Bohemian Ecstasy

Cesky Krumlov is simply magical. 

I’ve been entranced by this little city and its ambiance, its architecture, its small winding streets, and its cultural texture.  It sits in a valley of stone walls and magnificent trees.  The Vltava River winds its way through this portion of the valley, creating peninsulas of quaint houses and shops, punctuated by stately churches.  The magnificent castle is set on a cliff, overlooking it all.  Add to this, church bells ringing hourly and the smell of sweet Czech pastries from their ubiquitous bakeries.

DSCN1204 (Small)     DSCN1289 (Small)

The kids and I went to an art gallery this afternoon, quite by accident really.  On the low door which exited from within one of the castle’s gateways, a sign indicated that older city streets lay below the castle.  Always up for a Hogwarts-ish adventure, the kids were excited to see it.  Yes, there were several short streets lit by streetlamps but each of the cold caverns we entered featured artwork by Czech artist Miroslav Paral.  The art, in abstract fashion, represents Paral’s personal struggles as an artist during the Cold War and the impact of the end of the communist era in his homeland.  Each sculpture is a melding of human and animal figures, likely demonstrating, in part, that our primal nature is never far from the surface of our being.  It rears its head in times of distress and anxiety.  Our more affective side must then find equilibrium and contain the fears within.

DSCN1240 (Small)     DSCN1264 (Small)

Later in the day, Mary-Anna and the kids went rafting down the Vltava.  I spent the time next to the river, enjoying the sights and sounds of Cesky Krumlov.

The evening ended off with an amazing dinner together at an outdoor restaurant with medieval flair.

Our pension accommodation in Cesky Krumlov is known as The Tower, part of a medieval fortification from the 15th century.

DSCN1302 (Small)

The little slice of Bohemia crawled into my soul today.

Vežovatá Pláne

Upon arrival at the Budget car rental agency at the main train station, we were excited to find out that we had been given a free upgrade on the rental car. We drove away with a new Mercedes Class-B Sport Tourer. Nice vehicle! Driving was a bit different than in Canada but reasonably easy to get used to. The main differences being that the roads are narrower, speed limits only 90 kms on most highways, and that it’s pretty tough to read road signs in Czech.

We left Prague for the southern city of Cesky Krumlov, about a 3 hour drive. This city has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It’s a beautiful place. We’ll stay in this area for the next few days.

Tonight, we are staying at Cedarik Apartments near the tiny village of Vežovatá Pláne. We had a really tough time finding this place. It’s literally at the end of a road on top of a hill, amid forest and corn fields. But wow, was it worth the effort! We’re staying in a studio that has a cool loft for the kids to sleep in, an IKEA kitchen, nice bathroom, and a big wooden table and benches to eat at. The building is a remodelled old house that features timberframed beamwork. Stunning!

Oh yeah, in case you’re wondering, yes, we did sing a few bars of “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz”. 🙂