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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Czech This Out, Part V

Where else but in Europe?

Prague's Old Town area was noticeable for the sheer number of Korean tourists (some old but mostly young) taking in its sights, most likely inspired by a popular TV drama. What drew the Chinese visitors (many of them in groups, but also lots of families) to Český Krumlov wasn't so apparent, but there they were, with several Chinese restaurants in the town of 14,000 to serve their culinary needs. Whatever it was that brought them here, they certainly picked a winner. The view on Friday morning from one of our hotel room windows that wasn't facing the castle:

We checked out after breakfast, but left our bags at the reception desk as we crossed the Vltava and headed toward the castle. A look back at the Hotel Dvorak (our room was on the third floor):

Český Krumlov State Castle dates back to the 13th century, though its present form took shape from the 16th to 18th centuries when the property passed into the control of the Schwarzenberg family. The interiors can only be seen by guided tours, and those only operate from April to October. However, the grounds remain open all-year, and visitors out of season (like us) can still walk up the 162 steps of the tower for stunning views of the town below:

The museum also remains open at this time of year, giving visitors an overview of the history of the castle (and including one gruesome corpse):

We walked through the courtyards, taking in even more views along the way:

We reached the castle garden, then turned around and returned to the main part of town:

After lunch the girls returned to our hotel to retrieve our things and bide time before our afternoon bus back to Prague, but I elected to explore the southern part of Český Krumlov, crossing the Vltava again and looking across the water toward the Church of St. Vitus and its landmark neo-Gothic tower:

Český Krumlov's neo-Romanesque synagogue was built in 1909. It was used as a non-denominational house of worship by American soldiers after World War II, after somehow having survived the Nazi occupation. It's now home to a cafe and photo exhibition hall, but the latter was unfortunately closed at the time I stopped by:

The Biker's Bar Bohemia is two doors down from the Gorilla Rock & Pub:

The Museum of Commerce features an impressive collection of old cash registers and examples of the things people shopped for in decades gone past:

Some last looks at the town and castle before boarding the bus to Prague:

We reached Prague just after 6pm, then caught a local bus out to Vaclav Havel Airport, where we checked in to the Holiday Inn Prague Airport for our last night in the Czech Republic. We were up early on Saturday morning to catch our 9am flight to Warsaw, but it was canceled for unexplained reasons, and we had to wait until 12:45 for the next available flight. At least I had a good excuse for how to kill the time:

With the later connecting flight to Vilnius from Warsaw, we got home 5½ hours later than expected. Still, the delays failed to put a damper on what had been an enjoyable trip to one of central Europe's most charming destinations:

Oh, and on Friday morning I learned that we will next be going to this country, beginning in the summer of 2019:

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