We got up early for our daytrip to Cesky Krumlov. We showered and finished packing (since we were leaving for Krakow tonight). We went down for breakfast and to drop off our bags, but Jiri (George) wasn’t there yet. We gave his phone a call, and he was on his way. He arrived, but no time for breakfast, we gave him our bags and rushed off to the bus station.
We took the subway, and quickly arrived at the station. We grabbed some tea and a pastry and headed for the bus. We had reserved seats. The bus wasn’t comfortable, but at least it was cheap.
The 3 hour journey was relatively uneventful. It was good to see the true suburbs of Prague and then the farmlands as we headed to Cesky Krumlov. We finally arrived at the bus station. It’s at the top of a large hill and after a short walk, we had a lovely panorama view of the town and the castle. There is a lovely river running through the town.
We descended the hill from the train station and it was like walking back in time (with a lot of touristy information around). The cobblestone streets and old buildings were amazing to see. The Baroque homes and the main square were a view into the past of this little town on the river.
We trekked up to the castle and looked around. There is a mote where they now house three bears. Of course, they were all hidden away in their dens. We then payed the fee to climb the Round Tower. These were wide staircases (nothing like Prague’s Powder Tower), and we made it to the top. The beautiful blue sky above the antique city looked like something from a fairy tale. We fought off the hordes of German tourists and went back down the stairs to the castles main square. We purchased tickets to a tour, and then headed back into town for lunch.
We had lunch at Na Louzi Restaurant (suggest by Rick Steve’s). Sheri had pork, cabbage and dumplings, and I had pork, ham, sausage, cabbage and 2 kinds of dumplings. Of course, we had beer again; ounce for ounce beer much cheaper than water (and better too, since there is so much Mineral Water and seltzer water in Europe–you never know what you’re getting). We relaxed at our table in front of the restaurant watching the horse drawn carriages go by, and we decided to skip our tour [so we were out $9].
We then toured the small town–visiting their many antique, handcraft and jewelry shops. Sheri ended up finding a garnet butterfly pin, and I bought a 180 year old garnet necklace for her–it was very delicate and lovely. We saw this kitschy bear cutout that you put your face and hands through–a German tourist was cackling continously, thinking how amusing it was (yeah… REALLY amusing). We also had hot chocolate–well… it was more like melted chocolate in a cup–very tasty.
We then headed back to the castle. The bears were out now. There was a male that paced a lot (a little disturbing to see). There were also two females sleeping and eating–the tourists ate it up. We went farther into the castle and watched the tours go by as we relaxed on the ramparts watching the city life below.
We went back down to the city, and soaked our feet in the Vlatva River (we didn’t have time for the raft ride from one part of town to another). It was very refreshing to our tired feet (still aching from the previous day’s run and touring). We strolled back to the terminal for our bus ride back to Prague. We stopped in a little park along the way and relaxed on the benches. A German Tour came through and invaded our corner of the park. A lady almost sat on Sheri, as she was listening to the guide and not really paying attention to Sheri’s “perosnal space” :)
The bus ride back to Prague was uneventful. We napped and read and watched the countryside. The bus headed back a different way, and we saw the same river that we ran along the day before. All of a sudden tthe tourbus stopped and some people got off. The driver then has to say “Fini” to get the tourists off the bus. The trip back ended up in a different train station. We figured out where we were, and then took the underground back to Guesthouse Lida.
George had waited late for our return, but still he offered us tea and cookies. We graciously accepted the offer for warm tea as the weather had definitely cooled. We finally took our leave, and thanked him and his brother for being such good hosts (we would definitely suggest the place to our friends).
We took the subway back to the bus station. Sheri remembered we needed some special stamp for our passport. But after waiting through the line, the person merely stamped our ticket and said proceed to the platform.
We hadn’t eaten, so Sheri grabbed a sausage and an Orange Fanta (which I had), and I bought a cheese sandwich for the train. We found our platform and the attendant ushered us to our private first class sleeping car. It was nice: bunk beds, and all wood. There was a sink, cabinet, folding seat… definitely the way to travel. We got settled in, and the train rumbled off to Poland.