Sunday, December 30, 2012

gorgeousness overload: a weekend in český krumlov

we finally got around to doing something we'd thought about doing last year - visiting český krumlov in bohemia. i'd heard a lot about it, and whoever went there, fell in love with it. many said just before christmas was a good time to go, because of the christmas market and the general cosiness and picturesqueness of the small town in winter. the journey by train was a bit of a travel back in time - from a very modern austrian commuter train we changed to an old czech train and from that on to a very small diesel thing that seemed like a cross between bus and train. pitch-dark outside, no announcements, so we had to ask locals in order not to miss our station!

our hotel, na louži, was conveniently situated in the town centre. i'd found it on the internet, and found the pictures too inviting to resist. such a quaint, cosy little place, with rooms named after family ancestors, in a house that dates back to the 15th century. plus a generous breakfast, and very, very friendly staff, it turned out.

lucky that the chilly spell ended shortly before we arrived - temperatures had been rather low, and who fancies outdoor exploring when it's -10°C (14F)? it was cold enough the first evening, especially when we went to take photos around 9 pm ... setting up the tripod, experimenting with exposure, ... refreshing. ;)

saturday morning brought dangerous streets: the old, worn-down, smooth cobblestones all across town were covered in a thin layer of ice at first ... made for interesting walking! we visited the schiele art centre - enjoyed both the permanent exhibition on schiele as well as the temporary josef florian krichbaum (A) and gerald scarfe (UK) exhibitions. yes, the latter played an important part in making pink floyd's "the wall" a reality. there were plenty of interesting, disturbing, caustic caricatures to see.

we explored the feature that dominates the town - the castle / palace. gorgeous views, what with the lightly snow-dusted roofs below, leftovers of mist on the outskirts of town, the river winding through town, the sun working its way through the clouds. i really do understand why everyone's raving about that place! charming, with the houses huddled together, as if protecting each other from the cold.

as it got warmer, the streets got less slippery, and it did me so good to be outdoors so much! mind you, being indoors for waffles at deli 99 wasn't so bad either ...

dinner was really good both friday and saturday night, at different places. interesting menus, too, with lots of funny little spelling and translation errors. we'd have loved to dine at one of the many places with live music, but they were all packed, and at our hotel they only have live music on sunday evenings, not saturdays. shame. must stay until monday next time!

on sunday we did more exploring, including the christmas market and a part of town we had not seen the previous day. it was rather warm - and fortunately it only rained a little in the morning during breakfast.

i love that the town is so full of lovely details - in the decoration, the paintings on most of the old houses, fanciful wrought iron in front of windows, gables, lamps, etc. quite breathtakingly beautiful. neat little shops, too. i bought a leather handbag and nearly bought a kind of designer skirt, but then decided against it. found some cute frog and giraffe earrings and cat necklaces, too. i could've spent quite some money in those shops, i can tell you!

here are some photos taken around town. enjoy. and visit if you can. more photos online at flickr.

nighttime houses

soft light on an old house

winter idyll

view of town


nighttime castle

towers in the night

letter to a steak?

at na louži

town in the window

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