Ahoy! (No its not be a pirate for a day - its hello in Czech)
I am currently writing from Vienna but am going to backtrack yet again and retell my stories from Prague and Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. I had a very relaxing time at both these cities. Our hostel in Prague wasn't in the city centre but it was an easy tram ride or a 30 minute or so walk. I was luckily staying in a dorm with some Bus About friends and we spent the first night out to dinner at a Bowling Alley... yes it does sound strange, but this bowling alley had great food and finally it was cheap!! Then spent the rest of the night with some guys from my dorm, treking around in the rain in order to find a sports bar showing the Czech vs Poland World Cup Qualifier. It was pretty different to Aussie sports bars, pretty cramped and only one small tv but we had a good night relaxing with a couple of beers and watching the soccer.
First full day in Prague I went on a walking tour with a couple of people I had met the day before on Bus About. It was absolutely freezing and we were really unlucky that it started to rain.. I was stupid enough to forget my umbrella or raincoat so got soaked! But the free walking tour was great, the guide knew so much about the history of Prague but it was a bit of an overload of information so the only thing I really remember is defenstation which is when enemies were thrown out of windows.. often onto spikes to ensure that they would actually be killed... Apart from the gruesome tales of history, we also saw a few of the main touristy sites, the Old Town Square, Astronomical Clock, The Jewish Quarter, Charles Bridge and the Prague Castle from afar. After the tour we spent some time at the World Press Photography Exhibition which was showing some really amazing photos, so glad I got to see some of that. Then had a rather near death experience.... really scary actually. The three of us were crossing the road, hadnt looked properly and didnt realise one of the traffic lights was still green, halfway across the road and a little white car comes speeding around the corner. I ran out of the way but it swerved and nearly hit one of my friends. Unfortunately, the driver was a large angry Czech man who got out of his car and started shouting abuse at us all.. in the middle of a busy crowded street. Actually thought he was going to chase after us and try and take down the guy we were with... but we escaped with our lives intact, i was literally shaking for a while after though and now am much more careful when crossing the roads. We decided to relax after that experience in a small Cuban cafe overlooking the main square before heading back by tram to the hostel. I spent that night watching Pineapple Express and playing cards with some mates in my dorm.. which was nice to have a break from going out for once and good to learn some new card games!
The second day in Prague I spent doing little odd jobs in the morning, boring organising things that you have to do while your travelling like booking accomodation and buying food at the supermarket. Also did my washing and was surprised at how excited I was with clean clothes!! Its so great when you have been living out of a dirty pack for a couple of weeks. Then trekked off to Prague Castle with Mike and JP from my room.. we didnt bother lining up to get in, just had a look from the outside. Its up on a big hill so it looks pretty amazing when you stand back and take it all in. They then went off to do the walking tour that I had done the day before and I just walked around for a while, just taking the city in, buying postcards etc. We went out for tea again with a really big group and had some amazing pasta. That was followed with a couple of drinks in the bar and a relatively early night because of the early start the next morning to catch the bus.
Most of our Bus About crew caught the bus from Prague to Cesky Kulmov the next day. I can't imagine many of you would have heard of it, its a really small medieval town in the Czech Republic. All these cute little houses with red roofs and cobblestone streets, surrounded by a river... not very well known, but it has so much charm, definitely one of my favourite stop offs on this trip. The hostel we stayed at was ultra different to any others I have stayed in. First of all, it was in a 14th century building so it had really gorgeous walls and wooden beams supporting every ceiling. It had a really homey feel to it and we all felt really comfortable relaxing there. The only downfall was that there was no major common room area so we spent alot of time in the kitchen... which got extremely cramped at times, and especially on keg night... every wed the hostel puts on a keg of free beer, it got pretty rowdy that night in the hostel before we all trekked off to a cocktail bar in the main square!
Cesky is a pretty small town and we discovered it all on the first day when we arrived. It has a small 'castle' with a tower that was great to climb, it gave amazing views of the city and the mountains surrounding it. There are also some great gardens we walked through and some cute mountain bears that are sadly locked up at the bottom of the tower in this small enclosure. Our time at Cesky was absolutely freezing, the first day we got there it started snowing! We would have looked like the biggest idiots, jumping up from our restaraunt table and running into the street to take photos when we realised it was real snow falling from the sky!! It took a while to adjust to the cold weather but we embraced the cold and made sure we rugged up, especially when we went off on our horse riding trek in the mountains. That was gorgeous and I'm so glad we did that because you got to see the countryside around Cesky and its so natural and fresh up there.. the air feels so untouched. Apart from the looking around, we spent a lot of time in the hostel, they had a really small tv area under the stairs... that would comfortably fit 5 or so people... although we had about 12 girls at one stage all huddled around together watching the notebook!! all burst into laughter when we realised how many of us were tearing up for the hundredth time.
I spent two nights in Cesky, which was a good amount in my eyes. Had a good relay and got to know some Bus Abouters really well.... lots of chats in the cosy restaraunt next door or even just sitting together in our beds. We left Cesky Krumlov on Thursday and travelled to Vienna, where I am writing to you from now. It is still just as cold as in the Czech Republic and randomly snows sometimes.. which i still find exciting. So Im still rugging up with lots of layers everyday just to keep warm.. I am never going to say Adelaide winters are cold after this experience! I stupidly booked into the wrong Wombats hostel (who knew there would be two in Vienna!) so all of my bus friends are in that one.. but its not too hard to sneak into their bar, only five minutes away and im getting the chance to meet some other people... some of which are not Australian, a real rare experience with all the Aussies travelling in Europe. Anyway Im off to their bar now, so I will write again soon. From Vienna its on to Venice and then by train to Rome, Florence and Cinque Terra (so excited about this stop)... so keep reading to here more about my tales in Italy and the random little things that happen along the way!