15.10.2010 - 18.10.2010
Next it was off to Chesky Krumolov a place I had always wanted to visit since I first ventured over this way in 2005 but have somehow just missed for one reason or another. Originally the place was an entirely german speaking town up until the end of the second world war when they were all expelled and the government then devoid of ideas invited the gypsies into the town. The place then became run down but after the velvet revolution in 1989 the town has slowly been restored to its former glory. The place is also very famous for being used as one of the filming locations for the Tarrantino film, Hostel.
Far from the image presented in the film the place is a fairytale little village with cobblestone streets and a really pretty castle complete with the castle “guardians”, three bears that were apparently bought as a present due to mistaken identity. Wandering around the castle is simply beautiful especially at the moment as autumn sets in and the trees are undergoing their transformation creating some truly breathtaking scenery. The area around the lake with the leaves covering the roads and the trees displaying the lovely autumn palette looks so close to unreal! Its only a shame I won’t be here when it snows, sometime in 1-2 weeks seems to be the best guess because I think the place would look truly magical at this time.
Apparently in summer this place is over run with tourists and locals avoid the old town as there is just no room to move with tourists wandering the photogenic castle grounds and drifting down the river on rafting pub crawls. In off season however the place is so tranquil and quiet it is really surreal, I remember talking to a couple that were looking for a quiet bar to have a drink and I remarked they would have more trouble finding a busy bar at the moment. But that’s the beauty of the place at the moment everything is relaxed and laid back no one is hurrying and everything can be done with a minimum of fuss when you want to!
The next day we checked out the local brewery of the town which despite not being as popular as its other Czech beer cousins in loved within the town for its contribution to the community. Strangely the brewery has been on the brink of bankruptcy after some difficult years both controllable and otherwise but is now changing is business to utilize its grounds as well as its product. The nicest thing about the brewery however would be the way it is run and that is why it is so loved by the town. The brewery is majority staffed by the homeless people of the town who receive little in the way of money for their work but are provided with free accommodation and all the beer they can drink accept when they are working! Such a simple but effective idea that has worked wonders and as a result there is no homeless situation here like there is in so many other tourists towns.
With one more good night of food and beer (especially the beer) the entire hostel was once again heading off on the same day. This is what is strange about hostels on the bus-about they fill and empty on cycle…..very strange if you are on a different schedule. Tomorrow it was off to continue the “Hostel” trail with a trip to Bratislava, capital of Slovak Republic.