just walking around the grounds was amazing enough.

In the 17th century, the town was transferred to the Eggenbergs. There is now a brewery here under that name. We tried to take the tour but we were too late...so we did our own tour of their beer in the beer hall! Very tasty. We had a great time having snacks, chatting and taste testing.

In the 18th century, the town was transferred to the Schwarzenbergs until the end of WWII. This area was part of the sudentenland and thus annexed by Germany during the War. After liberation by American forces, the German population was expelled. This has left a lasting feeling of animosity between many of the towns citizens.

Our day was spent walking around, taking pictures, eating and drinking. We walked through the town square and stopped for some cake and coffee. Then we walked through the castle and stopped for beer and snacks. We walked through the area called Latran and stopped for lunch. And we ended the day spending some time along the river with a bottle (or two) of wine. It was a very relaxed day. And very fun. We shared many, many laughs.

I loved the buildings here. It seemed like every one had some sort of painting on it or other type of embellishment. The whole place was very compact and through it all ran the Vltava. In the summer, this is a water sport destination. Lots of canoes, kayaks and raft trips go through town. And in June there is a huge festival where they close the inner city and everyone dresses in Medieval costumes and participate in jousting tournaments and other festivities. It sounds like it would be a great time to go again.

After a long day of walking, we headed out of town and back to the bus. Settling in with our hot chocolates...the movie started and it was "Dirty Dancing"...haha...what else does a bunch of girls need for an entertaining ride home!!!

A great day trip.

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