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Czech-ing Cesky Krumluv

October 18, 2007

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Peeking out a famous castle window at lovely, authentic Cesky Krumluv, one of the prettiest towns in the Czech Republic (and another Unesco World Heritage Site), added fun for Mozart in our long climb to the formal gardens on top of the hill. It is very close to the Austrian border, but because we spent extra time
in Hallstatt, we only spent a day here since the weather was pushing us at a faster pace than our usual slower style. We are feeling the restrictions more like most tourists with a two week holiday and do not care for the limitations, but such is life.

We meant to get to these more northern areas earlier in the season and now October is already upon us. We had earmarked Italy for all of October, but life has a way of interfering with our plans, that are really only good ideas, subject to change. So far the weather has been holding up, but we know our days are numbered now and things become more challenging as the weather moves into the fall pattern.

On a small road that was very near to Cesky Krumlov, we came across a slum like area that surprised us. The people were very poor and sad looking with very dark hair and eyes. I am not sure if they were gypsies or an immigrant population, but it reminded me of places in the United States in inner cities, where you look to make sure your door is locked. We have not driven through any areas exactly like this in Europe, so it did make us wonder about what we were in for in the Czech Republic and Eastern Europe.

Perhaps it was just a hidden pocket that most do not see though, as we drove all through this country and this was the only place that we saw like that. We were relieved to reach nearby Cesky Krumlov which was lovely. Still it was strange to see this dilapidated town so close by and it left an indelible impression.

Rosy hued, medieval Cesky Krumlov is one of the most picturesque towns in Europe and is a tourist magnet in the high season as it is an easily accessible day trip from Linz, Austria. The sprawling chateau is on a high ridge above the river and the old town occupies the center of a bend in the Vltava River.

They say that the Cesky Krumlov castle is second only to Prague castle in size and opulence. It was rebuilt in the 16th century by Italian architects as a huge Renaissance chateau. I really enjoyed all of the trompe l'oeil art on the outside walls, but after seeing so much of the real thing in Salzburg, DaVinci did not care for it. We all really loved the gardens up at the very top that was brilliantly dressed in its fall colors.

One thing that Mozart really loved was the big brown bear that has a home in the mote below the main gate. That is not something that you see every day and did seem apropos for Eastern Europe, although the politically correct way to define this area now is Central Europe, not Eastern.

I was in Eastern Europe in 1988 on a trip with a peace group to the former USSR and we did not see this area, but I can still see things have changed immensely. Still there remains a vast difference between what we tend to think of as Western Europe and the new “Central” Europe and it is more obvious in the smaller towns. Hallstatt and Cesky Krumlov are physically quite close, both are very beautiful, but they are worlds apart.


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Elliott Ng

Looks idyllic! I've wanted to go to this town for a long time.

Marlana

Where did u stay while here?

Jeanne @soultravelers3

We did not stay over night here, but in a campground close by I think Budvar.

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