We arrived in Cesky Krumlov from Prague by afternoon 3 p.m. We were dropped at Krumlov’s only bus stand, which about 10 min walk away from the town centre Square i.e. the Centrum square.
The Traveller’s hostel is housed in a centuries old Krumlov house, that has a long history and used to belong to a trader at first. It is a nice little place, quite expensive for backpackers but thats the kind of pricing Krumlov has in general (32 Euros per night). Washrooms are not attached to rooms, but you can try your chances to use that nice little private one on 3rd floor, we kept trying our luck both the days we were there ;). It has a nice common Kitchen, which is quite well equipped with appliances and cutlery for use. Rooms are slightly claustrophobic, but one can imagine them as cozy in chilly winters.
After making some oats in the kitchen to have our late lunch, we headed to book our shared cab for the next day, to salzburg, we suspected seats may run out. Just a walk into next alley outside hostel the taxi office was right there. Luckily there were 2 seats available on next day taxi at 4 p.m. anything earlier than that was already booked. There is no other way to reach Salzburg, atleast not an easier one from Krumlov. We paid 800 Kc/30 euros (according to rates that day) per head.
After that we wandered around Krumlov’s tiny streets and enjoyed the little shops with nifty things. We walked up to the open areas of the Castle, also the huge garden that evening, most of it so surreal – I wanted to just stay there couple of hours. Its open till 7 p.m. daily without any entrance charges.
Next day we did the free walking tour, and our guide informed us that the amphitheatre inside the gardens is functional upto September 15 every year, we were 10 days late, or else as described by him the show is quite a thing. He also mentioned an ongoing debate among authorities to close it down due to various difference in ideas. So catch it before its gone!
Details of our walking tour are as follows:
Our tour was conducted by Ondrej, who unlike our Prague tour guy was not a local(refer my Prague trip). It worked better for tourists because Ondrej knew exactly what interests tourists, to know the amusing stories about a place, and probably not its shortcomings.
1. That is a hand painted life size map of small town of Cesky Krumlov on Traveller’s Hostel wall I was staying at. Krumlov is a beautiful little hamlet whose actual shape, as you can see, is defined by the River running around it.
2. The Centrum Square, where our tour commenced, a landmark that acts as a measuring point of how far or guiding point to where you need to go find something. Interesting stories about this place are numerous. Like this square has trees growing in it during the brief summer they have. Like the price of a house near this square in 1991 was as low as $2000, now its obviously gone up as high as $200,000!
3. The name of the square as the signboard says “Nam Svornosti”, is changed once every year. In the month of May, Cesky Krumlov has a peculiar traditional belief, that kissing your girlfriend under the cherry tree that grows on the square, keeps her fresh for rest of year. Thus, they change the sign boards for the month of May to call it something else. As our guide said, in May, you’ll find a lot of couples kissing at the square, and probably some lost tourists who can’t find the damn street given in their maps!
4. Walking away from square, you will spot the castle tower, The Ves, that requires you to buy a ticket worth 150 Kc to walk up and get a panoramic view of Krumlov.
5. A church and a Music school we visited during the tour. The Music school is supposedly haunted, and you will enjoy an animated story told by the guide. You are also welcomed to volunteer and stay over in the building at night 😉
6.Narrow streets of Krumlov, apparently that handle large amount of vehicular and people traffic in the tourist season. We were there at a good time i.e. September, very very less tourists. Delight!
7.As you are guided around the town, there are 2 peculiar things you may not notice on the walls. First is the style of tile painting done, another is the fake windows that are painted to fulfil a wierd compulsion of symmetry for the architects. There are 2 styles of painting the tiles, Moravian or Renaissance facade which gives a 3D feel to the tile & Bohemian or Renaissance painting which is done on wet plaster itself.
8.On entering the Castle campus, this is an open viewpoint to take amazing pictures and gaze over Krumlov, while a cafe here serves you Beer.
9.A long closed bridge built to connect the entrance courtyard, and the garden, for lazy Kings and Princes who did not want to walk all the way, would be carried by horses or some vehicle.
10.Entrance to the actual castle has this bridge under which there are wild bears in an enclosure. As told, as prevelant practice Nobles liked to keep wild animals in castle premises to showcase their opulance and ofcourse..nobility. The tradition has been carried on. Sad for the captive bears.
We also had some interesting landmarks shown over the tour that I missed to click a picture of, like the house that had 3 different styles of architecture built on it on every added storey. Also a cloth dying company that was being run in earlier centuries and their ingenious solution to fit a certain machine through the door (you may not notice it unless Ondrej tells you!). There was also a story about a faking Alchemist who owned a very big mansion, it was currently being renovated for a hotel to function in next few months.
We also did the tour inside the Castle, which costs about 240 Kc, it happens 2-3 times a day. You aren’t allowed to take any pictures inside, but as a brief I can say there are lots and lots of paintings and art, on the walls, on canvas and some stuffed bears that died within the enclosures of this castle. It is a nice tour, better than Prague Castle 😛
You can catch few glimpses of these on my instagram @suruchika, as I chose to click them on my phone instead.
While in Czech, you’ll know about its most famous foods like Tredlnik and fried cheese. Though I had tried the first one in Prague, I had missed out on fried cheese. Krumlov’s quaint tiny little eateries are an excellent choice to enjoy supper. On my last night in Czech, I finally had the chance to taste Fried cheese, and it was superb. Trust me it isn’t anything like you will imagine it, savoury and filling.
On our taxi from Krumlov to Salzburg, the guy who was driving us was quite knowledgeable and kept telling us a lot about Krumlov’s history, Czech politics and things like that. It was nice!
On our route, just 5 kms from Krumlov there is a industrial town, which is complete opposite of Krumlov, so ugly. He said, it was built by the communists in the time when Czech had communist leaders, and they never cared about beauty or culture in the first place. The town currently houses all the hippies who are basically good for nothing and do not do anything ever for a living. Also we were shown some summer homes, where local people come down to fish in the river and have a relaxing time. Surreal… everything.
Krumlov was a beautiful experience, and I would recommend this place to everyone atleast once.