Cesky Krumlov

The word ‘quaint’ barely does the town of Cesky Krumlov justice.

It is divided in two by the bends of a river and dates back to before the 12th century.

View from the castle.

Cesky is also home to the largest castle in the Czech Republic outside Prague. We spent the morning having what turned out to be a private guided tour, since no one else turned up. We met our guide, a young lady from Cesky, in the town square and walked around the centre of town. Her accent was a little hard to understand. If the difficulty of Czech words for native English speakers is anything to go by, I’m amazed we could understand her at all.

A lot of the buildings here have stonework or alcoves with statues painted on rather than actually there. It’s a really weird effect that makes it look like the whole place is a Hollywood set or made of cardboard.

The weather continues to be surprisingly warm and so we found a table at a cafe by the riverside and sat down in the sun, feeling quite content. This really is a postcard-perfect town. In fact I bought quite a pile of postcards to send home just to show people how lovely this place is.

Next stop was the castle. It had been owned by a succession of rich families over the centuries and each had added various parts with no apparent consideration as to the style that was already there. It drifts in sections from medieval to baroque to classical but is still attractive and very imposing, set on a hill overlooking the town.

The views from the castle are magnificent and each of the several thousand Japanese and American tourists who were there today would agree with me.

Ooh, can’t forget the gastronomic highlights of the day, firstly, pastries cooked on a metal tube and then rolled in sugar and cinnamon. What could go wrong?

For our dinner we had an early meal at ‘The Two Marias’, a place recommended by the manager of the hostel. We opted for a share platter that included chicken, ham, millet cakes, wheat confections, salad, cabbage and potatoes. The meal was supposed to represent a selection of traditional Czech food from the last few centuries.

It was extremely tasty, with the noticeable vinegary tang of preserved cabbage and paprika on the chicken. Czech cuisine is pretty unknown to me, outside of goulash, so it was nice to try some unknown things. We’re saving the goulash for tomorrow.