As I mentioned on Favorite Photo Friday, I’ve been going through older pictures, especially of our European trip in 2014, before we left for China. Well I decided that I wanted to share more than just a few pictures, so I’m going to try to write some of our favorite experiences from that monthlong trip. One of the highlights of that trip was our time spent in Český Krumlov.
Český is a small medieval town with an exceptionally large castle. Set upon a large rock outcropping the castle dominates the smaller city below it. The layout of both the city and the castle create imaginative opportunities to take pictures. By accident, we happened to arrive in the city during the Five-Petalled Rose Celebrations, which is a festival that brings back the feel of the Renaissance with local artisans and processions of people clad in old raiment. The gathering created an electric atmosphere with captivating sights, but did cause one small problem, all the English tours of the castle were booked for our time there. Therefore we had to make a decision, we could join a Czech speaking tour or skip out on seeing the castle. In truth, I really wanted to see the inside of the castle, so I pushed for us to take the tour.
As I had imagined the interior was stunning, however, disappointingly you couldn’t take pictures of the interior. All of the old stonework, ancient paintings, and intricate carvings drew the eye and made us forget that we couldn’t understand anything the tour guide was saying. One of the most fascinating parts of the tour was the long, uneven walkway that was built between two parts of the castle. You see, there is a large gap between the rocks that the castle was built on, so the builders had to design an elaborate bridge over the gap. However, time has shifted things around so that the hallway built into the bridge looks like the entrance to a fun house at a carnival. The floor seemingly moving in waves the length of the bridge.
After our tour we wandered through the castle gardens, which gave a sweeping panorama of the city below. I loved the view of the red rooftops juxtaposed with the green rolling hills in the background. Having soaked in the view of the city from above we headed down to delve deeply into the alleys and walkways of the city itself. Český has endless cobbled streets surrounded by wonderfully redone medieval buildings. You can get lost wandering for hours, which we did, and never truly feel frustrated because of the beauty of the place. There are also an abundance of restaurants to choose from, with quite a few of them having seating areas next to the river.
The following day we embarked on a journey down the river by canoe. What’s great about the canoe journey is that you start in the heart of the city, so you get to whisk by the shops, restaurants, and castle as you head out into the country. Once past the city it’s just an endless expanse of green. High grass starting at the river’s edge leading up the hills to towering trees swaying in the breeze. This canoe trip was probably one of the best experiences of the entire trip. The sun was shining and everyone was in high spirits. On the river you can choose to break up the trip by stopping in a few designated rest areas. Some of them have restaurants and shops to supply you with picnicking material. We decided to stop at one such area for a quick bite to eat and to lounge around in the grass.
Český Krumlov was one of my favorite destinations and a place that I highly recommend. In fact, a friend of mine was going to Prague this past summer and asked me about other places he should visit and I immediately said Český. I told him that it’s a bit out-of-the-way from Prague and that there is no train to the city itself but that it’s a truly magical place.