Thursday, 25 July 2013

The Magic of Cesky Krumlov

Just across the Austrian border, in the Czech Republic lies the Unesco World Heritage site of Cesky Krumlov. Before heading here I’ll admit that I had never heard of the place before. Another rarity was that I hadn’t even done any research on the location and I really didn’t know what to expect. With this in mind it was with a real sense of delight that felt upon entering the imposing fairy tale fortress city. 

Entering under the aqueduct gate, I was presented with a wonderful town fashioned from narrow cobbled streets that climb, twist and fall. There is also a rapid river circling the city filled with canoeists paddling and drifting their way along the river.

Crossing the bridge over the white water I began to search out a route to the imposing castle that overlooks the town. As if bewitched, I followed the sound of pipe music and climbed up to the castle grounds. Guarding the entrance in a dry moat are three bears. As the temperature today was over thirty degrees they had wisely decided to sleep in the shade instead of being on guard duty. It’s worth pointing out that the bears had a huge enclosure and were mainly left to their own devices. There certainly wasn’t anyone forcing them to come out into the heat or do any kind of performance.

Once in the castle grounds it was time to enter the tower and climb the one hundred and fifty or so steps to ge the best view across the city. Most places in the town accept Euros but places such as the castle, tower and museum require Czech currency to enter. None are very expensive and a combined ticket for the museum and castle works out to be about four pounds.

Having enjoyed the views from the top it was time to find somewhere to eat. I stumbled across a place called Papa’s on the winding road back down to the town. Specialising in Italian food, the real treat here is to get a table by the river. Here you can watch the canoeists as they thunder by and shout up to you as they pass. 

As well as the good food and ambience there is a selection of rum based cocktails on offer (the Elderflower one is particularly good). Everything is also decent value with two meals with drinks costing around twenty Euros. Meals with beef as a main ingredient will cost somewhat more however.

There are also cocktail stalls around the town selling a variety of drinks for a stupidly cheap sum. On a warm day like it was it seemed a shame not to invest in a couple and sit down by the river for a while. Drinks drunk and the sun fading it was time to leave this enchanting town. I’d never heard of it before but it proved to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. You really should add it to your list of desired destinations as well.

1 comment:

  1. What a fascinating town in a beautiful setting! I was especially intrigued by the three bears guarding the bridge - at first, I thought we'd entered one of Charles Perreault's fairy tales - and the stalls that sell cheap drinks around the city. Your article makes Cesky Krumlov sound like a romantic, adventurous destination, and your photos are spectacular.