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Trip Report Czech Republic mini trip report in 500 words or less

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This is a tardy report...but better late than never I guess.

September is a wonderful time of year to travel to Europe. Kids are back in school, crowds are down and service is often better than in peak season. Our destination this September was the Czech Republic.

First stop, Prague. We spent five nights at <A HREF="http://www.platan.cz/">Studio Platan</A>, an apartment on Revolucni, perhaps five minutes from the City Center. Shirl felt the place could have been a lot cleaner and would probably not recommend it (especially since it also was on the 6th floor with no lift). It did however offer our required little balcony and was very conveniently located close to tram and underground connections. Many people have said that Prague is a magnificent, special city and we certainly agree. There is Baroque, Romanesque and Gothic architecture in Prague. This adds to a sense of history and mystery about the city. If you have an opportunity to take in Prague, definitely do so. We never felt unsafe or threatened while walking around at night or on the underground (which was incredibly easy to navigate). We hired a guide, <A HREF="http://www.prague-guide.info">Helena Martínková</A>, and were very glad we did. She was very informative and helpful; we would highly recommend her services. Our only regret is that we were unable to make that very early morning visit to the Charles Bridge others have raved about. That would have entailed getting out of bed really, really early and on this vacation, well, we were on vacation! Oh well, just one more reason to plan a return trip.

We also enjoy staying off the beaten path and exploring the back roads. That is one reason we chose <A HREF="http://www.hanauer.cz/penzion_v_raji/eng_raj_frameset.htm">Penzion V Ráji</A>near Melnik, in the Cesky Raj area, for our next stop. We heartily recommend this place. They offer immaculately clean rooms, a great breakfast, helpful staff, all in a quiet rural setting complete with goats, donkeys and a view of a forest from the balcony. From this five night ‘base’ we wandered the sandstone rock ‘town’ of the Cesky Raj (aka Bohemian Switzerland) National Preserve and the equally impressive Ceske Svycarsko (aka Czech/Bohemian Switzerland) National Park to see the Pravcicka Brana, the largest natural land bridge in Europe. Hey, who can resist that? We also ventured in to Melnik for the Wine Festival which was a fun time.

We spent out last four nights in Cesky Krumlov staying at <A HREF="http://www.pensionpodskalkou.cz/menu_aj.html">Pension Pod Skalkou</A>. We highly recommend this B&B. It offers modern, clean apartments, a great breakfast and even a small outdoor covered pool. A special thanks to ‘Tomas’, son of the owner, who offered some good tips on day trips and local restaurants. Cesky Krumlov is the coziest town we have visited to date. We just loved wandering the cobblestone streets and finding out of the way places to eat, drink and relax.

This is a quick summary of our trip to the Czech Republic. If anyone wants more detail or a full trip report for info on anything just email us. We have posted some photos from this trip on <A HREF="http://home.roadrunner.com/~TomShirl/CZREPUBLIC2009.HTML">our web site</A>, also you can read Shirley's much more detailed Fodors report <A HREF="http://www.fodors.com/community/europe/tom-shirls-trip-report-czech-republic-2009-a-work-in-progress.cfm">here.</A>

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