Saturday, October 11, 2014

Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

Český Krumlov is an amazing little Medieval town in the Southern Bohemian region of the Czech Republic.  I've seen the town described on several random websites as a "hidden gem," or one of Europe's "most picturesque towns."  I definitely have to agree with those descriptions.  I think Český Krumlov is one of the prettiest, most atmospheric towns that we've visited.  We made the five and a half hour drive due east to stay for three nights on one of Kyle's four day breaks.

We had a wonderful time with gorgeous fall-like weather which added to the coziness of the town.  I love visiting small towns like this since you don't feel the need to walk your feet off to try and see everything.  We spent our first full day and a half here strolling the narrow cobblestone streets, enjoying the sun and the views as well as the local food and drink. The town feels so quaint and cozy, and the air smells like wood smoke, making you feel that you've really stepped back in time.  The centerpiece of the town is a huge castle built over many different time periods, with the earliest part dating back to 1240.  The castle,especially the brightly painted tower, is incredibly picturesque.  I think Kyle must have taken over 100 photos of the castle alone!

View from our Pension, or B & B

We had dinner our first evening in an old stone cellar.  Very cozy!

One of our favorite snacks that we first had when we visited Prague a couple of years ago is called Trdelnik.  The dough is wrapped around a rolling-pin shaped mold, and is cooked over coals or a fire.  My favorites are the ones dipped in cinnamon and sugar.  Delish!

Gorgeous views from the castle gardens

Bears have been in the moat guarding the castle since the 16th century

Can't resist posting such cute pics of Gizmo!

Enjoying beer and dinner at the local Eggenberg brewery

The second evening there, some local musicians played folk music in the courtyard by the fire of our Pension.  It was wonderful relaxing by the fire and listening to the old Bohemian music!

On the third day of our trip we ventured into the Czech countryside to see the tiny village and UNESCO World Heritage site of Holašovice, with a population of just 136.  The town is very unique in that 23 private little farms or "estates" are set around a rectangular town square, or village green.  The estates are built in the whimsical rustic Baroque style.   It's a town that's off the beaten path, so it doesn't get a lot of visitors.  Very little of the town has changed since it was originally built.  There is one cafe and one restaurant/pension.  It's unlike anything we've ever seen!

He's actually harvesting with a sickle!
The town's other claim to fame is called Holašovický Stonehenge.  When we first read about the town and decided to come see it, we thought that we would be seeing an ancient stone circle.  While we did see a stone circle, it definitely was not ancient!  The stone circle was built in 2008.  (An actual Celctic settlement from 2nd century BC is about 10 km away, so it seemed plausible that it could have been real!)  People use the circle's energy to "positively affect 95% of the spectrum of pathological diseases," meditation, and to "eliminate pathogenic zones."  Kyle and I, however, used the circle to take pictures.  

I guess she's channeling the healing powers...

And so is he.

After enjoying the quiet town of Holašovice, we headed to the much larger capital of southern Bohemia, České Budějovice.  The city dates back to the 1200s.  While it definitely has some beautiful areas, it lacks the charm of Holašovice and Český Krumlov.  It was worth the stop since we were so close.  We walked the streets of the old town, and enjoyed a Budvar, since the town is the home of the Budweiser Budvar Brewery.  (The American Budweiser was originally brewed to imitate the Czech Budweiser beer.)  They had a large street festival set up, which was fun to see.

We enjoyed our last evening in the Czech Republic back in Český Krumlov. It's such an enjoyable little town!

Kyle and I are so glad that we were able to spend a good amount of time in Český Krumlov.  It is worth much more than a day trip from Prague!  The food and drink are excellent, the people are very friendly, prices are cheap and the atmosphere is wonderful!  I would not mind going back at all!

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