Monday, November 2, 2015

Europe 2015 Day 4 - Medieval Cesky Krumlov

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps / Europe 2015 / Day 4 - Medieval Cesky Krumlov    |     Go to D1 D2 / D3D5 / D6 / D7 / D8 / D9 / D10 / D11 / D12&13
                Footsteps - Jotaro's Travels                   
Europe 2015 Day 4 - Medieval Cesky Krumlov
Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic - 27th September 2015
Our stay at Český Krumlov was one of the most memorable times during our tour of Europe. It's historic centre exudes an old world charm that brought back memories of a previous visit to another similar town, Sienna in Italy.

This is page 4 of a 12-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.

Go to Previous Day              |         Go to Other Days         |             Go to Next Day>

Map showing our travel for the day in Český Krumlov.

In the early morning we said our goodbyes to Prague; we had had a good three days here and loved the city. Though we left with a tinge of mellowness we were also looking forward to our next destination, Český Krumlov. Much have been said about this historical town, on how well it had maintained it's medieval quaintness.

After an hour and a half drive, as we approached the historical centre of the town, a pink tower grabbed our attention. This was the tower of Český Krumlov Castle, one which we would be visiting later.

The van that had picked us up at Prague dropped us at the Pension Galko. Yahoo! We will be staying at the historical centre itself! It was too early to check in but lucky for us one of the rooms was already available. We dumped all our luggage there and were ready to hit the town.
On our way into the town, we noticed many signboards advertising "Pension this" & "Pension that" and got the impression that the town must be a quiet, slow-pace one where pensioners come to retire. Oops! We were wrong, not about the nice slow pace but about the pensioners. "Pension" is Czech meaning a small hotel or boarding house, one offering rooms but no meals.

Our first introduction to the town.... was a bread!
Just outside our "pension" was a lady running a stall, slowly rolling out and deep-frying these Cinammon Rolls (called Trdelink there).

This cute looking roll is a nice yeast pastry, fluffy with a crispy skin coated with some sugar.

We took a slow stroll, heading for the Town Square, slowly admiring the medieval buildings that have been maintained in almost the same conditioned as they were a couple of centuries back. Apart from repairs done to damaged by the Second World War and floods, no new buildings have been added to this historic town centre since then; and in listed as an UNESCO Heritage Site which will further ensure that it's pristine old world form and culture will be continued. Okay... there was a new building added but it was torn down later as resident felt it did not fit in!

At the town square there was a carnival like atmosphere with stalls ringing its perimeter. I am not sure whether this is a regular thing, or perhaps a weekend thing as we were there on a Saturday. The stalls sold novelty local items like house-craft, hand-made cloths, sausages, etc. A few stalls sold local food for visitors to savour.

It was just around 10:00am, so we ordered some sausages for a late breakfast that came with some bread, spicy radish and strong mustard. The sausages were good, as good as the German ones. I liked it as it was meaty and with some fat that brought out a good aroma and strong porky flavours. Need I say that we finished it all... even the spicy radish!

That meal, though light, will come in useful as we have much walking to do - we had joined the Wiseman free walking tour. It's easy to recognise their guides, they carry red umbrellas and usually wear a red shirt.... no, the lady in the above photo is not the guide, she is Adele, our co-traveller. Perhaps she loved Český Krumlov so much and wanted to stay on as a guide. Our guide was Jean, (the handsome guy next to her). he was very knowledgeable of the town, it's buildings, history and even local gossips handed down the centuries by word of mouth.

Our tour took us through the narrow and sometimes stepped street of the town. It's a good thing too as because of this there are few motor vehicles in Český Krumlov. Just for note, except for some vehicles that are allowed in for delivery of goods and tourists, no other cars or motorcycles are allowed in.

Those narrow lanes led up to the St. Vitus Church. Though not as elaborated and celebrated as the one in Prague Castle, it none-the-less has its own simple beauty.

From one of the higher platforms of the church, there is a beautiful panoramic view of the Český Krumlov Castle. In front of it is the St. Jost Church with its spire topped up by a double dome of Bohemian design.

House of 
Jean also too us to houses and shared with us the folklore and tales have been passed down through the centuries associated with those houses.

..... to the local brewery where in the cellar a wax-statue of a man in uniform is frozen in his enjoyment of the brew.

What attracted us too was the local life, like this street performer, that add their intrinsic charm to the town. Oops... he does not have a real dancing monkey, so a toy monkey will to do as he grinds out his music!

 I was attracted too to the street displays like the one above that brought back old façades of the town's history.....

... and shop windows that show-cased the talents of the local cottage industry.

The girls were having fun of their own, posing with cute presentations by the town's business. Above, they are with the giant thumbs sculptures at Koh I Noor, a shop specializing colour pencils and had a range designed with thumbs as holders. They even had a door handle shaped like a thumb.

... and a bit of butt fun at Hotel Zlatý Anděl!

We continued on to the bridge across the Vltava that will lead us onwards to the castle. At the centre of the bridge is a large statue of Jesus crucification on the cross. Should one be there could be a musician playing stirring romantic ballads there; these songs together with the calm surrounding of the castle in the background, made it just right for a romantic pose under Jesus's watchful eyes.

On the other side of the bridge were these beautiful houses running along the riverside. As we entered the castle, we looked out for Bruno, the castle's resident bear living down in the moat. He was in a sulky mood, perhaps he is hungry... methinks he longs for freedom.

Český Krumlov Castle has five courtyards; at the second courtyard is where the uniquely pastel pink tower shoot up from.

At the Upper Castle, as one crosses over to the royal gardens, was one of the best view of the town.

The castle gardens is divided into two tiers and an elaborate fountain divides the lower garden from the upper garden with steps at the sides leading up.

The lower garden has low, knee-high hedges; while the upper garden have tall hedges. Within the sections surrounded by the hedges are pockets of colourful flowers.

In the upper garden is this one of a kind open rotating amphitheatre. It turns on an axis so that the audience can view plays that are acted out in different sections of the garden.
(.... see more of Cesky Krumlov Castle).

Fountain with statues and tall mast at Cesky Krumlove Main Square.
So absorbed were we by the castle that we did not realized it was way passed noon until our growling stomachs alerted us.... "Hey! It's time to eat!". So down we went back to the main square.

By then more stalls had been put up, may were selling local handicrafts and cottage goods.....

... but our hungry stomachs steered us in the directions of this fellow's stall. He was slowly barbecuing chicken and pig knees on a grille. Those large pork knees does look good!

So we ordered a few for each couple to share. Up close they looked even much bigger, huge in fact. Yup, they looked appetizing. But those plastic forks and knives provided were just to flimsy to use in eating this handsome chunk.

So there we were eating with our hands like some medieval peasants.... eaten with our hands was most convenient as we could get to those niches near the bones where the flesh was the sweetest.

We hung around a bit - while the girls went "shopping" at the stalls, we guys watched a performance presented by the locals at a make-shift stage. It was a re-enactment of the town's past history. Behind the stage, a blacksmith was heating up some iron bits and hammering out his wares (such as door knockers, etc).
Lunch and show-time over, we took a short walk to work off the meal and retired to our "Pension" for a siesta. Perhaps we should have explored the town more... go visit the brewery again and see how they brew their beer. But it had been a hectic past few days, and we melded into the slow pace of life here and dozed off.

Evening came, we woke up... and so did our tummies. They had started growling again... Hmmmm... did we not just take lunch? In the colder weather, one does tend to get hungry fast and eat more. So out we popped, back to the main square, this time looking for some Chinese food.
It was a tale of two Chinese cities for us, i.e. Shangha & Peking. The first one we entered, Shanghai Restaurant,  was full of Chinese tourists, the busy waitress, seeing that they could not accommodate us rudely and almost literally shoved us out. Fortunately, the other one (Peking Restaurant) was half-full and we ended up having a good meal there; one of their good dishes was this Stewed Pork Ribs; done nicely with tender meat in a sweet-salty gravy.

To go with our meal, we had this Chrysanthemum tea that was made more colourful by the orangish-red herbs that were added in.

After dinner we walked around a bit, but by then most of the shops had closed and the town was quiet, almost deserted except for a few odd tourist (like us) walking around.
Not wanting to be any more odd, we went back and got ready to retire for the day when suddenly we heard somebody running and shouting. Out from our window we saw this man, clad in medieval garbs, running around with a torch and then went to a tank nearby, dumped the torch in, mumbled something, and ran back towards the main square.
Later he came running up again... and I went running down from our room, hoping to catch hold of him to see what he was up too. But he was too fast and I just managed to see him running fleetingly by back to the square. Later we were learned that the following day was a special festival day for the town, and this fellow was performing some sort of local ritual. It was just too bad that we had to leave Český Krumlov early the following day and thus missed the town's celebration.

The evening's "action" over, we lazed around; in the quiet calmness of the town we could hear frogs croaking and insects chirping away, their repetitive sound slowly humming us to sleep.

(For more photos of the day Click Here)

This is page 4 of a 12-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.

Go to Previous Day              |         Go to Other Days         |             Go to Next Day>

Related Blogs :
You may also like :

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps / Europe 2015 / Day 4 - Medieval Cesky Krumlov    |     Go to D1 D2 / D3 / D5 / D6 / D7 / D8 / D9 / D10 / D11 / D12&13
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
(comments most welcomed below. if you like this pls share via Facebook or Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment