May 30, 2010 Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

1 06 2010

We had talked about getting up to see the sunrise on the tower.  Since sunrise is at 0406, I figured we could get away with getting out the door by 0430 to shoot.  Francis and Maggie joined me in my early morning venture.  As we walked out the front door we were disappointed to find the sky heavy with clouds.  There would be no sunrise shoot :(  We decided to wander the streets and alleys a bit to see what we could shoot. I was amazed at the large number of partiers coming HOME at that time.

We called it a shoot at 0530 and I fell quickly back into a deep and blissful slumber…  to be disturbed by Mrs D poking me at 0730… “Get up for breakfast”

We enjoyed ground poppy seed paste on little danishes and an assortment of fruit, cheese, meat and eggs.  I tried the eggs and I swear to God that they were powdered.  Yeach!  I had a nice yogurt and some OJ to round out my breakfast.  I then headed up to my room to ensure that my photos were transferring while waiting for the others to finish their breakfasts.

Today we headed up to the castle.  It wasn’t too bad a walk.  In the “moat” around the castle, there are 3 bears.  It looks like 1 black and 2 grizzly bears.  Apparently a tradition for the last 300-400 years We paid our entrance and climbed the winding staircase to the top of the castle tower.  The view was wonderful.  Cesky Krumlov sat below us like some small medieval train set laid out below with its red clay roof tiles.  Picture postcard perfect.  Of course, I took LOTS of pictures 😉

After enjoying the tower we descended to the castle proper to see what we could see.  When we got to the ticket booth we were informed that castle admission is only available as part of a tour.  No unattended visitors.  This was different than what Maggie had remembered last time but it’s not like we had any choice.  We forked over our money and waited for the tour.   While waiting, I met a group of professors from Atlanta that were on a tour of the Czech Republic and area. It was interesting to see them actually taking NOTES during the tour.   Our tour guide was quite nice although her accent and mannerism in her English reminded me of a stereotypical “Russian communist guard” from the old days.  “You Vill see to the riiight……”  It was quite the intimidating voice despite her charming smile.  The accent made it a bit hard to hear in the cavernous walls of the castle as she led us from room to room.  There were no photos allowed.  That sucked as there were some beautiful works hanging on the walls as well as in the rooms.  I’m not sure how they manage to preserve the items in the castle as there appeared to be no climate control at all.  There were no lights in most rooms and natural light was your source for seeing as you went through the tour.  It really gave you a feeling of how the rulers lived.

After our castle tour was complete we headed up in the now heavier rain to the castle gardens.  I’m sure in July they will be beautiful, but today the plants were quite small and the colder weather certainly didn’t coax them to grow any faster.  As we made our way from the gardens to the castle pond we encountered a “theatre under the stars”.  The seating was on a revolving amphitheatre and it appears that the different acts of the play would be played out in the fields using natural props.  As each scene changed, the amphitheatre simply rotated to the next point.  Interesting.  would have been neat to watch a play there.

The castle pond was great for me… I found a new duck species – a tufted duck!  I’ll post it later in my pictures. 

We wandered back down through town and ate lunch at 1400 after which Francis and I decided that a nap would be wise thing.  I  was practically falling asleep on my feet.  We agreed to meet the women at the bridge near our hotel at 1730.

I woke in a panic at 1725 and was just getting my wits about me as Francis knocked on the door.  “Coming!!” I said, as I quickly got ready and headed out.  We ended up being a bit late but Mrs D and Cathy had settled in to some hot chocolate so weren’t that picky about the fact that we weren’t quite on time.

We all wandered down to the riverside to walk along the river while watching the sun set on the town.  Some very interesting photos were available with the sun setting against some dark cloud backgrounds.  We had a good time playing with off camera flash and a bit of posing.

The walk brought us around in time to make it to our destination for dinner.  An old medieval tavern.  It really was the same as it had been in the 16th century.  Dark, low rocky ceilings with various weaponry adorning the walls.  The atmosphere was perfect and I could easily imagine coming in from working for the prince to have some good pork and cup of mead to satisfy your belly.

Coincidently, that’s what I had :)  We had pork knee, bratwurst, pike, onion soup and garlic soup – both served in bread bowls.  I drank a cup of hot mead. Most excellent!  I don’t think I can explain it other than it warmed me with it’s aroma flavour and alcohol content.  Wonderful drink for a cold wet day.

We finished around 2115 and were back to our hotel by 2130.  That gave me some time to upload photos and update the blog.  (which is getting further and further behind 😦 )

We went out at 2200 to try some night shots of the tower from a different angle than last night with varying degress of success.

When I got back.. it was photo update time until 0100.

Finally Sleep.

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