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Teaching some phrasal verbs in the present. Prefer drinking teas in places that look like the past.
Thinking of all those who have been affected by the blast near the National Theatre in Prague today.
With egg white walls and balconies fit for crashing princess locks, Zamek Hluboka is a striking cardboard cut out of a castle.
In fact, it came from the same cutter as a little English castle called Windsor. After holidaying in England, the Schwarzenberg’s decided to rework Hluboka royal style but kept the property cuddled with pretty Czech countryside.
Perfect, octagonal tubes form the turrets that perch perilously on the hill above Hluboka, a small town made for having a quick nap from the 21st century. Browse lunch menus at the fistful of traditional restaurants and make a meal of it with the local brew (Budvar ferments not too far away in big smoke Ceske Budejovice.)
Make the pilgrimage up the hill to South Bohemia’s pearlescent jewel and admire the many pairs of antlers studded into its handsome walls. Take a turn about the exquisitely clipped hedges, stopping only for tea in a conveniently placed cafe.
Oh, and keep your own eyes peeled for the vicious little door knobs sculpted into peckish vultures scooping balls out of sockets.
Upon graduating Cardiff University in June 2012, I took off my mortarboard with a big sigh of “what the devil is next?”
I sloped back over the border to the West Midlands, finished my CELTA in Birmingham and applied for teaching jobs the world over, from Italy to Vietnam. I have ended up somewhere between the two, the beautiful, but oh so modest, Czech Republic and I’m so glad that I did.
And no, I don’t mean Prague. Even if it’s a city just made for old souls like myself.
“Why Tabor?” is, without doubt, the question that I have fended off the most since I arrived here and my answer to that, well, it’s this. Here are the reasons why you should leave the Golden City in its wake:
1) For storybook towns
Where? Telc and Slavonice, Cesky Krumlov, Olomouc, Trebon
Why? You’ll find the type of towns that fairytales are made of with curly, gingerbread rooftops, pristine town squares, loud and lively local pubs, or a beerhall, and riverside walks made for ramblers and romantics. The prices are low, the crowds are few (not Krumlov, admittedly) and you truly get the feeling you’ve discovered the place. You might even have it all to yourself. Stay in tiny pensions and ask the owners for their take on the best places in town.
2) For fairytale forests
Where? Why, everywhere.
Why? Whether you decide to take a slow coach train ride through the South Bohemian countryside or tackle the trails of Cesky Raj, or even just pack a picnic and head to somewhere woody looking, you’ll discover magical looking forests. Carpets of moss, spotty mushrooms, hush hush streams and the odd family of deer; Czech forests are wonderful. That big city noise you left behind in Prague just isn’t really what this land is all about.
3) For huge plates of svíčková na smetaně.
Where? Why, everywhere.
Why? Sirloin steak in a cream and cranberry sauce snuggled into a round of bread dumplings is comfort food with a capital C. And of course, you’d find it in Prague for twice the price and served with twice the noise. There are local spots in the capital too but when time is short, it’s hard to spot em. Little towns serve big portions for small prices and most importantly, have lots more atmosphere; long, dark wooden tables, roaring fireplaces and all the local hound community curled up on the floor napping.
4) For superstar breweries
Where? Plzen, Ceske Budejovice
Why? You’re talking to a woman who used to wish she could ask for a straw with her half pint. Now, I am converted to the clear and golden twelve degree stuff. Why not go straight to the source? Take a bus to Plzen (home of Pilsner) or better yet, wind your way down to Ceske Budejovice (home of Budvar) and then you’re just a stone’s throw from Krumlov too. And when you’re there, you can sup up at Eggenberg (home of Eggenberg, naturally).
Where? Kutna Hora
Why? With chandeliers hanging from the ceiling made entirely from human skulls, Sedlec Ossuary is a film set style experience. In fact, Central Station witnessed a full blown student production being filmed amongst the bones, complete with crushed rose petals and lots of dramatic pauses. Then wander up to cute Kutna Hora and time it for a sunset over St Barbora’s.
6) For Czechs
Where? Why, everywhere.
Why? Because they are the true people of this land, not the English teachers, expats, ERASMUS students, tourists and many, many North Americans who have come to call Prague their own, which in a way it is. Just go a little further and you’ll hear the indecipherable language on the air.
Hang on. Isn’t this supposed to be a blog about where to get a fancy coffee or two in central Europe? Why yes, it is. But look at all this other stuff you can do too. What I can recommend however, is a small and very lovely chain of teahouses sprinkled across the Republic called Dobre Cajovna. With mleko, please.
Before you climb the staircase to Dilettante’s Hangout, be sure to stock up on daily provisions, and a good few bottles of red. Now, Cesky Krumlov is a Czech jewel and it’s worth seeing again and again. But book into the Buddha room and you won’t.
Because the first thing you’ll do is stoke the fire, uncork your first bottle and curl up on a rug until there’s nothing left but smoky embers.
You’ll move to the buttery brown sofas, determined to visit the Marionette Museum by lunchtime, only to be seduced into staying a little longer by a bevy of Dio’s beauties draped across one wall. Yes, they come straight from the brush of painter, performance artist and Hangout owner Maty Dio who has given the place more than an artist’s touch.
The Hangout is a family affair and a tinkle of the bell brings one his off spring downstairs in a flash. But they disappear as spritely as they appeared, leaving you to slip back into your incense infused seclusion.
Whilst not recommended for platonic daters and lone wolf packers, Dilettante’s Hangout really is the most wonderful place for empty pocket romantics.
Dilettante’s Hangout, Plešivecké náměstí 93, 381 01 Český Krumlov
Central Station is pleased to announce that it has been nominated for a Very Inspiring Bloggers Award!
To accept the award the rules are as follows:
1) Display the Award logo.
2) Link back to the blogger who nominated you.
3)State seven things about yourself.
4)Nominate 15 bloggers for the award.
5) Notify chosen bloggers.
1) See above.
2) Thank you to the utterly gorgeous The Vintage Postcard .
3) Seven Things About Me:
I absolutely cannot roll my “r”s.
I always listen to seventies disco when I clean my bathroom.
When my pet goldfish Stacey died I insisted she be buried on Valentine’s Day in a matchbox under the apple tree in our back garden.
Now that I live here in the Czech, I send my Nans a postcard of a different place I have visited every month and expect them all to be pride of place on the fridge when I return.
Since I visited Italy in February I now will only drink coffee as the Italians do (if it has a splash of milk, it’s for the morning and no other time.) Even if it gives me the shakes.
I lost my favourite hat whilst having my photo taken with Chip and Dale in Disneyland and filed a complaint in ToonTown. Never saw it again.
I will never drink zelina again.
Star Spangled Dreams
The Retiree Diary
Budget Euro Tours
A Bit of Culture
The War in My Brain
The Vintage Traveller
Quarter Life Conversations
5) I’ll see to it now…