As we drove into the Czech Republic I could see the instant change. The once flat landscape began to form magnificent hilly fields surrounded by old castle ruins and running waterways. It was such a delightful scenery, immediately I had good vibes about our new destination. The capital city Prague is one of the only cites in Europe that was not completely destroyed in the war. It seemed that even Hitler enjoyed its beauty that he did all in his power to protect it from being bombed and attacked. After being in Germany it was such a refreshing change coming into a city that was still set in its original ways.
Not knowing much about the city itself we teed up yet another free walking tour. It seems to be a great way to have a cheap introduction into what each place has to offer. The tour covered all the major land marks, including one of Europe's most sort out attractions, The Astronomical Clock. People for centuries have come from far and wide to get a glimpse of the clocks magnificent show upon each hour. It was such an attraction that the man who engineered the clock, Mikuláš of Kadaň had his eyes gauged out and tongue cut off so that he could never re-create another anywhere else in the world. Making it truly one of a kind.
Prague's castle is also another popular attraction. After visiting Scotland 'the castle capital' I wasn't really blown away by the castle itself, although the suburb and cathedral around it was such a magnificent site. My favourite out of all Prague's history was learning about the Jewish Quarter. A ghetto area where the Jews were held basically as prisoners throughout the beginning of the Holocaust. With the ground being extremely low near the river, the ghetto was a land of swamp throughout most of the year creating some of the worst living conditions for the Jews. What I found most interesting is that Prague has some of the only still standing original Jewish Synagogues. Hitler as well as saving Prague from destruction was also kind enough to save its Synagogues. As we all know Hitler is not the type to do anything out of the kindness of his soul, especially when it came to Jews. The only reason they are still standing is because they were going to be turned into museums to educate people how the 'extinct race' once lived many years ago. Obliviously this plan never went into action as Hitler lost the war not long after.
Stepping away from the city itself we took a day trip out to a small town called Kutna Hora. The town houses a great church, Sedlec Ossuary. Which displays bones from somewhere between 40,000-70,000 skeletons. All arranged in to art pieces, including a chandelier that contains every bone in the human body. The reason behind the display started centuries ago when a Priest came to the church and spread holly soil within the grounds making it a popular burial ground for the wealthy. After wars and plagues the cemetery began to over fill. This is when the idea to display the bones throughout the church came into play. I can truly say it is a bone chilling experience but one that is well worth venturing out to.
Prague is most popular for its party scene. Basically it is the underground Amsterdam. Instead of Coffee Shops you have discrete Reggae Bars. There is even a 'Red Light District' just without the openness and without all the red lights. It is not encouraged like it is in Amsterdam but it is tolerated by police. With a five story night club divided into six different rooms, one of which being an ice bar. There is definitely something for everyones wants and needs when it comes to pop, lock and dropping it. We spent out first night on a pub crawl to give us a little taste off what Prague is really all about. With the first hour dubbed as 'the hour of power' it was free vodka shots, absinthe and beer. The plan was to take it easy so that we would all make it to the last club. But as the shots went down we began an Australians vs Americans tower shot challenge. With our competitive streaks kicking in we stepped it up a notch and smashed down and stacked up that many shot glasses that our tower was taller then me. Obviously we won the battle but after that the rest of the night was history. Thats Prague for you, if you don't party as hard as you can till the suns up then your not really partying at all.
After six full on days and five crazy nights it was time to slip away and enjoy a different side to the the Czech Republic. On the brink of a heat wave we headed to the town of Cesky Krumlov (Czech Meadow). Situated on the riverside it is a glorious spot to spend a few European summer days.
Without a doubt Krumlov is one of my favourite places in the world thus far. Five minutes after arriving James and I were already planning where along the river we would set up our house and what we would do as far as jobs. The town has a beauty that I have never witnessed before in my life, I would move there in a heart beat.
Staying in a quirky little hostel called Hostel 99 added so much value to our stay. We were hosted by an odd Brazilian man Zezo who is the most hilarious character I have ever met in my life. Everything that came out of his mouth was out of know where and the most outrageous stories I have ever heard in my life. I never actually thought someone could make you laugh so hard that you literally would roll around on the floor laughing until I met Zezo. For such a cheap stay it was value for money.
Being a small town there is not many sites to see other then the Castle and Tower. The castle houses two gorgeous brown bears that protect the entrance. Although they spend most of there days lazing around in the sun feasting on fruit. The views from above the castle stretch out over the entire city, it is as if your looking through a picture frame, truly picture perfect.
Although there is not much to see doesn't mean that there is not much to do, the river treats you to hours of endless fun. Rallying up a group we took out a raft and spent the afternoon coasting down the river zipping our way from pub to pub along the bank all the way to the early evening. The way of living along the river was my idea of pure, free, happiness. Locals would grab there dogs jump on there canoe and paddle down to the pubs. There was not a care in the world as everyone came together drinking and smoking all different types of things. It was amazing to be apart of there everyday way of life and experience such a different way of living. I truly loved everything about it.
Being vegetarian travelling through Northern Europe was becoming difficult. Living of a diet of fried cheese and bread rolls was starting to take its toll. One of my absolute favourite things about Cesky Krumlov was that it had a fantastic little vegetarian restaurant called Laibon. Run by a beautifully natured local man David. Who took the time to sit down and talk about all things travel with us. The man has seriously been to every inch of the world I swear. He has even travelled through my home town of Gawler, which just blew me away. The food was like a a little taste of heaven. I had never been so over joyed for marinated soy steaks in my life. It was the cherry on top of my Cesky Krumlov cake.
Czech Republic is such an under rated country. I advice anybody travelling Europe to take the time to go down and explore all the nooks and crannies that this extraordinary country has to offer.
Im going places I never knew existed and doing things I never thought were possible.
The Wanderers Daughter xx