I keep my blog as a personal record of what I'm up to, which might be seen as working towards "An elegant sufficiency, content, retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books, ease and alternate labour, useful life"

I'm certainly not there yet.  There is quite some way to go!

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Entries in Czech Republic (5)

Tuesday
Aug042009

Honey pot

We left Karlovy Vary this morning, heading south towards Linz but planning to stop in Cesky Krumlov , world heritage site and according to the Lonely Planet guide, the most beautiful town in Central Europe.

 

 

So I guess we shouldn't have been surprised to find it crowded.

 

 

Of course, the buildings were as beautiful, the square as attractive - but the crowds, coupled with the showery weather meant that we didn't feel as enthusiastic as we might have done.

 

 

Whilst there I kept an eye open for Magic Armchair Traveller Sue, on holiday nearby, yet hoping at the same time that she visited on a quieter, more sunshiney day than today.

 

 

As we walked back to the car, we couldn't resist joining the queue for some trdelnik which were delicious!

 

 

We drove along the Vltava river for many miles, following the progress of families canoeing down the river and camping alongside.  More of an adventure than usual for the river is so high right now.

 

 

We arrived here in Linz late afternoon and checked into our almost-new hotel in the shadow of the Mariendom.  It's a beautiful place, stunning design and so very comfortable.  A glass bathroom is an interesting feature, though, especially considering those large glass windows! 

 

Monday
Aug032009

Another day, another spa...or two

 

Our guidebook suggested that Marianske Lazne was worth a visit and so it turned out to be

 

 

Altogether different to Karlovy Vary, Marianske Lazne was quieter, less flashy and set amongst lovely gardens with a more open feel to it.  The primary language on the street was German rather than Russian and the average age rather more than sixty!  We imagined our grandparents enjoying a week here, promenading and sitting in the gardens watching the world go by.  They would have remembered to be by the fountain on the dot of every other hour, to hear it "sing" (ie play a recording of some piece or other) and they'd have taken tea at one of the charming cafes along the Colonnade.

 

 

They may have been braver than us and "taken the waters", paying 5kp to leave their cup in this repository rather than carry it to and fro all day.

 

 

We simply enjoyed being there, watching people and admiring the fine architecture.  From time to time we gazed upward and spotted an oddity or two

 

 

What would our Grandparents have made of that cosmonaut in the painting on the ceiling?

 

 

This afternoon's spa was Frantiskovny Lazne, which made Marianske Lazne seem like a riot.  The central promenade was reminiscent of a Disney Main Street, perfectly manicured and primped with matching yellow buildings and red geraniums.

We couldn't stand the pace and headed back to Karlovy Vary, for an afternoon watching people go by from behind a glass or two.  We were entertained by a few players from the local orchestra who played a few light classics to the crowds in the Colonnade. 

 

and a small conductor joined in the fun whilst us oldies cooed at his charm.

 

Time to move on, perhaps!

 

Sunday
Aug022009

Somewhere else

 

At least when the crowds descend on Karlovy Vary, we have the option of going somewhere else and that's what we did today.

The Somewhere Else today was Loket , a really attractive town situated in the bend of a river (hence the German name Elbogen) with a castle high on a hill, centre stage.

 

 

We spent a happy afternoon looking around the castle, the nearby church and then into the square and the town itself.  Because everyone else was in Karlovy Vary, we had Loket almost to ourselves.

 

You can guess what we did then, I imagine.

 

 

 We think it's so important to support the local economy, don't you?

Sunday
Aug022009

The World and his Wife

 

A degree of planning was needed to maximise the potential of Sunday in Karlovy Vary. 

 

 

 

Take advantage of the bright early morning sunshine and wander down through the town with camera in hand.

 

 

Because at this time of day, there are so few people about

 

 

With no-one jostling to take photos, all kinds of previously unnoticed details are revealed, such as this dear little figure on the top of the spa colonnade.

 

 

The band sounds great as they play "old favourites from Bohemia and Moravia"

There's no waiting for the funicular railway or to the lift at the top, from where there's a wonderfully clear view of Bohemia today.

 

 

But better make the most of it now, for around noon, this happens.

 

Saturday
Aug012009

into the Czech Republic

 

We left Dresden early this morning, heading out back along the same autobahn route as we'd come along just a couple of days ago, to Chemnitz.  From there, we turned south and drove through more delightful countryside to the Erzgebirge which I associate only with our lovely nutcracker and wooden Christmas decorations at home.  Sure enough as we passed through small villages, we noticed houses with "schwibbogen" and shops selling the wooden windmills.

 

 

We stopped in OberWiesenthal, parking right outside a lacemakers shop and enjoyed a short walk around the pretty square.  Here were more schwibbogen, candlemakers and a shop selling small pewter figures.  Perhaps as well most of them were closed?

 

 On then, towards the border - except the last turning on the right took us uphill to the summit of the Fichtelberg where the sun was shining and the views breathtaking.

 

 

After a short stop and a few lungs full of fresh air, we headed back downhill and to the border crossing.

 

 

The EU has left us with none of the romance of such places and there wasn't even a guard to wave us through - only the voice of our satnav to remind us that "You have crossed the border".

 

 

Less than an hour later, we arrived in Karlovy Vary, where the sun is shining, the day trippers are on their way home and where peace is upon us.  We are installed in the GrandHotel Pupp which is as grand as you can imagine.

Now, where to have dinner?