We took the 11:00 AM bus from Prague. It was a beautiful drive through the Czech countryside. Spring was at its best and we passed through acres and acres of yellow mustard flowers. The video coach bus was showing a Czech movie with English subtitles. As I dosed in and out of sleep, one thing I noticed was that the leading lady Dubrakova was in the SAME dress for the entire length of the movie...even after she accidentally falls in a ditch! Czech cinema must not have the budgets of Bollywood. As I mentioned in previous reports, I did not make any reservations for the last 6 days of our 13 day trip. We showed up at the tourist office with no reservations. Only problem was that they didn't have any rooms in the old town, so we stayed up the hill in a small pension. Pension Vishaharad was a clean and simple bed & breakfast in a residential area. It was a 1/2 mile walk to the city center, which was actually nice because we had great views of the town from up there. We originally booked the room for one night, but an hour after we walked into the town, we were bowled over by the beauty of the place and decided to stay another night. We walked over to the city center and had a late lunch/snack of pizza and chocolate crepes (I can give up lunch, but can NEVER give up dessert when I am on vacation).
We walked around the town, did some window shopping and just when the light was going down, settled at a vegetarian restaurant called Laibon that was highly recommended in the guide book. We had a long 3 hour dinner. Our table was outdoor, right beside the river. While waiting for the food to come, I actually went down and cooled my feet in the water- oh what fun it is to put tired feet in cold running water!!. - A lone duck was trying to swim upstream, but the current was too much, so it flew up. A few minutes later we saw the same duck float downstream without putting up a fight! We had a huge basket of pakodas (that's right...it was international food) and chips and salsa and guacamole for appetizers and a huge bowl of vegetarian chili for main course. We took our time and ate very slowly watching the sun set behind the castle. As it became darker, the castle lights came on and transformed the place into magic land. We did not have our tripod, so took this night shot with a point-and-shoot Canon while balancing it on a stack of coins (told you...we had a lot of free time). Dessert was chocolate cake and homemade ice cream. We took the other two night shots on the way back to the pension.
We spent the morning walking around the town, visiting churches and heritage buildings. We had a brunch in a bistro - nothing special. We walked around for a little bit and went to another restaurant for dessert -
Vam: There is not much to do here, but I love it. Should we stay another night or move on?
Saru: I love it too.What is the hurry?
Vam: Yeah...Let's stay here and savor the place. You know, I don't understand how people can do day trips to this place. 3-4 hrs is just not enough to get a feel for this place. It is just not enough to slow down and appreciate the beauty of the town and the culture here.
Vam: You know....I also don't understand how people go on whirlwind Europe tours - 7 countries in 10 days etc. What can they see that way? They will just be shuttling between airports and train stations. You need to make the leap from being a tourist to a traveler and get a feel for life in foreign countries - their food, their history, and their way of life. That way, you might take back something with you and make your life better.
Saru: Vam.....It seems to have slipped your mind that we are doing 4 countries in 13 days....So, are we tourists or travelers?
Vam (counting): Belgium, Netherlands, Czech Republic and Austria. OMG....that is true. I completely lost track. Shit!! I am a freaking tourist!! What the hell was I thinking? Oh Man!! I am one of them? Really...you think I am one of them?
Saru(laughing): No, you are not one of them. You are a giant snob! Forget the philosophy and have fun.
I don't know if I am a tourist or a traveler, but I certainly took inspiration from their laid back lifestyle and changed mine after we moved back to India. Simple things give me more joy now than they ever did in my life before and for that I am really glad I went to Cesky Krumlov.
In the afternoon, we went up the castle. While it is an imposing and handsome building from outside, it was not all that great inside. The only impressive room was the Rennaisance room with paintings that had a three dimensional look. The best part of the castle tour was to be able to climb the steps and get to the clock tower. Views from up there and the castle gardens were excellent.
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