Saturday, October 01, 2011
Medieval times in Cesky Krumlov
I am an obsessive trip planner. I love researching vacations! I knew that I would want to find a nice, quiet place to recover from the marathon and Oktoberfest. I knew that my entire body would hate me. I read about Cesky Krumlov, in the southern Czech republic and knew that would be my spot!
I took the train to Salzburg and had a mystery snack at Julius Meinl. I enjoy pointing to things on the menu and just taking a chance. This was a lump of pastry with dust on top:
I met Kimberley and her sister Steph (Stedders 2) in Salzburg for lunch. Our trips overlapped a bit. They drove with Carrie and Brian. I wasn't going to fit in a tiny european car so I took a nice, peaceful train ride. Goulash for lunch:
I waited for my shuttle to Cesky Krumlov in this spot forever. The shuttle never came, so I called them. My shuttle driver got in a car accident! He was OK but they had to send another shuttle for me that would take 4 additional hours.
I had time to meet Kimberley and Carrie for dinner, then got on the shuttle with an Aussie named Daniel. Daniel is from Darwin and works as a technical person at a radio station. We had a nice conversation about travel, work, the usual. We didnt get to the Czech republic until almost 11PM. It was dark and foggy. The border had an array of sinister stip clubs and casinos. We lurched and bumped along Cesky Krumlovs (sorry, cant figure out punctuation on this computer) cobblestone roads to my amazing 500 year old hotel. Antiques everywhere, worn stairs, a fake cathedral ceiling painted on the wall!
Cesky Krumlov was absolutely beautiful and peaceful. I had a Czech combo platter for lunch of all mystery items and took a walk up to the castle.
Every stairway looked like it was going into a medieval dungeon. Everything had so much atmosphere!
I sat outside and met an old Polish man named Stanislaw. He had to heat up his beer with a special heater because it was too cold for him. He barely spoke english so we had a conversation with my German translation book. Stan has relatives in Chicago, and a divorced son in Austria. He mimed "divorce" by angrily pretending to rip off a wedding ring and throw it. That made me laugh. He kept saying SADA YOU A VELY NICE WOMAN. VELY NICE!!
He showed me his polish crossword puzzle.
I had to do laundry so I went to the only laundromat in town, which had three machines and two of them out of order. My hotel knew of a secret laundromat in a basement down the street where I could do my own laundry. They gave me a key and directions. I did laundry in a hidden stone cellar by just guessing how the machines worked. I love doing laundry on vacation, hate it at home!
I came across a group of Asians amusing themselves by dressing up in medieval costumes, laughing and photographing eachother. They were wearing crowns and robes and posing and pretending to joust.
I decided to take a break from meat at a vegetarian restaurant. I ordered something random from the menu. It was like Czech macaroni and cheese. VELY NICE as the polish man would say.
I had the best waiter. It was closing time and David brought me a free mead (hot honey wine) because he heard me coughing. He sat down and we talked about what it was like for him to live in Prague in 1989. He said that November 1989 (he is 2 years younger than me) was the most amazing and happy time. I learned about what it was like for him to grow up there in the 70s and 80s. He is somewhat of a free spirit, travelling to Africa, Latin America, all over Asia. We talked about our respective travels and countries. David spoke perfect english because he was one of three exchange students from Prague in 1991 to Phoenix, Arizona. He also ran the Prague marathon once. It was the most fun evening of conversation and so nice to get to know someone from the Czech republic. Just makes me smile to think about it.
The next day I took a tour of the Eggenberg brewery. Yes, the girl that fell off a bench at Oktoberfest took a brewery tour two days later. I met a fun older couple from Ottawa, Rick and Susan.
Eggenberg beer sells mainly to Cesky Krumlov, and a little bit to Austria and Scandinavia. Its a very local product. The machines looked very 1950s.
some important chart about beer making:
After the tour, we got a free sample in the restaurant and I ordered some stuffed dumplings with smoked meats and sauerkraut. I let the Canadians taste some. It was so delicious. I told them that I was changing my name to Sara stuffed dumpling. Earlier I mentioned that my last name means umbrella in German. "you can be Sara Dumpling Umbrella!" said Rick.
That sounds great to me. I think I'll just stay in Cesky Krumlov, change my name to Sara Dumpling Umbrella and live happily ever after.