The first thing you need to know about Cesky Krumlov is that it feels like you’re walking through a Disney movie completely stuck in time. And it’s equal parts strange and comforting. Actually, this trip didn’t start when we got to Cesky Krumlov, it started at a brewery on the way.
I’ve never been to a brewery before, so at least I can check it off the list of things I never thought I’d do, but honestly I wasn’t that thrilled. The history was really fascinating, and our tour guide (who looked like a short, Czech Tina Fey) was awesome, but I didn’t really enjoy it too terribly much. Everyone who liked beer, however, loved it.
Once we finally did get to Cesky Krumlov, we had close to two hours to just relax and unwind. I was lucky enough to have a friend switch with me so I could have a single room for the weekend, so I reveled in the silence for a while before meeting with the group to go on our city tour.
Our tour guide was interesting. She was super nice and had a lot of great knowledge, but she was a bit odd, too. Fun fact about Cesky Krumlov: there’s a ghost that tells the future based on the color of her gloves. White means marriage or pregnancy, red means fire, and black means war. I (luckily) didn’t see her, but the last time she was spotted en masse was right before the beginning of World War II.
We continued the tour and wandered around this adorable little town, stopping for people to put their feet in the river and skip stones if the wanted, and along the way we saw some of the most breathtaking views. It’s such a small town, especially compared to Prague, but they have an interesting history. Second fun fact: they have two bears that live under the bridge that allows entrance to the castle. (They have an entire habitat down there, it’s actually really spacious, but no I didn’t attempt to check it out up close.) Two bears (usually two females) have lived under the bridge for hundreds of years (or at least over one hundred years).
Following the tour, a few of us went to a cute Italian place (unfortunately with pretty bad service, but there was good pizza). But who can have dinner without dessert?? Certainly not us. We picked up several more people and wandered around, looking for an ATM, and stumbled on a gelato place. We got lucky and found some pineapple ice cream that tasted like it was fresh off the Dole plantation in Hawaii.
Once we were all back at the hotel, I tried to write a paper and got hopelessly distracted, which led to me watching a card game and having an impromptu sleepover with Shannon (who’s roommate was delayed because her dad had been in Prague on business for a couple days so she was given special permission to come late).
We woke up too early (although anything before noon on a weekend is too early for me, let’s be real here), had an interesting breakfast, and then ended up sitting at the hotel for 45 minutes before going on our planned activity for the day. Shannon and I hung out in my room, where she elected to take a 15 minute nap on the floor even though I offered to share the bed. From there we got on a bus and drove to the base of a hill (but it felt like a mountain, lemme tell ya), where we were supposed to take a chair lift up to the top and then walk down. What actually happened? I went on an accidental hike and almost died.
Okay, so I over exaggerated, what else is new?? But it was really difficult. It was super rocky, and not meant to be climbed by ill-equipped and out of shape college students (i.e, me). Ya girl was the last one up the mountain, but I still did it. (We’re not gonna talk about the fact that I cried, almost threw up, and threatened to meet everyone back at the bottom countless times.)
Once we made it to the top, we were forced to take a group picture, and at this point I had sweat through a t-shirt and a cardigan (typical). We then went to a group lunch at this little restaurant on the hill where I had the BEST schnitzel ever and crinkle cut fries that made my heart happy. Following that, we all climbed up another tower, which had so few stairs I teared up out of joy. I also proved that slow and steady really does win the race. As Dr. Foster said, “We may have been the last ones up the mountain, but we were the first ones up the tower.” The view was breathtaking.
The walk down the mountain, however, was a doozy. We took a different path, and this one was covered in slick grass. I think that everyone fell or almost fell at least once on the way. It felt like we were walking to a secret fairy garden (which I would have preferred, honestly), so that was a nice change of scenery from the cities we’ve been in.
Once we all made it back to the bus without dying, we were driven to an estate (which we were told was a castle) and given a tour entirely in Czech (bless you Radka for translating like a queen). We did the tour, all exhausted and a little sunburned, and walked for about 10 minutes around the garden. Then we took a group pic and we all did the Shannon head tilt, but I’m the only one who got to hold her hand so suck it.
When we all made it back to the hotel we went our separate ways; I snacked for dinner and worked on homework, then went to bed at a reasonable hour. (I know, it’s like I’m not even the same person anymore. Except for the snacks. Love a good snack.)
On Saturday we got up early again, this time for an interior tour of the castle. It was fascinating and beautiful, but I kind of wish we had done the trip earlier in the semester so I would have appreciated it more. I can only go on so many historical tours before I become really cynical about the whole thing (maybe that’s just me, but no one should really be surprised that I can be a cynic). The ballroom was by far my favorite part, and I’m definitely still happy about getting to see that. After the tour, I dropped out of going to see a really old monastery with the group, instead telling myself I really would to school work this time. I wrote about a paragraph and a half for my sociology research paper, then ended up watching Netflix, enjoying my alone time, and having an apple strudel crepe for lunch.
Once the rest of the group returned from the monastery a large group of us went out souvenir shopping. I got several little things, included a sheep finger puppet – thanks for talking me into that one, Shan. It was nice to get out of the hotel and have some free time in the city, even though it rained (and hailed) on our good time. After returning from souvenirs I ended up in the common room at the hotel, at first watching “17 Again” with some friends (and remembering when I first saw it with one of my best friends), and then playing several card games until it was time for all of us to leave for our group dinner.
The group dinner was nice, albeit loud, and the pizza I ordered was sub-par but still not bad considering how little I paid for it. By the time my table and I had finished eating, the rest of our group (spanning across 3 more tables) hadn’t even gotten their food. We waited around for another 30-45 minutes while the band played their first set. Since the band was directly across from us, we ended up with migraines pretty quickly, at which point we excused ourselves and some people went off to get drinks in a much quieter establishment. I went back to the hotel, hung out in my room until people got back, and then went back to the common room and chatted, pretended to do school work, and ultimately watched the end of Eurovision with Maggie.
Eurovision is a real treat, lemme tell ya. I am now a devoted fan. I can’t believe the things that happen at this competition, honestly, but it makes me heart so happy. If you don’t know what Eurovision is, I implore you to spend some time googling it. I can’t promise you won’t regret that decision, but I know that I wouldn’t.
Sunday morning was busy, and after breakfast and checking out of the hotel I climbed up the castle tower with a few friends and got one last beautiful look at this cute little city. After that I went back to the hotel to spend the last twenty minutes or so reading for class (though I must say the book was really good), and gear up for the bus ride back to Prague.
On the way back we stopped in a little town (the name of which I can’t remember) and had lunch, then took a tour of their underground tunnels. We thought the tunnels were really the catacombs, so that was disappointing, but it was still pretty cool to see. Then we stopped at a candy shop and got back on the road, and a little while later we ended up getting rear-ended by a car that ended up way more damaged than the bus. In the end, we sat at a gas station for over an hour and a half before we were finally given the all clear and could get back in the traffic heading back to Prague.
Despite the fact that I didn’t really want to go on this trip, it turned out to be a good weekend. I had more fun than I thought, got to see a really cute little town, and accidentally went on a hike. It was a good final trip.