10.08.2013 - 12.08.2013 24 °C
We knew we wanted to see more of the Czech Republic other than just the tourist hub of Prague, so Nick decided to do some research, which basically amounted to logging onto the Czech Tourist Board website seeing a picture of Cesky Krumlov Castle and decided we were staying there. Cesky Krumlov is tiny and so beautiful it is frequently used as a film location, most famously for being the setting of the gory horror film Hostel (even though in the film they claim it is Slovakia). So two hours on the poshest coach you have ever seen (it was like being on a plane with your own touchscreen TV with films, games etc and free hot drinks!) we arrived and within minutes of walking through the UNESCO World Heritage protected town we knew we had made the right decision!
We checked straight into our hostel; Hostel Skippy (http://www.hostelskippy.webs.com) which was lovely, although slightly odd as it was more of a guesthouse than a hostel as the owner lived there too so at times it felt like you were invading her home. She was lovely though and so helpful giving advice on where to go and what to do. We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the narrow cobbled streets, over the bridges, watching people rafting on the river and getting our bearings. We also took the stroll up to the Castle which sits perched on a hill top over-looking the town. It is one of the largest Medieval castles in Europe (second only to Prague's!) and unfortunately has 3 smelly, depressed looking bears living in it's tiny moat for no real reason.
The kitchen in our hostel was tiny (not really a kitchen at all with just a hob and sink), so we decided to eat out as it was so cheap. After walking around we found a really nice looking (and very busy) restaurant http://www.satlava.cz/page.php?sectid=satlava&artid=1&lang=en&mode=normalwhere everything was cooked over the open fire pit. The food was beautiful, I had lamb chops with amazing potato pancakes and Nick had 1KG of pork knuckle - the thing was huge but delicious cooked to perfection (I of course stole a chunk)! All this and 2 pints for only £16 (500 Koruna). We then took a late night stroll around the town which is even more beautiful at night when it is all lit up.
The next day we did a walking tour (as is becoming customary when visiting a new town). Our guide was a native of Cesky Krumlov which was really nice as she was very knowledgeable. The town is small so there wasn't lots of walking but the history and the buildings were fascinating. The town apparently only became the glorious old town it is today just 23 years ago. You could purchase one of the 3 story buildings in a prime location for only €1000 + a lot of maintenance. Today you will have to pay €400,000 for the same property. In renovating the houses they discovered some hidden gems like frescos and sgraffito work behind layers of plaster and so once all the buildings were finished a beautiful town re-emerged.
After the tour we ate out for lunch instead of the usual homemade ham and cheese sandwiches we have become used to and then did a little mooching around, finding "the hostel" from Hostel, which is actually an old monastery and trying Trdelník a traditional cake, sweet pastry with chocolate in the centre (not healthy). Finally we had to return back to the hostel to do some much needed booking of accommodation for our next stop Bratislava. Later that evening we again treated ourselves to a meal out before enjoying another evening walk in the moon light.
Our final morning was spent packing, checking out and treating ourselves (again) to food, this time with a proper breakfast for once! Then it was time to make our way to the bus station to catch another Student Agency Bus back to Prague, then a connecting one to Bratislava, Slovakia.