Shake 301: Czech this out

January 31, 2011

Me, Český Krumlov (Czech Republic), Oct 2010

How beautiful is this base?

When I mentioned I was going to the Czech Republic last year, the first thing almost everyone said was that Český Krumlov, a little town down the southern end with the country’s second largest castle (declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site), was a must-see. We ventured no further than inner-city Prague the last time I visited, and as beautiful as it was, I was keen to escape the cobbled, density to see what else this country had to offer. The car-hire staff were adamant that we wouldn’t need a GPS with our little Skoda, but our risk averse-selves told us otherwise. Simply two or three roads and two hours they told us. We head off. An hour later, as we ambled through some beautiful quaint towns, we scoffed at their advice and were praising our caution. Two roads? More like six, and all small one-laners! While we were mesmerised by the beautiful country, time escaped us and we arrived 3.5 hours later.

The Castle is definitely on a grand scale, but it doesn’t have those perfect French manicured gardens as most would expect but as one of my favourite authors puts it, ‘a beautiful little wilderness’ instead. The dark, Gothic stone towers are similarly raw, and you are handsomely rewarded with spectacular views after your hard climb. At this height, it was easy to understand why this place was so highly recommended. A bridge built over a huge gap in Castle’s rock foundation draws crowds as it serves as a viewing platform for a supposed bear below. We waited and strained our necks without success.

Our lesson came late in the day. The way home was dark and dangerous. No streets lights and speeding Czechs made the drive home precarious and Mr Snowdomes’ frustration increased steadily. After an hour of these pitch black roads, our GPS finally led us to a bright, 4-lane road, but as soon as we’d hit the asphalt, we were commanded to turn off it again. This was the last straw for Mr Snowdomes. It was time to give the GPS a good prod, and this prodding revealed that we’d been set to avoid all main roads as well as toll roads! One click later and we were on the largest, brightly-lit highway we’d seen (8 lanes) and it headed STRAIGHT for Prague. The lesson: always check your settings on hired GPSs!

Castle grounds

Vltava River

Me and my blurred face at the grand entrance

A fountain in the 'wilderness' garden


2 Responses to “Shake 301: Czech this out”

  1. Looks great, SD. I’ve never ventured past Prague into the Czech Republic, but I know I should some time. Cheers, Richard

  2. Good job with the pun and the picturesque photos!

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