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By this Author: chrisvasil

Ceske Budejovice

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Ceske Budejovice didn't live up to expectations, though I guess that's a bit unfair to the city since we were expecting something like Cesky Krumlov, only bigger.

We had an excellent 1 star hotel room across the street from the train/bus station for 10 Euro each per night,
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There are some statues in the square and town hall is kind of fancy
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On our second day there I followed the river around the city, but the camera died so only a few pics.
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Posted by chrisvasil 12:56 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Cesky Krumlov - Beautiful small town with river and castle

rain 24 °C
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Cesky Krumlov is a beautiful small town in Czech with a river running through it (horseshoe-shaped) and a large castle. It's also a great city to spend a day or two in - the Lonely Planet map is 1km x 1km, so everything is extremely walkable.

Here's a typical view from a footbridge

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The red gate, entrance to the castle grounds
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Castle tower
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It started raining, so Sue was briefly grumpy -- but that didn't last long because it was such a beautiful and relaxing city.
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View from the castle
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I don't know why they do this -- instead of making buildings out of bricks or cement blocks, they make them out of concrete or have a stucco front, then paint brick shadows
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Cool, very accurate sundial
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Still on the castle grounds, is the Royal Garden. It's massive and beautiful. Whoever designed the castle and whoever decided to maintain it are wonderful.
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Us, walking in the garden - any photo in Krumlov with both of us was taken using 10 sec delay after many, many attempts. We had fun at it though.
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Hollow trees - at first I assumed they were rotten
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But then I wasn't so sure (this one looked perfectly healthy)
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More of us in the garden
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Massive slug
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Czech has beautiful manhole covers
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Best euromullet yet. On a young girl, no less (runner-up is her sister). I wonder what bets their dad lost....
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Sue on Horni Street. hehehe, it's a good place to be. At the end of the block you can find Jesus on Horni Street.
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Castle from below
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Me holding my bags and Sue's purse. I've been careful, but knocked one or two people with bags over the course of time since I'm not used to being 4 times my thickness.
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At the bus stop with internet, looking the way I usually do during downtime -- map, pen, and notebook in one hand, netbook in the other, Lonely Planet/Lets go open next to me, bags everywhere in front of me (locked together if it's a sketchy town).
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Posted by chrisvasil 12:50 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Prague - An old capital city

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The capital of Czech, Prague was amazing, largely because of the Sandemanns walking tour we took.

National museum, 5 min walk to train station and 2 min to our hostel

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Our hostel was huge, central, and cheap -- "Prague-One", a 3-room, 10-bed place on the second floor of an old fancy lowrise.
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The pink building is the old city hall, destroyed in WWII. The city otherwise remained almost entirely untouched.
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In the Jewish quarter - a statue of Kafka riding a headless, bodyless man, an illustration of a nightmare he had.
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the synagogue, which looks like a mosque in an homage to the Spanish Moors, Muslims who were among the only Europeans who were accepting of Jews at the time. The rest of the Jewish quarter was razed about a hundred years ago, as they hadn't had freedom of movement within the city for a several generations until the area became an uninhabitably overpopulated slum.
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Prague Castle

From afar
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Sue and a guard below a statue of a guy clubbing a guy at the castle entrance
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Us and a guard. Guards mostly stand there and ignore the hoards of tourists that have their pictures taken with them.
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The cathedral in the castle complex.
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Another church there
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View from the castle walls
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The famed astrological clock, which at every hour has stuff happenning at the 3 windows above the astrological dial, culminating with the middle rooster making noise.
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By complete chance we saw our friend Jo from the overland tour (who was on her last day of travel in Eastern Europe), and arranged to catch up and reminisce.
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Posted by chrisvasil 12:42 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Bratislava, Living up to expectations

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People say Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, is boring. They're right. But somehow we got a lot of really good pics. There are a lot of sculptures and some nice old architecture.

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The castle is something else - not much to look at, the main building is being built (or perhaps rebuilt) from scratch.
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Saint Elizabeth, Alzbeta Durinska, who was born into royalty, married, widowed, took a vow of poverty, helped the poor, and died, all by the age of 24. Don't know if my paternal grandmother Alzbeta (whom I never met) was named after her...
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Posted by chrisvasil 12:39 Archived in Slovakia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Krakow - living in luxury in Poland

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First off - our place in Krakow was amazing. A Sodispar Apartment Hotel, in the old walled town about 30 sec walk to the town square, with kitchen, laundry, 12 foot ceilings, and huge room. All for 37 Euros. The manager was great too - offered very early checkin and late checkout for no extra charge - we were there 8am to 10pm on one day's fees. Only complaint about the place - the office is 1km away from the old town, so I was cursing them a bit between the train station, the office, and the hotel. Here's the entrance (not really lobby, more of a hallway to a clothing and crafts store. The company's apts are scattered between buildings in the area)
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The square is filled with people hawking handicrafts and souvenirs - a bit touristy, but some of the things were nice.
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We passed by this fountain and the barbican at least a dozen times between the old and new towns. It's a good one - and the wall around the old town is surrounded by greenspace, so it's very parklike.
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A war monument. Europe has a lot of those. Travelling here it's amazing how WWI and especially WWII left a toll on the cityscape and psyche on each part of the continent.
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Krakow castle. The coolest was a museum of war things -
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Posted by chrisvasil 12:35 Archived in Poland Tagged lodging Comments (0)

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