After the madhouse of Prague I was looking forward to a more laid back weekend, and the quaint medieval town of Český Krumlov provided. The weather hasn’t been great, but that doesn’t detract from enjoying the atmosphere here. I’ve been looking forward to visiting ever since hearing from Mike and Amy of the The Chamborres Expedition (go read their blog!). In fact, I’ve ended up staying rather longer than my planned one or two nights, which could prove risky, as you’ll discover.
I messed up a bit with transport – the best way of getting to Český Krumlov from Prague is by bus, but I arrived at the bus station without a reservation and there were no seats available (one of the pitfalls of flexible planning) so I had to take a train. I changed at České Budějovice, the home of Budweiser (unfortunately not long enough to sample the beer), and took a local train from there. This proved to be an experience, as the train was rickety, the level crossings had no barriers, and most of the stops didn’t even have platforms, the passengers simply alighting directly into the village centres. On arriving at the final stop it took a short hike to reach the old town.
The decidedly cute town centre is nestled in one hoop of an S-bend in the Vltava river; a slightly younger region occupies the other hoop, and residential districts radiate out across the hills. Overlooking the settlement is a grand old castle, the largest outside Prague – prime real estate for a medieval nobleman.
The castle is composed of two separate buildings on a rocky outcrop, connected with a tiered bridge. When I wandered through the castle grounds the evening I arrived, there were very few people about, but I hear that tourists outnumber locals here in the summer. The following day I visited the museum, which was free that day, and I was able to get great views of the town and castle from the top of the tower.
I’m staying at a great little hostel, Krumlov House, where I received the warmest of welcomes and met some friendly fellow travellers from around the world. I expect them all to now be following the blog! This is without a doubt the most sociable hostel I’ve stayed in. Our host is a charming American woman who visited Český Krumlov for two days, and ended up staying for 18 years!
I can see why.