Czech Republic   2016,  May

April, 28th. 2016 (Flight to Prague)

 

We left home at about 19:00. We reached Malaga airport, we did the check-in, and once in the terminal we ate something before getting into the plane. We were bound to Prague at 22:30. The estimated time of the flight was 02:45 minutes. It was the first time I saw a Mongol crew, entirely male, curious crew. After eating what we were given at the plane I decided to try a can of Czech beer. Not too bad to be a beer from a can... The landing was smooth at 01:15 and we picked up our luggage without problems. Then we had to look for the "Holiday Inn" hotel, where we were supposed to sleep. It couldn't be far, according to its website it was about 500 meters far from the airport. After hesitating for some minutes we found a magic screen which communicated us with the hotel via video-conference. Great invention. We were picked up by a van coming from the very hotel; we did the check-in and around 02:00 we were in bed ready to sleep. By the way, great hotel...

Flying to Czech Republic

April, 29th. 2016 (Český Krumlov)

 

After waking up around 09:30, we had breakfast with some food from Spain, we did the check-out and someone from the very hotel took us to the rental car office. Good detail. While we were waiting to be taken there I surfed the internet at the reception win an IMac... running windows 8!! We were doing the paperwork for the rented car at 11:15. This car was supposed to take us all around the Czech Republic for a week. We applied for a VW Golf, though finally was a Kia Ceed, not a bad option at all. We bordered Prague for about half an hour and them we took the right way to Český Krumlov. On our way we found that the Cervena Lhota castle could be visited, which we fortunately did since it was worth visiting. Lunch time approached and we diverted to a small village called Chotoviny. There we had lunch at the restaurant of the "Gold Hotel".

At about 18:00 and after some minutes searching we found our place: "Ingrid Pension" in Český Krumlov. I have to clarify that what Czech people call "pension" they mean a Spanish three or four stars hotel. That city had a special charm, UNESCO heritage. After parking just by our pension in a private parking, we left our luggage and we started to stroll the city before the sunlight left. The old city culminated in a huge tower, part of the astonishing medieval castle, and the Vltava river flowed by its base. At 19:30 we decided to have a coffee in a tiny bistro called "Coffee Provence". The night was approaching and we needed to find a place for dinner. We found a restaurant which served typical Czech food after some minutes walking, and there we ate in the second floor. The place was called "U Dwau Maryi (The two Maries) because making some restorations to the building in 1950, two frescos of the Virgin Mary were found. This restaurant was another good choice. When we left that place we found a different city, another ilumination that made Český Krumlov look more beautiful if possible. After taking some night pictures it was time to return to the apartment. We arrived just at 23:00 to rest in our bedchambers.

Holiday Inn Hotel, Praga airport

Coffee Provence, Český Krumlov

The two Maries Restaurant, Český Krumlov

April, 30th. 2016 (Český Krumlov, Telč, Třebíč, Lednice)

 

After a pleasant night, the sun rises in Český Krumlov. The day was sunny and without trace of clouds but the temperature was still low. We bought something in a supermarket close to the apartment and we had breakfast in our room. We had to see our landlady off, and so we did. We left at about 10:30 and we were strolling Český Krumlov. Our first stop was the castle museum, where objects of the daily life of the families Rosenberg (1302-1611), Eggenberg (1622-1717) and Schwarzenberg (1717-1945) were exhibited. After that we climbed to the castle tower. After 200 steppers we reached the top, it was worth the effort. The whole town and the surroundings could be made out from this place. We tried to visit the castle but it could only be done with a guided tour which timetable didn't watch with our plans. It was then lunch time and we decided to enter the "Papa's Living Restaurant" where we ate very well.

We continued our route after lunch. We reached Český Rudolec from Český Krumlov at about 17:50 after 100 kilometres by car. Our hotel was there though our aims were towns like Telč and Třebíč. Český Rudolec was a small village where we just slept. Telč was about 22 Kms. far from where we slept. Our hotel was very spacious and we enjoyed their own beer at the huge dinning-room of the ground-floor for an hour. Then we made to Telč. We reached there in 25 minutes. The Main Square was a succession of coloured baroque facades, very picturesque. This decoration, among other things made Telč part of the UNESCO. We decided to have dinner in this square. Our choice was the hotel "U Cerneho Orla" restaurant. We entered there and we were served by a middle-aged woman who could spoke a bit Spanish. Dinner was quite good. Then we decided to return to our hotel late in the evening. There was no light in our way back to Český Rudolec and the local roads were narrow and desolated. Only a couple of rabbits crossed the road, we were about to knock them out. We were back in Český Rudolec at about 20:30.

Pension Ingrid with our brown rented Kia Ceed

View from the castle tower, Český Krumlov

Hotel-Restaurant Cerneho Orla in Telč

May, 01th. 2016 (Telč, Třebíč, Lednice)

 

We went to bed early the previous night in order to wake up early the next morning, for breakfast was from 08:00 to 09:00 AM. We were back in Telč at 10:30. We had time throughout the morning to sightsee the city deeper than the day before. Besides strolling the main square with its colourful renaissance facades, we entered the castle. After a fifty minutes guided tour we returned to the car and we made to Třebíč. At about 14:00 and after driving for half an hour we reached our new destination. We parked crossing our fingers for we saw a lot of notices but we didn't understand a single one, and one of them might forbid to park. Fortunately we parked correctly and we decided to visit a jewish sinagogue at the other bank of the river Jihlava. We bought the tickets at the tourist information centre and we were advised about a restaurant nearby called "La Fabrika". We ate well and cheap there. We tried to enter the monastery but we declined for we had to visit it with a guided tour and time was not on our side. We visited two expositions instead at the very monastery building, one showing minerals of that area and the other one was dedicated to the history of the monastery. Once we finished there we went to see the jewish cemetery at the top of the city. That place was impressive because tombs and panteons related to the Holocaust and the Second World War could still be found.

Our next destination was Lednice and when we were phoned from the hotel reception to confirm our time of arrival we told them that we could be there at about 17:00. Our visit in Třebíč was so long that it was very difficult to arrive there not before 19:00, so we decided to call the hotel back to communicate them our new arrival time. For they closed the reception at 18:00, we agreed to pick up the key of the room from a mailbox. Everything turned out as projected. The key was in the right place and we entered the "Relax Hotel Stork" that looked completely empty. We strolled the surroundings including its majestic and huge castle. We chose an Italian restaurant for dinner, "pizzeria Na Knihovně''; that was the only choice we found in that area of that small and unpopulated village.

 

Telč side view

Sinagogue in Třebíč

Jewish cemetery, Třebíč

May, 02th. 2016 (Lednice, Valtice, Kroměříž)

 

We had breakfast at the hotel the following morning the three of us alone in the dinning-room. The quality of the breakfast was medium/high. We did the check-out and we asked the receptionist whether we could leave the car at the parking of the hotel for a couple of hours before our next stop, Valtice, 7 kilometers far from Lednice. Before making to this town we got in a barge and we navigated over a lake close the Lednice castle. It was an artificial lake, about one or two meters deep. The route finished in a minaret built between 1797 and 1802, 62 meters high, Moorish style.

When we finished our visit to this tower we took the barge had and we drove directly to Valtice, seven kilometres far from Lednice. Once there we had the same problem when we intended to park: a lot of notices in Czech but we didn't understand a single one, and we could park in a prohibited area without being aware of it. Finally we parked by a block of flats with other cars whose owners apparently lived in, though we had to walk a bit to our destination, the baroque castle of the city. We could only see it from the outside for Mondays was the only day off of the week to visit these monuments. We chose a restaurant for lunch called "Amalia Restaurant" where we ate well and quiet. It started to rain when we returned to the car so we had to rush in order not to get wet.

It was time to go to Kroměříž, our next destination, about 100 kilometres far, fifty of them by highway. We arrived in the city and the GPS device drove us to a pedestrian street... We called up our landlord and he had to wait for us on the street after describing him our car. GPS devices fail from time to time. The apartment was very spacious and it was in an attic with a very attractive garden. We did the right choice again. Our landlord, very helpful, welcomed us with a 50° Czech spirit and sweets for Marta; then he sat down to show us on a map the most interesting places of the city. We strolled the old town and searched for a place to have dinner. Our choice was the "Radnicni Sklipek" restaurant this time, previously recommended by the owner of our apartment. The food was simply exquisite and the beer made in the very Kroměříž even better. We were in bed at 23:30.

 

Lednice Castle

Barges on the artificial lake in Lednice

Apartment in Kroměříž

May, 03th. 2016 (Kroměříž, Litomyšl)

 

The day broke cloudy in Kroměříž, it looked like rain at every moment. Mariana went down to buy something to eat, and we had breakfast at the apartment. Then we packed our things, ready to see what the city offered. We started climbing up to the Arzobispal Palace. The whole city could be made out up there. We went down and we searched for a kind of small train that showed the gardens of the Palace in about half an hour. Then we walked to another gardens, The Květná zahrada Gardens, a huge terrain including hedge labyrinths and all kind of beautiful flowers. After fifteen minutes walking we were back to the main central square where we searched for a restaurant to have lunch. The Hotel-Restaurant Central was our choice. We were bound to Litomyšl at 14:30. We tried to see the Pernstain castle, but we arrived when they were closing. The route took a bit longer because we had to cross Brno, with no ring road, the traffic through the second city of the country turned out to be slow and not very smooth. We finally arrived in Litomyšl at around 19:00. We did the check-in and we were gladly surprised for our apartment was huge. Its terrace faced to the main street of this town of about 10.000 inhabitants. Our car was parked just below our terrace, in a non-free area, but free for the hotel customers who were given a special card to be shown in a visible part of the car. We strolled the main street, just the surroundings of our hotel, and it took after the main street of Telč, mainly because of its colourful facades of the houses and its similar architecture. Dinner time approached and we searched for a restaurant in that very street. We chose the restaurant of the Zlata Hvezda Hotel of communist style the whole of it: black, grey and brown decoration, without frills, everything very plane. Another good choice. Once we had dinner we made to our hotel to see the second half of the football match Ath. Madrid vs. Bayern Munich.

View of the Central Square in Kroměříž from the tower of the Arzobispal Palace

Květná zahrada Gardens

Květná zahrada Gardens

May, 4th. 2016 (Litomyšl, Kutná Hora)

 

Finally the rain appeared. Litomyšl woke up wet: it rained all night along and it kept on raining not with much intensity but with continuity. We had breakfast in a stablishment by our apartment which turned out to belong to the hotel. Excellent service and marvellous food. When we were done with our breakfast we made to the town Palace where a guided tour was waiting for us. It was not far from the hotel, about five minutes walking.

In this visit, the guide explained us, a group of seven persons how the royalty used the different parts of the Palace, room by room from 1259 to the end of the XX century. The exposed furniture was the one used at the end of the Second World War, after this period everything was despoiled by the communists. The guide who was about retiring spoke Czech and a little English. We were given some booklets in English at the entrance where every room was briefly explained. We finished our visit at about 14:00 and we made to Kutná Hora. We had to find some restaurant on the way to have lunch. Our choice was called Dymak Restaurant. We kept on driving to our destination after lunch. The day was still rainy. We reached our hotel without problems. We did the check-in and we went to visit the Ossuary, a christian chapel located in the Sedlec suburb, where 40000 human bones were exposed in an artistic way to decorate the before mentioned chapel. When we left this place we tried to stroll the old town but we gave up because of the thin rain, that, in spite of being thin, it was very persistent and you ended up soaked to the skin; We saw a pizza shop on our way and we bought one to eat it up at the hotel watching the football match Real Madrid vs. Manchester City. It was the first time in our route that we had a break of this kind.

Litomyšl Palace

Santa Bárbara chuch (Kutná Hora)

May, 05th. 2016 (Kutná Hora, Praga)

 

That day was going to be the busiest day by far. We left our hotel "Bed and Breakfast" after having breakfast and then we went to visit the Saint Barbara church. It was a gothic cathedral and it was a copy of the Seville one. Then we entered to see the "Corpus Christi" chapel very close to this gothic building. Time was not on our side and even though this fact we strolled the old town for about half an hour. We started our way to Prague at about 11:30. It took us an hour and a half to reach our new destination. The first thing we had to do was finding the apartment rented with Airbnb. Our landlady was Russian and she couldn't speak a single word in English. The level of Russian language of Mariana was more than enough to fix all the details about the house and the surroundings. Once all these details were fixed with Tatiana, that was the name of our sovietic friend, we had to give the car back to the airport where the rental-car company was. Everything turned out as planned. The lack of traffic jams in Prague made our way quite smooth and without delays. Now we had to return from the airport to the capital. After doing some inquiries in the public transport ticket seller machine, we bought tickets for the bus number 119 that should take us to the "Nadrazi Veleslavin" tube station, and then any point of Prague could be reached from there. We had lunch something small at that station in a fast food stablishment. We made to the city centre from there and we strolled it in such a way that my mobile phone showed that we had walked 22 kilometres. Wenceslao Square was included in this walk, typical and centric place of this city. We decided to look for a restaurant that our landlady recommended us, only five minutes walking from our flat, "Riegrovy Sady" was the name of the place. We had dinner in this restaurant and then we went to bed.

Inner view of the Santa Bárbara church (Kutná Hora)

Kia Ceed with which we drove more than 1200 Kms. around Chequia

May, 06th. 2016 (Prague)

 

The sun rised in Prague. We had breakfast at the apartment the food we bought the day before in a supermarket. We took Marta to a park located five minutes far from where we slept at about 09:30. Then we took a tube, Jiřího z Poděbrad to Hradčanská, close to the Saint Vito Cathedral. We had to walk for fifteen minutes after the underground trip to reach it. Astonishing and fastuous gothic building which we visited for an hour. We left the cathedral and we entered the Saint George basilic, the eldest church in the castle perimeter founded in 920. We didn't stay too long there for the church was small and you could hardly walk.

We made then to ''Zlata Ulicka" or golden lane where one of the most distinguished writers from this country lived: Frank Kafka. Another place crowded with tourists where walking was very difficult. Before entering this lane we had lunch some "Panini" for which we paid a very big sum of money, just for the sake of being close to the cathedral. We walked down to "Malá Strana", one of the eldest Prague quarters and with most historical representation. The famous statues of the two pissing men were close; they are two pissing men statues on a map of the Czech Republic, one stream on Praga and the other on Brno; they are made by David Cerny from the very Czech Republic. After fifteen minutes walking we tried to rent a boat at "Smetanovo Nabrezi" to be able to navigate on the Moldava river (Vltava river for the local people) but we found another long queue; we decided to put it off for the following morning; so we went on to the main commercial street of Prague, "Na Prikove", where all the main firms are located, included the huge toy-shop from London ''Hamley's". Marta "had a ball" there seeing all kind of toys and enjoying several laps in a carousel and a slide for free.

The evening approached and we decided to take the tube again to our apartment. Some moments for our personal hygiene and we searched for a restaurant in the residential quarter where we slept. The chosen place was called "U Bohouse", a place from where we left satisfied both because of the food and the atmosphere at the stablishment.

 

Front door of our apartment in Praga

Saint Vito Cathedral

"Piss" by David Cerny

May, 07th. 2016 (Prague)

 

We repeated the things we did the former morning: breakfast in our apartment and the park for Martha. We went down to the city centre using tram number 22 this time. We got off at the doors of the Prague National Theatre or "Národní divadlo". We walked to the place where the boats could be rented. We were lucky this time, there was no queue for we had arrived early, at 11:00 AM; after two minutes we were on our desired boat on the Moldova river. We paid 290 Czech crowns for an hour, about 11 €. When we finished or trip a big queue was waiting now. Then we took tram number 22 again which took us to Strahov; its monastery and library are very popular destinations among the tourists. The monastery dates back to 1143, and the library, which we visited for the fourth time in sixteen years, is one of the most astonishing in the world both because of its beauty and the number and antiquity of their books, about 110000 volumes. Later on we walked down to the Charles Bridge and then to a gallery (Lucerna Gallery)where a statue of a horse upside down hangs from the ceiling of it, with a man (king Wenceslao) sitting on its belly, a humoristic touch to the "great" Czech history. We made a break in this gallery to have a drink in a bistro. Later on it was Hamley's turn again in order that Marta had her ten minutes of glory. We kept on strolling the astronomic clock square to the nearest underground station that led us to "Flora" a tube station and a commercial center, two stops far from our apartment. We had dinner in Flora and we walked back to our rented flat.

Boat ride on the Vltava river

Strahov library

May, 08th. 2016 (Prague)

 

Regretfully the last day of our holidays arrived; it looked like only one minute had passed since we picked our rented car in the airport. We had very little time left in Prague, we had to start making to the airport at about 14:00 for our plane took off at 18:00. We had breakfast at the apartment and we took the tube to go to the city centre. We didn't do anything remarkable, visiting for the last time in this trip the pissing men statues, crossing the Charles Bridge again, and going to the square of the astronomic clocks to make time. We had to be careful for that very morning the "Prague Marathon" was held; as a matter of fact the tram service was reduced about 70% and we could have problems when returning to our flat. We could see the tumultuous arrival of the race, going back then to our sleeping place, not before changing some money since we could not risk not paying our lunch or the taxi to the airport. Finally we returned by tube without problems, we bought a pizza to take away and we did the check out with Tatiana. She gave us the telephone number to call a taxi and so we did: in twelve minutes the taxi number 969 was at our door as promised, Ford Mondeo combi because of the luggage. We reached the airport in half an hour due to a smooth traffic on Sunday. Unlike the check in, the pass through the security check was very slow. We took off at about 18:05. After ten minutes of delay we were flying back to Málaga.

Charles Bridge

Staroměstský orloj