Off into the Czech countryside

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We loved our day trip while in Portugal and decided that at least one was a must while we were in the Czech Republic. We decided to make two stops to two different castles outside of Prague – Hubloka and Česky Krumlov.

Lindsey recommended a driver to help us accomplish a visit to both cities. We left early morning driving through the beautiful countryside.

We arrived at the base of Hubloka, a palace held by the Schwartzenberg family for over 300 years, up until World War II. It was a palace almost exclusively used throughout the autumn, the prime season for  hunting. The existing palace was reconstructed to evoke Windsor Castle, a favorite of its owner.

To arrive at the palace we had to walk up the steep hill. The photos of the grounds show that it was well worth the hike:

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The details of this building are fascinating, especially these doorknobs that show a bird poking into the forehead of an oriental man.

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Upon entrance we climbed to the top of the tower through this intricate hunting stairwell.   IMG_3734 IMG_3735

Here is the view from the top:

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We then visited the palace chapel

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We then attempted to tour the palace; however, you can only do so with a guided tour and it was over an hour and a half before the next guided tour. Instead, we decided to explore the complex and spend more of our day in Česky Krumlov.

Below were attempts a family Christmas card. Mom was insistent that we take a few photos so she has something to work with this year, but I maybe I am biased, but riding the ram is definitely not this year’s winner.

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This is the interior of what was the green house. Now it serves as a small market where you can buy gifts. We bought different colored leather strands that I braided into bracelets for everyone.  IMG_3752

We also bought a book of the history of the castle so that during our ride to Česky Krumlov I could read aloud (I do not get car sick). We figured this way we got the tour we decided, while still able to spend enough time at our other destination.

Our first glimpse of Česky Krumlov was this large aqueduct. Since it was right about lunch time we decided that first we would go into town, eat,  and explore, before venturing up to the castle.

 

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Right inside the aqueduct we found this Mill, and without knowing stopped at the restaurant alongside it, the Mill Restaurant. Sometimes fate works out perfectly. Instead of sitting in this well-decorated interior we chose seats on the patio where we could overlook the river. It was a delicious meal, I got to try grilled cheese (not with bread, just cheese on the grill) and blackened cod. Andrew might have been the meal winner though with ribs.

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Above is the view from our table.

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Andrew and Dad with the Mill Restaurant Menu.

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Finally it looks like we have found something that is Christmas Card worthy. Maybe I should have hidden it so it’s a surprise. Oh well. It’s too good of a photo to stay hidden.

We then wandered throughout the colorful buildings, stopping in the small shops. Eventually, we made it to the center of town where a camp group had gathered, presumably ready to preform their final performances.

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We stopped in the tourist information booth to get a map of the city and then walked towards the castle. The following two photos display the diverse way to advertise your business. IMG_3779 IMG_3778

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Here is a glimpse of the castle tower from the city below:

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Along our route, we stopped in the Muzeum Bchodu, which was a small two rooms focused on advertising and product campaigns of the early 20th century. I have included photos of one of the display cases along with two of my favorite advertisements. IT was a chance encounter, because Andrew was looking for a fun poster for his room that turned out to be very interesting.

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These following photos display our journey towards the castle.

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As you cross the drawbridge into the complex there is not a mote below as one would expect, but rather the pen of bears. Bears, according to our guide have been part of the complex since the reign of the Rosenberg’s, roughly 1707. According to legend the Rosenbergs are related to the Italian family Orsini. Since “orsa” in Italian means female bear, they have associated themselves with the animal, which has been demonstrated physically through keeping bears on their grounds.

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Inside the complex the plain walls are adorned with murals evoking stones and other architectural features.

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A view from the bridge leading up towards the castle: IMG_3809

Tours of the palace occur every hour. We were fortunate to have a passionate guide who loved imparting information. Per usual, we could not take any photos the interior rooms, but we took the tour of the Old Castle giving a taste of the rooms throughout the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries.

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At the end of our tour we ventured onto the “aqueduct” or bridge that we saw upon entering where I took these views of the city:

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There was a local brewery that has tours at 1 pm daily. We obviously missed the tour, but we thought they might sell beer and we were interested in trying some. However, that was not the case. Instead we headed back to castle where they sold hot wine, mead, and grogg. All of which we had previously mentioned we wanted to try and thankfully it was not too hot to have warm drinks. Below is a picture of our four drinks ordered.

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After sufficiently seeing the town we headed back towards Prague. We had spoken of eating in a cave, but could not find the restaurant. (It had changed names.) Instead we visited one of Kurt’s favorites, No Stress and all enjoyed our non-traditional food.

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