Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday July 31, 2015

Today we drove to Southern Bohemia to the town of Cesky Krumlov. It's a good two and one half hours drive from Prague but we had an excellent driver and of course our trusty tour guide, Tereza. We encountered traffic on the way this morning due to the fact that the vacation season here in Europe is switching into high gear and Cesky Krumlov is a popular destination. The town, which is a Unesco World Heritage site, is organized around a double bend in the Vltava River.  The second largest castle complex in the Czech Republic is located on a rocky promontory above the town.

Castle gardens
Cesky Krumlov 

Tereza very smartly had the driver drop us off at the top of the promontory so that we would spend our day walking downhill. Our first stop was the castle gardens. They were organized in the French style with lots of clipped hedges and swooping beds of annuals. There was a wonderful viewpoint over the town and the river and then we entered the castle complex. This was not a royal castle however the owners of the complex were obviously quite wealthy and very close to the royal family. 

Typical surface embellishment
Main Square w/ Plague Column

The exterior decoration of the palace and of many of the buildings in Cesky Krumlov are Renaissance in style. They are embellished with frescoes, stucco-work and/or trompe l'oeil painting. The effect of all this surface embellishment is quite striking and apparently most of what one can see on the buildings today are the original decorations from the 16th century (when the town was renovated in the Renaissance style).

St. Vitus Cathedral 
Tereza, our tour guide 

We basically walked every inch of the town, crossing and re-crossing the river several times. The setting of the town is spectacular and many people were taking advantage of the fine weather to do some rafting/canoeing on the river. We had a good lunch sitting outdoors at a cafe with mercifully no smokers around us! Did some more walking after lunch before heading back home. We made good time getting home by five thirty. All in all it was a lovely day and I am glad that I can share Russell's beautiful pics of this special place with you all.

Bridge between the different sections of the castle

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