We departed from Prague and headed to the small town of Hluboká. Upon arrival to Hluboká we were let loose to find our own lunch, and were told to meet at the top of the hill at the castle later in the afternoon. So we wound our way around the town and found a small little restaurant that mainly served different kinds of game. Sarah had the duck, and it almost made me puke because they served it with the neck on it still. Disgusting. I stuck with fried cheese and fries, always a good choice. After lunch we walked around the cute little hillside town for awhile and finally made our way towards the castle, curving around and up the hill. It was quite a trek, but it was beautiful outside with blue skies and sun, so I couldn’t complain. Once arriving at the castle, it was pretty breathtaking so we walked around the grounds and took some photos of it, the white façade almost seemed to beam with energy in the sun.
We then had a guided tour of the interior, although sadly we couldn’t take pictures. This particular castle was owned by the Schwarzenberg family, they own a lot of castles throughout the Czech Republic, including Prague Castle. This family was very into hunting and would have massive hunting parties gather at this castle in Hluboká. Almost every square inch of the castle was covered with antlers or other animals that had been preserved by taxidermy. The architecture of the interior was completely amazing. There was so much detailed woodwork and beautiful ceramic fireplaces. We only got to go into a few rooms, but it was definitely a very cool experience. After leaving the castle it was back to the bus and on to České Budějovice for the Budweiser (Budvar) tour.
All of you State side people know Budweiser as the great American brewery complete with Clydesdales and the largest brewery in America, well in all actuality the Budweiser name was coined to this Czech beer long before Budweiser in the States existed. We got to tour the brewery and see where they brew the beer, bottle it, label it, and wash the recycled bottles. It was very cool. And then of course the best part came at the end when we got to have a tasting! The beer was so cold and delicious because it had just came out of the refrigerated storage tanks. After the brewery we headed on a walking tour of the city of České Budějovice. This city was so quaint and adorable I quickly fell in love with it.
We just spent a couple of hours strolling around. One of the trip leaders, Petra, had friends that lived in this city, two brothers that were amazingly nice enough to show us around the town a little bit. They told us a few little stories about the town, such as in the town square there is a stone and it’s called the lost stone, it is said if you step on it after 10p you will get lost and not make your way home that evening. So I stepped on it, but it was before 10p. J They then showed us a great place to get coffee and gelato and joined us for good conversation. It was a great afternoon spent with great people. Then again it was time to head back to the bus and on to our final destination of the trip, Český Krumlov.
By the time we arrived to Český Krumlov, it was dark, and we somehow had no idea where our hostel was. We wandered around the city for just a little while, on the way we crossed the Vltava and turned slightly on the bridge and were struck with the beautiful image of the castle built into the rock, it seemed to be all lit up just for us.
We finally snaked up a couple more roads and discovered our hostel, and were glad to drop our bags and have promise of food in the near future. Once we got a little settled and paperwork was taken care of, we chose our roommates and went up to make our beds and put our bags in the room. This may have been the cutest hostel I have ever stayed at. You walked upstairs to get to the rooms and it was almost like a little dollhouse. I ended up sharing a room with Disa, Anna, Rachel, Sarah, Christoph, Daniel, and Torbjörn. We made our way back downstairs and it took forever to be served dinner, and it was cold and not good, so we quickly ordered big beers and started having a good time. After having a few beers at the hostel, our trip leaders took us to a little night club just a block or so away from our hostel. It was your typical small town Czech night club; we are coming to know them a little too well. Slightly creepy, filled with townies, and not fun until you have had a few. At this point I will mention our awesome bus driver who came to the club with us. She was probably 40 or so and hilarious, she kept dancing on everyone and buying everyone shots, and was completely wasted! So basically our group took over the club by dancing in a huge circle on the tiny dance floor and kept requesting ridiculous American music like Katy Perry and Lady GaGa. At some point us girls from my room decided to make our exit and head back to the hostel, we ended up staying up late and having girl talk while the boys were still at the club. At some point we all fell asleep and Christoph came back and woke us up by somehow breaking the door handle, and then we all fell asleep again, and then Tobbe and Daniel woke us up by the door handle falling again. Morning definitely came too early, but we were excited to walk around the beautiful little town. We had a guided tour that morning of Český Krumlov.
It was so incredibly beautiful that it’s so hard for me to put into words! It is my new favorite city, second to Prague of course. The cobblestone streets just weave in and out as the Vltava beautifully curves back and forth carving the city into its little shape with the castle at the top of the hill looming over the city, but beautifully built into the hill. The walking tour took us all around the city, and then up to the castle and through the many courtyards there. The view from the castle was absolutely breathtaking, just looking down on all of the little red roofs, with the river curving around, and the mountains in the distance. It was definitely nothing short of amazing.
After our tour we were set free to walk around the city for a few hours. We found a great Italian restaurant to eat at, and then just moseyed around the town enjoying the wonderful sunshine and discovering little niches of the city. We hopped in and out of little shops finding some great things; my first find was a Czech cookbook that was actually in English! I was so excited. As we made our way back to the hostel, we had some time to kill and realized there was an art gallery right down the street. We wandered in and discovered they had some really small prints of local art all matted and ready to frame. We rifled through the stacks, finding some really great prints of Prague and Český Krumlov. I always love finding local art from the city I am in, and this made my trip ten times better. We then met back at the hostel to get our bags and headed back to the bus and back to our beloved Praha. It’s always nice to get back to Praha, I can’t believe how much it feels like home these days.
When I returned to Prague I was definitely excited to have a package from my mom! Of course the most important part of the package was the medicine she sent me, but let’s not forget the 2 boxes of Girl Scout cookies! And of course my favorites Thin Mints & Peanut Butter Patties! I love you MOM!
Here's more photos from the trip.
Until next time.....I love you all, miss you more than you know, and am still having the time of my life.