Our first stop was Hluboká nad Vltavou Chateau. It dates back to 13C but evolved through it’s most recent Gothic facelift in 19C and now looks a bit like Windsor Castle. We had the choice of waiting 1.5 hours for an English tour or joining a Czech tour accompanied by an English language handout. We chose the later and were quite satisfied with the result. A couple standouts for us were that the walls and ceilings were primarily decorated with ornately carved wood but Princess Elenora’s private rooms included lovely floral ceiling panels to brighten things up. (No photos allowed. Bummer.)
We later enjoyed wandering around the main square with the fountain, iron pianos and interesting rain spouts.
|Iron pianos as a tribute to a local musician|
As expected, C Krumlov is packed with tourists, but it is so very cute, what else could we expect? We hurried up to the Castle for a brief tour before closing. The museum is fine but not amazing. The view from the WatchTower is a highlight. Then we wandered through the Castle Gardens and back to town.
|The Castle Watchtower|
|View of one of the dams on the Vlatava River in C Krumlov. |
Note the canoes (above and below the dam) and the the sluice way to the right that
allows canoeing around the dam.
We rose early the next morning for a walk to checkout the pre-crowd town. We discovered it to be chilly (53F). We confirmed that typical tourists sleep-in until 8am and that this town lends itself better to afternoon light.
By 10:30 we were ready for a guided tour around town. Making beer & raising fish were historically the income producing activities. There were four royal families up through WWII, then everything was nationalized and the buildings were totally neglected under communism. The last royal family, the ones who also owned Hluboká nad Vltavou Chateau, were established by the first Duke who was proud of his triumph in a key battle with the Ottomans. After the battle he saw a raven feating off the head of a Turk. He was so struck by the image that he chose to highlight it for his family shield. Nice, huh?
Following communism, properties in CK could be purchased for roughly $4000 (US). Those same properties would now be worth $500K - $1 million. There is a cool rotating theater on the castle grounds. The concept is that instead of waiting for scenes to change, the audience rotates to the next scene. Or if the story requires a move from one town to another, the audience moves with the actors to the next town. Unfortunately the theater dates from the 1950’s and is not appreciated by UNESCO. So the big controversy is: tear down the theater? Move it outside the castle grounds? Move it underground, raising it up for performances? The later options are very costly (i.e. millions of dollars). Tearing it down also means remove more recent heritage. For now, status quo wins.
After a little walking and shopping we stopped at a riverside cafe for lunch. The wine, a Pinot Noir from Moravia, was rich and fruity and bolstered the flavors of the bread, prosciutto and fruit we had for lunch. After lunch we continued our walking and shopping tour and after a short break at the hotel Pat went on another shopping trip and bought a shirt.
|This Rudlandské Modré (Pinot Noir in Czech) was yummy before the meal, |
with the meal and after the meal.
For our evening repast we went to Papa's and had another table along the river. We had an arugula and prosciutto pizza accompanied by a new wine to us, Andre Hrabal 2012 (good body and flavor, was decanted by the server, and held up during the whole meal). Note the interesting label.
Next morning before departing we went to an overlook near the hotel, got one last photo and met a young couple from Beijing also taking photos. He took a great photo of us with the castle in the background and then they asked us to pose with them. Of course we did but I'll never quite understand the attraction for having photos taken with strangers.