Wow. This last week has just zipped by so quickly. So here’s my next instalment in my Inter-railing in Europe posts. This follows on as the next stop after Prague – Czech Republic. Again many of the photos are from my travel buddy because this was the section my camera wiped.
So Cesky Krumlov is a small town in the south of the Czech Republic, and to get there from Prague we had to take the train to Cesky Budejovice and then change to a regional train to Cesky Krumlov.
We had already tried scoping out the train station in Prague on a previous day so hopefully there would be no hiccups when it came to getting onto the train. In our preparation we also packed ourselves lunch and food for the journey so we wouldn’t get hungry. Can’t travel on an empty stomach.
In many stations in foreign countries it can be slightly difficult trying to work out the many different signs, and any announcements they make, but *most* of the places tend to have the signs translated into English as well. At least in the major stations. So it shouldn’t be too difficult, you can also normally look up the train times on-line, so that makes identifying the platform easier as you can find out the departure time and final destination. In some of these European trains the final destination can be a few countries away from where you’re planning on going.
It’s also a good idea to have looked up the arrival time of the train at your stop. On the train the announcements might not be easy to understand, so it’s good to be prepared. Our train was relatively easy to find (albeit furthest from the entrance of course) but the steps to the carriages looked rather precarious so be careful climbing up/down them, especially if you’re carrying large rucksacks.
The journey was pleasant, we managed to get a compartment to ourselves and the scenery from the windows was full of snowy fields and forests, with something quintessentially continental Europe about it, although quite what that was I’m not sure.
We changed at Cesky Budejovice relatively easily, although that moment of panic before you see the station sign, wondering if you’ve actually got off at the correct stop, was less than great…The regional train was a big change, only 2 carriages long, and if you stood at the end of the carriage you could see through the door and down onto the snowy track behind the train, quite bizzare.
Most of the stops were just a signpost and maybe a small shelter and the stops weren’t very long at all, so we wanted to be ready when our stop came. When getting off the train you didn’t even have a platform, it was straight down onto the ground from the train, quite a distance for someone small like me!
Since we had no map, we had a brain wave and photographed the tourist map at the station so that we could look at it on the way. This can be quite useful at times, and can save on carrying lots of maps around!
It was a fairly long walk into town but we reached the hostel and got settled in to a nice room, not a dorm this time, we opted for a twin since it was only slightly more expensive, it’s nice to have your own space sometimes.
I had been to Cesky Krumlov once before, 6/7 years previously I had been at a sailing competition at Lake Lipno and on the Lay-day (day off) we had gone to see Cesky Krumlov and the castle, so I still remembered some of the town and I knew it had some really nice jewellery (presents for my mum I think).
The town itself isn’t very big, but it’s picturesque and nice to just wander around in. The first evening we walked around the castle and took some pictures, difficult in the dark conditions. Then we found a local restaurant to have some dinner. I try to go for the places that don’t have their menu translated into 5 different languages, because although that is useful at times, in my experience they are more likely to be tourist traps and possibly more expensive.
We got to experience some good food whilst here, some more traditional like goulash and dumplings, potato pancakes (so tasty), and local cakes. But some not so traditional like pizza, although the pizza’s we did get served were absolutely huge.
During the days we spent most of our time wandering around and seeing the sights, although it was only a short stop in Cesky Krumlov. We visited the Castle during the day and went up the tower (which did cost around 30forint/ £1 – not bad value) it had some really good views of the town. Trying to avoid getting some of the more modern tower blocks in the photos was a bit of a challenge though unfortunately.
We also walked along the high admiring some of the great jewellery that they sell here. It’s quite popular for amber jewellery, although a lot of it can be quite expensive. But they also do some very nice glass pieces. So I bought some of those as presents.
I do find that the days just complete wipe me out whilst travelling, so you should try to factor in some time for just relaxing and maybe having a nap some times…
Although Cesky Krumlov doesn’t have a great amount of stuff to do, at least not that we found in our short stop, it was a lovely picturesque and relaxing place to spend a couple of days!
Well next it’s back onto the train and off to Vienna, Austria.