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The turnips excessively long Czech Republic trip report. Prague, Kutna Hora, Pavlov, Trebon & Cesky Krumlov.

The turnips excessively long Czech Republic trip report. Prague, Kutna Hora, Pavlov, Trebon & Cesky Krumlov.

Old Dec 26th, 2005, 06:27 PM
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The turnips excessively long Czech Republic trip report. Prague, Kutna Hora, Pavlov, Trebon & Cesky Krumlov.

INTRODUCTION

OK, I feel it’s only fair to give you a little preface. This is our 8th trip to Europe. I do all the trip planning including printing up a little travel book with our itinerary and trip highlights. It’s a hobby that I enjoy a lot. My last name is derived from the Old German word for turnip and that’s become my nickname, so I call our trips – turnip tours.

#1) we are cheap. I’m not afraid to admit it. My wife and I are both blue collar workers, she’s a massage therapist and I am the site manager at a very small graphics business. We have two kids, ages 11 & 13, a house payment and a car payment. We love to travel but simply can’t afford to go 1st class. We won’t sacrifice cleanliness or safety but we’re willing to put up with other things in the effort to save a buck.
#2) the trip was made with my wife and me and both of our mothers. Grandpa stayed home and watched the kids. Both of our mothers are in their 60’s and are not only young at heart but are also very fit and make superb travel companions. We feel blessed we’ve been able to bring them with us on some of our trips and enjoy such special things with them.
#3) I make all of our travel arrangements. My primary references are Rick Steves and this travel board but I also comb the net for all sorts of information. I know some aren’t all that fond of Rick but he has given us the courage to travel independently and I’ll always be grateful for that. I know now to use other resources as well, but still make it a point to read his materials. www.ricksteves.com
#4) one last thing, I am in no way affiliated with any of the places or people I recommend in this trip report. I’m including as many websites and phone numbers as possible in case you’d like to contact them. If I like something I’ll say so and give them whatever praise I deem appropriate. If we didn’t enjoy something I have no problem being just as forthcoming. So if you plan on flaming me for getting a kick back of some type from anyone please save your time.

Here was our itinerary. Tuesday was killed flying to Prague. We arrived Wednesday around noon and spent the next several days exploring Prague. On Sunday we rented a car and drove to the Bone Church in Kutna Hora and then on to the tiny little town of Pavlov. It’s past Brno and then SE near the slightly larger town of Mikulov. We spent 4 days in Pavlov before traveling on to Cesky Krumlov. On the drive over we stopped in the spa town of Trebon for a peat bog bath. We spent four days in Krumlov and then me and the missus drove back to Prague since we had to get back to work. Our mothers left Krumlov together via the train for a final week in Salzburg Austria.
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Old Dec 26th, 2005, 06:28 PM
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Part 1 – PRAGUE & KUTNA HORA

While in Prague we stayed at Residence Belhedraska 35 in apartment A1. I think it was a great bargain and I highly recommend them. We had three large bedrooms, a huge kitchen/dining room/living room area, two separate bathrooms and a tub area with two sinks and a washing machine. The kitchen had a full stove, refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker and all the dishes you could need. The living area had a dining room table and a large leather sectional. We had only four people in our group but you could have easily slept 8 there. Breakfast wasn’t included but there was a nice grocery store less than a block away. The building itself is on a moderately busy street but two of the three bedrooms face the rear of the building on a quiet inner garden area. The one front bedroom was a little noisy if you were a light sleeper but with the windows closed we had no problems what-so-ever. There is a tram stop ˝ a block from the front door, and it’s only a few minutes to the Muzeum stop which is right at the top of Wenceslas Square. All of that for only $130 a night is pretty cheap I think. The Czech Republic as a whole is a good deal for travelers but lodging in Prague can be pretty spendy. There was also a computer and internet connection provided for us right in our room which was a nice bonus. Our guide thought that the place was a steal.

Residence Belhedraska also has an airport service they work with that is also very reasonable. They picked us up from the airport (the 1st time I’ve ever had someone standing in the airport lobby holding a card with my name on it, I felt special) and dropped us off at the front door for $28. For four people that’s about $7 a piece (I had help with the math) which is darn cheap compared to the other prices I saw. Residence Belhedraska made the airport pick up arrangements for us.

www.b35.cz [email protected] Phone # 420-603-460-828

After arriving Wednesday around noon and doing the jet lagged zombie walk for several hours we eventually crashed back at our apartment for a welcome full nights sleep.

The next morning at 9 o’ clock sharp our guide Jana arrived at our apartment. Both Rick Steves and this forum recommended a guide by the name of Sarka. Of course with that much publicity Sarka was booked solid. She has since started a small tour guide business of sorts and she suggested we try Jana. We arranged in advance to spend two consecutive mornings with her. I liked the idea of two four hour morning sessions as opposed to one long day with her as my brain can hold only so much information. At a certain point you can process only so much and after that no matter how beautiful, how historic or how unique something is you just don’t appreciate it like you should. She met us at our apartment and we took the tram into town where she took us to a cute little café. There we sat down and she gave us a brief history of Prague as well as an interesting lesson on the architecture we would be seeing. Then she listened to what our interests were and what it was that we really wanted to see. We decided on a brief overview of two town sections each morning. Jana (pronounced Yana) was awesome. Some guides are very knowledgeable and some are very personable, Jana was both. She was entertaining and was able to answer all our questions, of which we asked quite a few. I’m not sure how to explain it, but with some guides it’s like you’re on a ride at Disney World. It’s enjoyable but you always have that feeling that you’re on a fixed narrow path with no deviation allowed. With Jana you could tell she wasn’t reading through some preplanned script in her mind but rather she just enjoyed talking about her beautiful city. We didn’t feel like we were just “that day’s clients” but felt more like we were her friends that she was showing around while we were in town. After we finished with each morning’s tour she then gave us hints for what to do that afternoon, including places to eat and where to shop. I believe we gave her the US equivalent of $100 total for the four of us for what was supposed to be eight hours of touring. In reality it was closer to nine or ten I would think. All four of us gave Jana two thumbs way up!

www.prague-guide.info [email protected] 420-777-225-205

At the end of the block from our apartment were two mom and pop type restaurants right across the street from each other. We loved them both. The girls preferred the one across the street but I think I liked the one on our side of the block better. We just asked for the house specialties and we were not disappointed.

There are so many different ideas on what to do and see in Prague I’ll leave it up to you as to what to do while you’re there. A few of the things we enjoyed seeing were Petrin Park and the view from the mini Eiffel Tower, the Charles Bridge before 8:30 am when it wasn’t chock full of vendors and tourists, the view from the Charles Bridge Tower, St. Vitus Cathedral and the Alphons Mucha stained glass, walking through the quaint little side streets of Mala Strana, the Jewish cemetery, (if all you really want is to see the cemetery itself you can save $25 by peeking thru the big door that’s on the busy street that runs along the Vltava), and the Dripstone Wall or Grotto as they call it.

We did see Verdi’s “La Traviata” at the National Theatre in Prague and absolutely loved it. It was the 1st live opera any of us had seen. A big thank you to all the Fodorite’s who helped me to choose La Traviata. The theatre was stunning and the performance superb. The emotions that Verdi’s music manages to evoke is pretty amazing. Months before we left for the CZ we purchased a CD of the music and also watched a DVD of the performance. In my opinion being familiar with the music contributed greatly to our enjoyment of the live performance. Tickets were only $50 and we obtained them through www.czechopera.cz

We come from a small town and as much as we loved Prague, after four days we were ready for a little less hustle and bustle. Sunday we packed up and went to get our rental car. I had booked a car through Vecar in Prague. They advertise themselves as the cheapest car rental place in Prague. Unfortunately in this case, we got what we paid for. DO NOT RENT WITH VECAR. What a pain in the posterior. We arrived at their office/apartment and the customer in front of me is just livid. His rental is not available and they’re trying to talk him into a lesser car with bald tires and aren’t offering him any substantial discount. The guy is not taking it well. Things went from bad to worse, ending with a bit of profanity and the customer stomping out.

Surprise, surprise, my car is unavailable too. They try to talk me into the same lemon the guy before me passed on. Since there is simply no way we and our luggage will fit into this car they offer us a different model. The strangest thing is that the car we get offered is the exact car the customer before me was supposed to get. Huh? The pricing is different from what we were quoted, but we work that out and since we manage to fit in the car, I take it. What were my options? It was Sunday morning, we had already lugged all our bags out here and we had places to go and things we wanted to see. The car was a Skoda Octavia. I have heard nothing but good things about these cars. This particular car may have been nice at one point in its life too, but those days are long gone. The car is an absolute dog. (I would like to apologize to all the actual dogs I just insulted for comparing them to this crappy car.) Getting the thing into 1st or 2nd gear is like trying to dress an extremely uncooperative two year old, or in other words a constant struggle. Once the dog is finally in gear you wonder if it was really worth the effort since there is no power what-so-ever. Trust me on this one, the last thing you want while attempting to drive in Prague is a car that threatens to kill at any speed under 30 mph. Did I mention DO NOT RENT WITH VECAR? Oy.

In case you’re a masochist or have a death wish here is Vecar’s contact information. website www.vecar.cz email: [email protected]

We somehow survived the drive out of Prague and headed for the Bone Church in Kutna Hora. What a strange, strange place. Hundreds of years ago some soil was brought back from Golgotha in Jerusalem and spread over the cemetery. Soon it became the place to be buried in central Europe. Tens of thousands of people were buried in this rather small cemetery. There was no space for all of them, so they would dig up the old bones to make room for the new. Rinse and repeat. Eventually the ruling Duke gave the order to have the ossuary (bone storage area) decked out with the bones they had stored up. A local carpenter with waaay to much time on his hands did the decorating. There are four colossal stacks of bones along with wall sconces, chandeliers, a coat of arms and more - all out of real human bones. I am so glad that we visited during the day. It was creepy enough in full daylight. A visit after dark by candle light would have been seriously shiver inducing. We spent about half an hour there and a little extra time exploring the cemetery itself. I wouldn’t say it’s an absolute “must see” but we all enjoyed it and I’m glad we went. You can find the ossuary at www.kostnice.cz

About half a block away from the ossuary was a little hotel with a restaurant where we had one of the best meals of our entire trip. The service wasn’t the friendliest but the food more than made up for it. If you decide to go to the Bone Church be sure to have lunch there. It’s not 4 star Parisian cuisine but it was delicious. It isn’t hard to locate. There is a little restaurant directly across from the ossuary, that’s not it. As you leave the ossuary itself take a left and go out the south entrance. On your left hand side, just a stone’s throw away is the hotel/restaurant. It’s called Hotel U Ruze. You can find them on the web at www.ruzehotel.cz The food was so yummy!

Here’s a quick thought or two about driving in the Czech Republic. The roads are NARROW! Holy motherless goats they are narrow. They call a white stripe and another 3 inches of pavement a shoulder too boot. The Czech drivers are both very courteous and absolute maniacs. They have an arrangement that if you want to pass on a two lane road, and most of what we saw was two lane roads by the way, the person in front of you slides over to the right as much as they can and on-coming traffic slides to their right. In theory you have plenty of room to sail right down the middle. Maybe if you’ve grown up with this way of driving it would be a little easier to stomach. I send my compliments to the people that were driving the old slow cars on the roads. Often times they would no more than see us in their rearview mirror and start to move to the right. Then there were the nut jobs who insisted on passing on bridges, double yellow lines and when trucks were approaching. There’s nothing quite like driving down a narrow winding road, seeing a line of trucks going the opposite direction and then have someone trying to pass you. Zoinks! The roads themselves were in good condition and there was plenty of well marked signage to help you find your way around. If you can drive in the US of A you shouldn’t have any real problems driving in the Czech Republic.
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Old Dec 26th, 2005, 06:29 PM
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Part Two – PAVLOV, MIKULOV & LEDNICE’

Our next stop was the sleepy little town of Pavlov with a population of less than 1,000 people. It’s a wine town whose main claim to fame is that it is home to the Reisten winery. That is the winery that produces the countries highest rated white wines, the ones served on the president’s table. We stayed at a darling little cottage house. It had two good sized bedrooms upstairs. Both bedrooms had stunning views, one overlooking the town and lake, the other the vineyards and ruined castle. Downstairs was the kitchen, dining room, living room and the recently redone bathroom. There was also a small pool in the backyard, although it was a tad too cool to use in September, even for people like us from Minnesota. Our backyard opened onto a vineyard which in turn abutted a large hill with a ruined castle on top of it. What a view from the picnic table in our very own backyard. More than one evening was spent sipping burchak and gazing up at the castle. The cottage was owned by Hana Konecna who lived in nearby Mikoluv. Here is their website and contact information. http://web.quick.cz/u_svateho_jana/pavlov_eng.html [email protected] Oh, and the major plus was that we only paid a total of $40 per night for the whole cottage. That’s right, four people at $10 a piece for our own little cottage. How can you beat that?

Burchak by the way is “new wine” and available only for a short while during the harvest season. Restaurants often have a little sign out front if they have it available but we bought ours from little road side sellers and from our wine making neighbors. It came in 2 liter pop bottles for about $2.50. You can’t cork it, or in this case I should say you couldn’t screw the lid on tightly, as the wine is still fermenting like crazy. It’s really hard to describe how it tastes. To me it’s a little sweeter than wine but has no alcohol aftertaste what-so-ever. Yet it doesn’t taste like a wine cooler which is more closely related to flavored beer. We loved the burchak. The same bottle changes in taste every day as the wine matures. It may taste about as strong as Kool-Aid but exercise care if you plan on drinking and driving as we were told it contains 10 to 12% alcohol. How something that hasn’t fermented very long can have that much alcohol is a mystery to me but that’s what we were told.

IMHO Pavlov was the perfect middle location for our visit. www.obec-pavlov.cz It was quiet and very relaxing. We hiked up to the castle and down through the woods. We slept in a day or two and kicked back a little bit. We explored the town and sampled the various restaurants. Our favorite was the Vinárna U Venuše. The food was excellent and so inexpensive we thought they had made a mistake on the bill. The four of us had appetizers, a main course, drinks and desert for less than $25 total. Wow. English is not widely spoken in this area but many people know some German. We used what little Czech and German we knew, along with our phrase book for translating the menu and got along just fine.

We also drove the 5 miles or so over to Mikoluv several times. It’s a cute little town with a charming pedestrian only downtown area. It was nice for shopping, lunch and to check our emails. If a person wanted to stay in the wine country but wanted a town with a few more dining choices and things to do Mikoluv would be a good choice. Our favorite restaurant was the Irish Pub of all places.

Everywhere we went we made a point of asking local people where their favorite restaurant was. Invariably we received good advice. I don’t think we had a single bad meal on our entire trip. The food was actually a surprise highlight. Our last trip was to Italy and of course the food was fabulous. The Czech food was darn good however. We ordered the house specialties a lot and all four of us tried to order something different then we sampled what the rest of the table had ordered. There was a lot of pork, often rolled around other meats, vegetables or cheeses. Night after night though the food was cooked just right and the meats were very juicy and flavorful. We didn’t think a whole lot of the dumplings but had much better success with the potato pancakes. Another favorite was steak with spicy Moravian bacon on top of it. It was all so good! Of course we washed it all down with the wonderful Czech beer.

Just outside Mikoluv is a nice place for horseback riding, which my wife and Mother-in-law highly recommend. $20 per person for an hour with Tom who was a wonderful guide and he spoke excellent English. They are easy to find on the NE side of town, look for the white KONE signs. Here is their contact information; www.jkmikulov.cz

We also took a day trip of sorts to Lednice’, pronounced Lead-knee-chay as far as I could tell. In many ways the trip to Lednice’ was typical of our whole visit to the Czech Republic. It was interesting, it was enjoyable and I’m glad we went there, but it wasn’t a 9 or 10 on the wow factor scale. If I was taking my very first trip to Europe the CZ certainly wouldn’t be on my must see list, but after you’ve seen some of the “biggies” it’s a great place to visit. Anywhoozle, back to Lednice’, hundreds of years ago the area was a swamp and two brothers in a royal family both built castles on either end of this huge property and gradually turned the land in between the two castles into a huge park. Along the way they threw in a minaret, ruined castle and Greek temple and all sorts of other things. For as big a draw as it is the place was a bit hard to find, but then I was the one giving directions. We took a horse drawn carriage ride for all of $4, climbed the minaret tower, toured the greenhouse and enjoyed the manicured gardens. It was a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon. http://guide.travel.cz/233
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Old Dec 26th, 2005, 06:29 PM
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Part Three – TREBON & CESKY KRUMLOV

We really enjoyed our stay in Pavlov but it was time for the next stop. We packed up the lemon, I mean Skoda, and headed towards Cesky Krumlov. We did however have a stop planned along the way. It was the spa town of Trebon where I had arranged for the four of us to experience peat bog baths. Because this is a “family show” I’m going to give you the edited version of our spa adventure. You need an appointment and the spa feels more like a small clinic than anything else. You sit in a waiting room awaiting your appointed time and are then shown to a tiny changing room and are asked to store all of your clothes in a locking cabinet and then the “nurse” escorts you to a large stainless steel tub. All the nurses are female by the way. Once you’re seated in your tub the warm peat/mud comes bubbling up and soon you’re neck deep in the oozing stuff. It wasn’t thick and gooey but it wasn’t watery either. I would say it had the viscosity of oil with chunks of something or other in it. It was actually very relaxing and I enjoyed my 20 minute soak/marinade. The next part I could have lived without. The timer rings and the nurse came back in. She helps you stand up, turns you so you face the wall and then proceeds to wash your backside for you. OK, I admit it, I’m an American I have a hang up about being naked around strangers. It felt weird. Plus I’m not exactly in the best shape, to put it mildly. She then hands me the shower head and lets me know I should take care of business on the front side for myself. She walks around the corner. The peat gets everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. It sticks in every little nook and cranny it can possibly find. If you’re anorexic you’ll be clean in no time. If you have any folds or flaps on your person you’ll need to be extra thorough in you rinsing efforts. My assistant had to point out a number of areas (ahem) that needed some further washing after I felt I was finished. Anyway with that task thankfully over and at least one tiny shred of dignity intact I was led back to my little cubicle and cocooned up in a sheet and blanket. After a toasty little rest, Helena, my Czech masseuse came to get me. She looked like a Helga and was a stereotypical 40 something big Slavic woman. She led me down to the massage room that had a curtain you could pull to give you privacy, like in a hospital room. She pulled the curtain open, and left it open. She then had me lay down on my stomach and proceeded to completely peel back the sheet. I’m laying their, butt naked and two other women walk down the hall into the room and proceed to have a conversation with Helena. She starts to move the sheet around and I think thank goodness – I get some dignity back, and she carefully covers my calves and feet up, just my calves and feet. It’s at this point in time that my face has turned a bright beet red (no not turnip purple) and I just keep saying over and over in my head “if I don’t look up, I won’t die of embarrassment, if I don’t look up, I won’t die”. The three of them have a friendly chat, then the two other leave the room and Helena starts my massage, with the curtain still open. Sigh. It’s not like they haven’t seen a 1000 other naked bodies and I know it’s just what the good Lord gave us but still! Other than the near fatal embarrassment the massage was actually relaxing and very enjoyable. I think since I highlighted the rather embarrassing parts you might get the wrong impression. All four of us would heartily recommend that if you get the chance that you try the peat bog bath in Trebon.

Later at dinner as the four of us our sharing our various “horror” stories (I’d tell you my wife’s story but she’d kill me. Let’s just say it involves walking naked down a hallway.) and we were all laughing so hard we were nearly crying, my very own dear Mother has this to say about my experience, “Well you know what the three ladies in the massage room were saying don’t you? Helena called them in to say “Have you ever seen one this furry?”” That’s real funny stuff Mom.

I look at it like this. We don’t go on vacation to Europe to eat at an Applebee’s and do the same old things that we do, day in and day out, in our everyday lives back home. We go there to experience new things and have adventures. The Trebon peat spa will definitely go down in the record books as a new adventure for us. Where else can you get that kind of excitement for $22 a person? If you’re interested in dipping yourself in mud, I mean a soothing peat bog bath, here’s their web site. www.berta.cz/en Be sure to book well in advance and please by all means if you do go share your experience with all of us.

Our final stop was the UNESCO World Heritage sight Cesky Krumlov. What a beautiful, beautiful town. Stunning architecture, all sorts of dining options, the city itself is very clean and the people were friendly. We loved Cesky Krumlov. Yes, it’s totally geared towards tourists but it didn’t seem too touristy. Does that make any sense? Take for example the area surrounding the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It has turned into one big conglomerate of cheap food stands and tacky souvenirs like some nasty county fair that just decided to never leave town. Cesky Krumlov didn’t feel that way to us. There’s way too many jewelry stores selling garnet and shops have pretty much taken over the lower floor of every building but you can tell the city has been very careful as to what type of remodeling and decorating they allow to be done. McDonalds hasn’t been allowed in. We spent three full days there and enjoyed them all.

We stayed at a place called U Kapalicky. There are two rooms for rent. One is a one bedroom affair that was rather small. It was nicely furnished however and we don’t spend a whole lot of time in the room so it worked out fine for us. The other room is actually an apartment and was quite spacious. The owner of U Kapalicky is an artist and you could tell she has a real flair for interior design. On one end of the apartment is a bedroom with a wall of windows between it and the dining room. The windows keep a very open spacious feel to the apartment but there’s a curtain that can be easily lowered if you want privacy. There is also a small living room and an additional sleeping area on the opposite end of the apartment near the bathroom. We let Mom & Mom have the apartment area. Every morning we met in their dining room for the scrumptious breakfast that Jitka & her daughter supplied. The breakfasts were to die for. We thought that breakfast on the first day of our stay was amazing but as it turned out she continued to outdo herself each succeeding day. Jitka doesn’t speak English, but her husband & daughter both speak a little. She was very friendly however and eager to please. She and I played a lot of charades seeing as how my Czech is extremely limited. The second day we were there she was trying to share some information with me and I know so little Czech I had no chance of understanding her. She wanted so bad to tell me though so she started T-A-L-K-I-N-G V-E-R-Y L-O-U-D A-N-D S-L-O-W-L-Y just like a stereotypical ugly American would when trying to speak English in a foreign country. Obviously she wasn’t being an ugly American but it just struck me as being so funny. We are more alike than we are different. Overall we were completely satisfied with our stay there and felt the rooms at $40 & $65 were a good value, especially with the enormous breakfasts. They are right on the edge of the old town and within an easy five minute walk of the town square. Here is the contact information. www.ckrumlov.cz/ck/ukaplicky/index_uk.html

We spent most of our time in Krumlov shopping & exploring all the little alleys and backstreets of the town. Well, the ladies shopped – I ran off by myself and took pictures, but to each his own. Krumlov just begs you to shoot roll after roll of film or film up that memory card on your digital camera, whichever the case may be. The King Wenceslas festival was going on while we there which meant there was a stage set up and lots of live music in the town square. There were also towns people dressed in period costumes and food stands serving traditional Czech foods, oh and more burchak’.

The Rick Steves’ recommended tour guide we hired for a few hours one afternoon was named Jiri Vaclavicek. He did a good job. He wasn’t spectacular but he was friendly and knowledgeable. With him we were able to see and learn things about the town that we wouldn’t have known about otherwise. That’s one of the main reasons for using a guide right? He suggested taking the castle tour which we did. The castle was wonderful. The guide was bored and simply recited her memorized spiel. That’s got to be a tough job. Jiri is a school teacher who now also rents out some beautiful rooms in an impressive location. He took us on a brief tour and the place was a gem. You take a small winding pedestrian only street about a block from the main square to get there. You’re right in the center of town, yet far enough from traffic and the square that I think noise wouldn’t be a problem. The views were killer as well. The price was too spendy for a cheap-skate like me, but if I had the coin I would definitely have stayed there. He had the whole place redone with modern touches yet retained the old world feel. www.castleview.cz

Jiri also gave us some restaurant suggestions which were spot on. One of them was called “Papa’s Living Restaurant”. We had seen the sign previously and passed it by, laughing about the name. Was there a “Dead Papa’s Restaurant” that they needed to differentiate themselves from? It didn’t sound too appetizing. Thanks to Jiri we found out how wrong we were. The food was fantastic. They had a little bit of everything on the menu and we liked everything we tried. The carpaccio was excellent. If you’ve never tried it before do yourself a favor and have some in Krumlov. Here is Jiris contact information; [email protected]

We also went rafting down the Vltava which was a lot of fun. The current takes you right along so you don’t have to do a whole lot of paddling if you don’t want to. The miniature rapids through the dams were a scream, literally. I doubt they even make it onto the official white water rapids scale, but we’re novices so that was plenty of excitement for us. We took the 2 1/2 hour trip and it was the perfect length for what we wanted. The contact information for the canoe outfit is www.malecek.cz/en/lode/index.html

Lets see, what else? Some “must see’s” would include climbing the castle tower for unbeatable views of the castle itself and the town. For sure a night time stroll along the riverbanks to see all the lights and how cool the floodlit castle looks. Oh and you have to eat dinner or lunch in the Beer Cellar. We were in a jewelry store (if you knew my wife and mother-in-law you would so NOT be shocked by that last statement) and we asked the couple who ran the store for a recommendation on where to go for dinner. They told us to try the beer cellar. If you stand in the center of the town square with the fountain on your left and the T.I on your right you’ll see a big hotel/restaurant right in front of you. Just to the right, still in the main square is, of all things, a Chinese restaurant. Underneath the sign for the Chinese place there is a smaller sign for the Beer Cellar and just to the left is the entrance, a rather small wooden door. When you open the door there is a tiny little spiral stone stairway leading down into the dark. My mom was leading the way and got about three steps down and couldn’t go any further and came back up. My wife tried and felt the same claustrophobic feeling. She edited this trip report for me because I have the spelling and grammar, well of a turnip. When she got to this part of the report she wrote in the margin “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” Neither one of them could bring themselves to go down the steps. Being the big brave turnip that I am, I went down the steps to see if they led to certain doom or it would be safe. If being a hero was only that easy in everyday life. The narrow winding staircase opened up into a cave like room with a very low ceiling. Welcome to the Beer Cellar. The food was great, especially the bread bowl soups. The atmosphere was very old world and I would certainly add it to my list of restaurants to try while in Cesky Krumlov.

CONCLUSION

Well, I’ve rambled on more than long enough. If you managed to get all the way through this trip report give yourself a gold star. Here a few final thoughts and tips in no particular order.

Skip the dumplings and opt for the potato pancakes instead. Try a new beer every night. If you like garlic go for the garlic soup! However if one person in you party has some, everyone should order some. Trust the turnip on this one. Please, please, please make the effort to learn even a few words in Czech. Knowing even ‘please’, ‘thank you’, ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘excuse me’ and ‘I’m sorry’ will make your trip so much more meaningful. I struggled mightily but managed to learn the phrase “Dinner was wonderful, thank you very much”. Good grief, from the way their faces lit up you’d think I had told them they had just the won the lottery. A little consideration can go so far. Czech is not easy to learn but you will be richly rewarded for your efforts.

Finally here is a link to a few pictures of our trip. If you have any questions please feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer. Cheers, the turnip

http://turnip.photosite.com/
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Old Dec 26th, 2005, 07:25 PM
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Dear Turnip - Great report & fabulous photos. Please continue posting on your future trips.
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Old Dec 26th, 2005, 08:13 PM
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What a great trip report! Lots of good information, plus lots and lots of laughs. Makes me want to revisit (we only had time for Prague five weeks ago) and see so much more.
Thanks for a very vivid account.
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Old Dec 27th, 2005, 12:24 AM
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I enjoyed this report very much also. How much do you think the car enhanced your trip? (I know it was a lemon, but it did get you around.) I'm wondering if one could do the same things without a car, because I'd rather avoid both the expense and the nerve-wracking passing.
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Old Dec 27th, 2005, 12:44 AM
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As probably the most reliable car in the world you shouldn't have been at all worried about using a Skoda..LOL

Last year a Czech friend was taking us to the airport in his antique skoda, we were late leaving Plsen, where he lived to get to Prague for the flight. Well this battered old Skoda flew down to Prague, except Mrs Muck sat in the back was looking very green faced when we arrived...lol
Great report I enjoyed it thanks for sharing.

Muck
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Old Dec 27th, 2005, 03:25 AM
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Thank you for the interesting report.
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Old Dec 27th, 2005, 03:50 AM
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This is the kind of trip report that makes you want to get on the next plane. When do we get the "Mom's Do Salzburg"?

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Old Dec 27th, 2005, 05:43 AM
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to WillTravel: For Prague and Cesky Krumlov the car was completely unneeded. For Pavlov it was essential. If you really wanted to avoid using a car I would suggust opting for Mikulov instead of Pavlov. Mikulov has much better transportation connections than Pavlov and is also larger with more to do.

Cheers, the turnip
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Old Dec 27th, 2005, 06:06 AM
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Great report . . . I love your writing style . . . thank you for posting!

Sandy (in Denton)
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Old Dec 27th, 2005, 07:05 AM
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Great trip report and pictures! I will be going to Prague in September 2006. After reading your report I wish it were sooner!
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Old Dec 27th, 2005, 07:26 AM
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turnip, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your trip report! We daytripped to Cesky Krumlov in May and just loved it. You are right on. Its a gorgeous town and very photographic. The people were very friendly and the town was almost spotless. We wished we could have spent more time there.

Thanks for posting!
Tracy
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Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 01:27 PM
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Turnip - great name, great trip report
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Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 03:50 PM
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Thanks for your report - enjoyed it immensely.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 07:01 PM
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Fabulous trip report! I'm going to add Cesky Krumlov to my list of "must see" places.

Think I'll skip the mud bath, however! You made me laugh out loud. My cat jumped!
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Old Jan 30th, 2006, 09:30 PM
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Lynn, take a taste wine in Mikulov´s wine-cellar. www.mikulov.cz
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Old Mar 4th, 2006, 04:09 PM
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Thank goodness I searched for Cesky Krumlov so I could read this report and see your wonderful pictures - less than 2 months and I'll be there!
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Old Mar 9th, 2006, 10:47 AM
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Turnip: Thank you for your wonderful report. We are going to Prague on April 16th for a week. You gave us some great ideas, especially Papa's Living Retaurant and the Beer Cellar.
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