Our day trip to Southern Bohemia (the SW of the Czech Republic) was more or less planned out beforehand with a little bit of flexibility.
Our first stop? České Budějovice.
As we were walking into the town, this old homeless man jumped in front of us and asked for money. Walter and I both sternly said no but, in my surprise, I sucked in the air around me as he jumped in front of us and I spent the next five minutes forcing myself not to throw up in my mouth from the smell….. not. a. good. start.
Honestly, we got bored quite easily. This town looked a lot like most other Czech towns: a big square with some kind of church on or near the square with a pretty fountain in the middle and lots of brightly colored, typically Czech buildings surrounding it.
We bought a magnet/postcard per our travel tradition and walked back to the train station. For some reason, I didn’t write down the name of the town we were supposed to travel to next so I had to guess and then write down something wrong and the ticket lady finally guessed the right town and we bought the ticket and she motioned that the train was leaving in 2 minutes. We rain up and scrambled around trying to find the right train… we finally talked to the right person and got on board. All in all, we spent 50 minutes exactly in České Budějovice. After we got on the train, Walter and I talked about how this felt like one of those quintessential European travel moments that people talk about.
We were on our way to Holubov, a small town down the mountain of Klet’. The only reason we were going there is because I read that there was a chairlift that would take you up part of the mountain. I can now tell you that while there was a chairlift but it was no where near the town of Holubov.
We walked through the town towards the mountain. Despite the research I had done prior to our trip, I could not find a map of this town with actual street names and I also could not find a map telling us where the chair lift up the mountain was. Regardless, we continued walking towards the tall mountain in the distance.
These fields of flowers are literally everywhere in this part of the Czech Republic. Apparently (upon some research) we discovered that it is rapeseed or canola used for oil. Upon reaching this particular field, we saw a very small green arrow pointing around the field. While walking around this field we heard the sound of a massive number of bees – a literal swarm. There were hundreds (if not thousands) of bees buzzing around the fields we were inches from. As you can see below, we had walked from Holubov (1.5 km, 0.9 mi) and we were walking towards Klet’, another 5 km (3.1 mi) away. In addition, it was part of the plan to walk down the mountain to Český Krumlov which, as you can see, was 13 km (8 mi) away from that spot. And the chairlift was no where in sight….(dramatic music).We also had been following these two women for quite awhile hoping that they knew where the chair lift was… they must have thought we were some creeps (see the two dots in the photo below).
We kept on walking uphill…. stalking these women. FINALLY, after climbing up a hill and past a bunch of motorcyclists, and then up another steep hill….we made it to this weird building where the chairlift was. Unfortunately, the chairlift runs once every hour at the top of the hour. Fortunately, we got there at 11:30am – we only had to wait 30 minutes.
I was quite nervous when I saw the chairlift. I don’t know if you can see it below but the chair lift is individuals in individual chairs. While it wasn’t so bad once you’re actually in the chair, it looked very intimidating at first. The chair came down the line and then swung around at a pretty fast speed while you were standing on a target with your back to the chair. As you bend over (facing away from it), the chair basically scoops you up and it feels like you sail away.
Scared that I was going to drop my camera (and not thinking of the simple solution of simply putting the camera around my neck), I broke my camera down and put it in Walter’s backpack. Walter, not wanting to risk dropping my camera, did not put my camera back together and take any photos of us on the 15 minute trip up the mountain.
While we had avoided the rain up to this point, it did rain on us on the way up as well as when we reached the top. This was unfortunate as the view supposedly allowed us to see some of the Swiss Alps in the distance. There was literally no visibility whatsoever and, as the restaurant was packed with no spare seats, we could not wait for the storm to move on.
The fog was absolutely beautiful though. We did get lost following the wrong trail for 1 km or so but we did make a friend in a snail. I ended up taking photos on my hands and knees while people and bikers passed us.
The fog did clear as we walked down the mountain. I realized about 2 km down the mountain that I had to pee and the sensation continued to increase as we walked down. For the first time ever (which, weirdly, makes my mother proud), I peed outdoors. And that’s all I’ll say.
This was a LONG walk down the hill. I mean, it’s like 6 miles from the top of the mountain and we had wandered about lost for about 1 km (o.6 mi) and then walked another 1.5 km (0.9 mi) from Holubov and then more walking all over… we were really really really really tired.
What was really strange was that there were no animals anywhere. At all. Absolutely no animals at all. No squirrels. No birds. No chipmunks. No armadillos. No deer. No nothing. It was SO weird. I had heard that the Czech Republic didn’t have many wild animals but it was quite disconcerting.
Finally (finally, finally, finally) we made it to Český Krumlov; A beautiful city that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for very good reason.
Now this is what I call a castle. What was so very unfortunate was that we were way too exhausted to do anything in this city whatsoever. We went to a recommended restaurant which was a major letdown and then we walked around until we found a shop where we bought a map. We found out where the bus station was and made our way there after eating some pizza. We ended up leaving 4 hours earlier than planned and fell asleep soon after we got on the bus. It was an exhausting day but it was great. We will definitely be going back to Český Krumlov again when we can spend an entire day enjoying the town.