I don’t think I mentioned it in yesterday’s blog, but we stayed in a really nice two bedroom loft apartment in Cesky Budejovice. The decor was lovely and the design was quite nice. It would certainly have been a great place to stay if I were to be staying for a week. Unfortunately we were there for just one night.
We got up early and headed down with Maggie and Francis for breakfast. Breakfast was totally a la carte and included in the night’s stay. We ordered omelettes and toast as well as OJ. They made us fresh squeezed Veggie/Orange Juice that was delicious as well as coffees and hot chocolates… Great service! We walked around the hotel for a bit and did a bit more shopping (surprisingly, there was more shopping to do!) The girls headed back to the Bata store (shoes) and managed to find even more stuff to buy.
We had arranged that we could “check out” at 10:30 and move our luggage all to one room so that we could walk along the riverside and shop some more. When I talked to the clerk/cook/waiter/all in one guy, he talked to the cleaning girl who told me, “No problem, you can put your bags all up in the 3rd floor room that you used”. That was the one that Mrs D, Francis, Maggie and I had stayed in. The vote of the women in our group was “No way in Hell am I going to carry my luggage UP those stairs again just to haul it back down”.
We politely declined to offer to let us store our bags in one of the rooms. We left Maggie and Cathy watching the luggage and enjoying coffee and ice cream while the rest of us wandered down to the riverside for some relaxing views. We started walking down the side of the river and I had the 100-400 out in the hope of catching a bird or two. I was walking about 50m ahead so that they wouldn’t scare away my birds.
About 10 minutes into our walk down the river, Mrs D calls me back. “We’re going back to the hotel”
“We’re going back – we don’t want to leave Maggie and Cathy there abandoned.”
Personally, THEY made the choice to not carry up their luggage. They made the choice to stay and now we cut our riverside walk short. Grumble.
“OK dear”, really – what else was I going to say.
We made it down to the bus station in plenty of time to catch the 1320 bus. It is a short ride, shorter than the regular 50 minute ride, this one is only 35 minutes! We got on the large coach to find that Cesky Budejovice isn’t the first stop and that the bus is fairly full. We get our seats and I watch cartoons (Tom and Jerry) on the bus TV while drifting in and out of sleep. As we start slowing down the “guide” on the bus announces in English and Czech something about the next stop. Maggie says “We get off here!”
We got off the bus, and then quickly showed someone our map and asked “Is this the stop that we just got off at?”
“No, Next stop.” came the answer.
I turned to the woman that had announced things earlier and asked “Can we get back on – we’re at the wrong stop?”
“You should have listened” she says bitterly.
“Sorry… we didn’t hear the announcement well”, I say, holding back the comment about her accent being so thick you could cut it with a knife, and where does she get off being so rude to me.
“Can we get back on?” I repeat.
You’ve got to be kidding me?!?!?! Why? Because we’re at the wrong stop, you horse’s ass!
My real reaction was just to stand there dumbfounded.
She then motioned to put our bags back on the bus, I wasn’t going to wait for anything nicer. I didn’t want to walk and extra 2km uphill in the rain. We loaded our bags feverishly back on the bus and timidly found seats for the short ride. People seemed to be understanding that the dumb tourists were at the wrong stop. I’m guessing this wasn’t the first time this happened.
We got off at the RIGHT stop about 5 minutes later and unloaded from the bus – AGAIN. We settled in with our rain gear and starting pulling our luggage along the cobblestones again. Someone would make a killing if they make luggage with wheels that handle cobblestones better. We trundled down the narrow roads and had a glimpse of the castle tower while descending. We walked, and walked and walked some more. Eventually we pulled up to our lovely little home for the next two days, the Alchymy Hotel. Being a beautiful building from sometime in the 19th century it meant that elevators were out of the question. Good stairs, while optional back then, didn’t make it into this place either. Uneven wooden stairs wound their way up to our places on the European 2nd and 3rd floors (The ground floor is Floor Zero). The rooms were lovely. nicely decorated in period style furniture and floors must have been 100 years old if they were a day.
After settling into our hotel at around 1500 we decided to split up and wander on our own to see and explore Cesky Krumlov (UNESCO World Heritage Site) I thought this would be a great time to take time and shoot things with Mrs D. Not so. She stopped at almost EVERY shop along the way. So, I managed to escape from the group shopping and ended up in my own personal shopping hell. There are way too many crappy souvenir and crafty art stores in town… We ended up with more for the house. I did get SOME shots, but so many tourists cramming in and around made it tough.
After freshening up at our hotel rooms at 1800 we headed out and found a good place for dinner that served a good South Bohemian cuisine. We had roast duck, fried cheese, salad, Pork knee and a platter simply called “Mixed Grill” It made me wonder how many cariovascular surgeons live near the town… I imagine that one or more tourists has maxed out on meat and cholesterol at some time 😉
When we got back to the hotel there was no reception dude.. .no dude meant not being able to get Internet. No internet means that today’s photos and today’s blog will end up being posted tomorrow. Bummer.
We were home by 2200. At that point I went out on my own and shot some night shots of the castle tower and the square as well as an alley or two. Overall – quite successful. I am really pleased with some of the results.
I got to sleep by 0030… making me happy – I was planning to heading out to shoot the tower castle at sunrise at 0430 with Francis. hope. For that there would have to be a sunrise. I went to sleep quickly in anticipation of the morning photo shoot.
The photos are a day or so behind… they can be found at: