Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
June 7th and 8th 2010

Cesky Budejovice
June 9th 2010 day time

Jack and Mel

I was a 60 year old for two days. I hung out with Jack, Mel, Kevin, and Heather while in Cesky Krumlov. The youngest of the group besides myself was Jack, who turned 60 this year. The rest were in the upper 60s. It was weird but fun at the same time because old people just don’t give a f***. Jack (Michigan) was farting loudly the whole time we were up in the hills, while Mel (Denver) wore a squeaky breathing apparatus that woke people up at night while he slept in our dorm. Kevin and Heather (Tasmania) were a married couple and I only got to know them for an evening but I’m sure they have their own little “we don’t give a f***” quirks. I know I would once I hit 60 years.

When I first decided to visit Krumlov, I was hoping it would be a very small town with very few tourists. But it was the opposite. This little town had a lot of tourists for its size. It depended on tourists or it would cease to exist. Restaurants, riverside pubs/cafes, and souvenir shops made up 90% of the shops in this city. Tourists were mostly Asian tour groups (Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea from the languages I overheard). There were a couple of young people around but the majority were older folk. I guess the fact that Krumlov is on the UNESCO World Heritage list and in most guide books didn’t help it keep a low profile.

I came here determined to try other kinds of beers and foods I haven’t tried so far and I wasn’t disappointed. First meal I had there was roast pork, Czech dumplings, sauerkraut, red cabbage with a pint of local Eggenberg beer. Dinner was a whole roast pork knee cooked over an open fire in a former jail turned tavern and some Budvar (the ORIGINAL Budweiser). Lunch the next day was roast pork neck with a glass of Eggenberg beer. Dinner was ribs with Galinius beer. As you can tell, I ate a LOT of pork. Czech cuisine is meat and beer heavy. Basically, perfect. Also, it’s so bloody cheap! $6-7 got you a whole meal and pint of beer!

There wasn’t much to do in this lazy town. I covered almost the entire area in half a day. I couldn’t go rafting solo on the Vltava River so I spent the time snoozing on a bench beside the river. Went to the Eggenberg brewery tour, drank free beer. Walked around taking pictures of Krumlov castle. Watched the sunset on a hill with an abandoned church. Hung out at our hostel which looked like a small cottage house (but with an impressive dragon door).

Our Budweiser factory tour guide

As I write this, I am sitting here in the Budweiser brewery lounge in Cesky Budejovice (Budweis in English/German, so you know where the original came from). I am waiting for my tour at 2 pm. Once I am done, I am heading back to catch a train to Krakow, Poland. Lots of old people are around me. Again.

Cesky Krumlov pictures

Cesky Budejovice pictures

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic
June 5th and 6th 2010

This is my third time trying to type up a Prague entry. To be honest, I just can’t find the inspiration to write up a good entry. I tried to type up paragraphs of things I did, people I met, beer I drank, funny shit that happened but it felt very uninspired and boring. Just mundane details about my days there.

All I can say is that I had good fun with some good people. Having beers with Stefan, Sara, Jake, Leo, Kristian, the two French-Canadians, the quiet Korean (who turned in a party animal after an absinthe at a five-story club, so I was told)…then the next night, eating Kristian’s home-made garlic soup with a bunch of hostel mates…running into Sam (the Indian roommate with love sickness) in the middle of nowhere in Prague…him almost kicking H&M store door down because he was drunk…It was all a random blur of good fun moments.

Prague city itself? I wasn’t charmed, I wasn’t blown away, I wasn’t awed. Maybe it was because my tour guide was hungover, maybe I was tired from my travels, tired from the big cities with tons of tourists, the hot weather. I found comfort in the people that I met though, it felt like a small family. People do make the place.


Lessons learned so far…

Not a complete list but these comes to mind at the moment…

– I need two pairs of pants. One pair is inconvenient because when you wash one pair, you gotta wear something else if you want to go out instead of say, my board shorts, which is all I have now that I lost one pair of pants in Cork. I would look silly wearing it in the streets so I’m sitting in my hostel typing this while laundry is being done.

– Wearing sports sandals only sucks. My feet are calloused and black after 3 weeks, I had to buy a pumice bar and scrub the dirt/hard skin off. I am looking into getting a pair of hiking shoes, wear them with socks.

– Screw doing laundry in the sink. Unless you absolutely have to, just take it to the laundromat. At least your clothes will be washed/dried properly and smell fresher. Or maybe I just did it wrong. But whatever, I hate damp clothes dripping in my hostel room anyway. Plus, have you seen hostel sinks? Not the cleanest thing out there.

– I don’t like old overnight trains. Much prefer buses to travel long distances. Maybe I just need to get on a nice overnight train.

– It is not easy to get away from anything touristy in Europe, especially during the summer. Even the small places have quite a few tourists. Next time I hit up a small town to “get away”, I’m getting a single room, maybe at a B&B place, so I can be as anti-social (private, alone) as I want. Sometimes, with all the people I meet on the road, I can appreciate alone time to relax, sleep, shit in peace.

– Get a guide book (Lonely Planet, Rough Guide etc.) It helps. I can thank Kiera for this one. Of course, sometimes it’s good not to always have your nose in it but it helps.

– Tours aren’t just for tourists. I am beginning to stop thinking that way. I just can’t learn everything on my own or I will miss out on lots of things.

– Czech beer is just bloody awesome and cheap.