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Czech Republic

a travel blog by aweasel

3 weeks in the Czech Republic
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Farilytales.... they so do exist!

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

After a 25 hour transit from Japan to Prague (via Vienna) I had a happy hello at Prague airport with Sarah and Vita it soon became clear that I was indeed in the Czech Republic. Things such as driving on the wrong side of the road, cobblestone streets and the Pivo (beer)! Houses snuggling the roadside with big walls, small windows and orange tiled roofs- images that I had imagined and seen in art were now in front of my eyes. I was in Europe!

After exploring Sarah's home town of Litomerice, we took a road trip to Cesky Krumlov, it lies about 270kms from home, and was a place out of a fairytale. I really couldn't believe that such places existed, away from a Hollywood set that is.

Nestled in the loop bend of a river there were rows of orange roofed buildings. Overlooking the town was the castle which sat on the hillside, from which you can see towers on buildings, spires and chimneys.

We walked from the town square, which had a fountain decorated with saints to warn off the plague, to the church where we heard the organ at full throttle. Along the narrow cobblestone streets there we saw no advertising or commercialism, that can often happen in places like these, cars shocked you and felt greatly out of place, where as a horse and a knight- I felt like I could have seen that!

The river was a hive of activity with canoeists entertaining the crowds, being on the river and celebrating the summer with a beer and a paddle is a Czech legacy. People eating and drinking in restaurants along the way called out 'Ahoy' to the paddlers which responded with a cheerful 'Ahoy', and sometimes a group song or two- which received great cheers from the crowd. At the overflow a rapid had been built and the crowds gathered to watch the rafters and canoeists attempt to navigate the rapids. Many perished and sunk into the knee deep depths, those who kept paddling as they sunk received the greatest of cheers!It was quite addictive to watch, like a Japanese game show, and I had to remind myself that I was there to see the historical sights, like the castle.

Buildings throughout Cesky Krumlov were a real highlight, in particular the castle. I had my first tour and was glad to sneak a peek into the worlds of times gone by. Buildings surrounding the castle were also highly decorated in a variety of period architecture (protected under the World Heritage Act), and were truly spectacular.

This place felt so old, a feeling that I just hadn't felt in Australia- feeling old..... this was taking it to a whole new level.

permalink written by  aweasel on August 11, 2009 from Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
from the travel blog: Czech Republic
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Canoe Trip

Prim, Czech Republic

Canoe Trip Czech Republic Style!

Well i had been prepared for a week of canoeing Czech Republic style.... well thought I was prepared. It turned out to be much much more!

It was a great trip crusing down the river, but lets say I don't know if you could call it canoeing, because we often rafted up and sat drifting down the river instead. As we sat, and they talked whilst i listened, plastic bottles of various beverages were passed around forming a lucky dip style of drinking, mostly of the alcoholic kind. It was quite the experience as drinking before 12noon is not really something that I do let alone before nine and to keep it up all day... ahh lets just say that I lacked the Czech stamina!

The scenery was beautiful and since I spoke no Czech then I just sat back relaxed and enjoyed the river passing by. The atmoshphere on the river is super friendly with passers by shouting 'Ahoy' to one another. There were people of all kinds on the river and rafting up with inknown boats to chat and share drinks was not uncommon or strange, but just part of the river culture.

Nights were spent camping and enjoying some fresh Pivo around the campfire. Yoscer would pull out his guitar and play amazing tunes whilst I sat and listened to strange lullabies from a different world. It was quite relaxing to be able to tune out of all conversations not understanding and not really caring, just being in the moment. Different for me being in a crowd and not talking!

So when heading on a Czech canoe trip go armed with lots of alcohol to share, a strong stomache for fried food (a staple at the pubs you stop at along the way), a relaxed vibe and.... be prepared to drift with the river rather than paddle! No exertion required!

permalink written by  aweasel on August 25, 2009 from Prim, Czech Republic
from the travel blog: Czech Republic
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