Friday, February 24, 2012

cesky krumlov

Sorry these trip posts seem to take so long coming, but this is finally the last one from our vacation last December. When we first chose Prague as our destination I initially thought we'd have time to explore a bit more of the country. But then we decided to visit Dresden as well, and so we'd only have 2 or 3 days left to visit somewhere else.

After a bit of research and reading my travel guide, I came upon this description of Cesky Krumlov: "Crowned by a stunning castle, and centred on an elegant old-town square, the Renaissance and Baroque buildings of Cesky Krumlov enclose the meandering arc of the Vltava River. During summer, countless photographic memory cards are filled as pigeons dart through busloads of day-tripping tourists exploring the town's narrow lanes and footbridges. Either side of July and August the town is (slightly) more subdued and secluded. Come in winter to experience the beauty of the castle blanketed in snow. (...) In 1992, Cesky Krumlov was granted Unesco World Heritage status."

I mean, how could we not go there, right ? So we decided to rent a car in Prague and drive down, and maybe even stop and visit some other sights along the way. Of course, the airline strike kind of messed up our plans and in the end we only had one full day to make the trip. We went anyway, kind of crazy I know, but we thought it was worth it.

I need to tell you a story though, about the rent-a-car place. The car rental prices in Prague seemed to be substantially more expensive than what we are used to in other places in Europe, and after some comparisons we decided to make a reservation at Avis for a short rental. Even so, it would cost us about 240 EUR for just 2 days. While in Prague I read about a local car agency, Vecar, which seemed to offer much better prices. I contacted them by e-mail and they were quite prompt in their reply, and indeed the price was less than half the price quote from Avis. On the day we came back from Dresden we took a taxi to their office which was not in central Prague but a bit further away (advice: if taking a taxi from the train station don't ever accept the price that is given to you at first. Bargain at least two or three times before settling on a price.). Upon arriving there we were very surprised to discover that the office was actually what seemed like the owners' home (there was a desk on the entrance hall where we were received, but next to it we could see the kitchen). This had never happened to us before but I guess there's a first time for everything. We thought it was quite peculiar and amusing though. It took a while to get all the paperwork done, and even more time to get the car, after about an hour and a half I think before we were on our way. So I would not recommend this if you need a quick and efficient service, or if you're particular about the cars you rent (these are usually not new cars, the one we got was probably 5 or 6 years old), but if you're looking for something cheaper and don't mind waiting a little for service then this is a good option.

I took us a little over two hours to get to Cesky Krumlov, quite reasonable even though it was rainy and the roads not in the best of conditions. It is a picture perfect postcard place, as you can see. We wish we could've had a few more hours to visit the inside of the castle, but even so the place is so small you can visit everything by foot in a day easily. It was quite empty at this time of the year, but I can imagine this would be swamped with tourists during the summer.

Places to eat: we enjoyed a really nice dinner at The Two Marys, a Bohemian restaurant with a cozy atmosphere that serves traditional Czech food and drinks. The food was very, very good (just take a look at the menu) and A. says their mead was one of the best he had.
The next day we discovered the Egon Schiele Museum Café and had our 2nd breakfast there, while Sara played with the numerous plush toys available. They had a great children's room too. It's funny how we never notice these things when we don't have kids but suddenly it's such a nice thing to find when we do.

:: someone was a bit grumpy that day ...
:: but she soon was in a  better mood ...

:: the castle at night

:: dinner at The Two Marys
:: view from our apartment
:: C. Krumlov had some of the best children's shops I've ever seen, full of marvelous wooden toys

:: view from the castle
:: an inner courtyard of the castle

:: we asked a passer-by to take a photo of us three with the castle in the background, but clearly he was in a rush and didn't wait for us to pose. Even so, I find I quite like this photo
:: Botanicus, one of my favorite shops in the Czech Republic
:: Egon Schiele Museum Café, the perfect ending to our trip


Marta said...

As suas viagens são tão inspiradoras que me dão vontade logo de fazer as malas e embarcar, obrigada pela partilha.

Enviei lhe há tempos um email acerca da sua loja mas nao obtive ainda resposta, se for possivel faze lo agradeço.

Tessa said...

It looks so beautiful, and I've never even heard of it before! Somewhere else to add to my list! You take such gorgeous photos - I enjoy looking at them so much. I'm looking forward to your next trip report already, wherever it may be - you're sure to make me want to go there too!

Charlotte said...

A really nice blog. Never been here before, but have been reading for hours today. Have a nice weekend!

Greetings from the artic.

Maria Nunes said...

I loved that town :-) I was there but just for one day (a day tour from Prague.
Your photos are great!!
And the photo of the three of you is a great photo :-)

Faith said...

I LOVE this post! Great pictures (I also prefer the candid one outside the castle). I don't know if we can go to this same place on my sister trip there, but I'll have to mention it to my sister who lives there now - she may be interested in exploring it on her own.