TRAVEL THERE: SHORE EXCURSION TO CESKY KRUMLOV
The city of Linz provided our starting point for a bus trip to the Czech Republic. I woke up to this lovely landscape, complete with Ferris wheel – a pleasant surprise. Breakfast was early, because the bus boarded at 8:30. Our cruise buddies were assigned to the same bus as we were. I think one of them had done the legwork to see that this happened and I appreciated it, because it make the excursion a very special day.
First Things First
If you’re headed to Cesky Krumlov, don’t call it Cesky. Cesky means something like ‘bend in the river’ and apparently the Czech Republic has a lot of crooked rivers, because there are a lot of Cesky Thises and Cesky Thats. Perfectly fine to shorten it to Krumlov, because that’s unique.
Next up, we loved our guide – a young hip guy who grew up in Cesky Krumlov and loves his little city. We were half in love with it too before we even arrived.
A funny part of the bus trip was the stop at a service station. I was never quite clear why we did it – something about changing money, but we just stretched our legs and took a stroll around the convenience store. It reminded me of a roadside stop in the Bahamas with Josay, the worst tour guide we’ve ever had. All the tour buses stopped there, but it was certainly no Buc-ee’s.
Sneaking in the Back Door
One thing you’ll discover if you sail with Viking – they’ve got this cruising thing down pat. I’ve cruised with a number of different lines, both river and ocean, and I never have seen anybody who has the logistics of things figured out so completely. They park their boats in the best places, their tour buses are just steps away from the gangplank each morning and their guides are without a doubt the best-dressed and most professional of any I saw.
Cesky Krumlov certainly qualifies as a tourist trap. By the time we hit the castle proper, there was a deluge of folks standing around listening to a guide. I can only imagine the parking nightmare somewhere around that town, but Viking had it’s own parking lot somewhere on the garden end of the castle grounds, away from the nightmare.
Because of Viking, we stepped off the bus and into a Renaissance garden. Fountains danced, the sun was shining and I was a happy camper. Our guide allowed us a few Kodak moments and then led us down the hill and through a back gate to the castle proper. There we were treated to some of the most charming vistas of the day.
The Castle Proper
Cesky Krumlov Castle is a UNESCO site and they do a pretty good job of attaching their name to the best places in the world. You may never have heard of the Lords of Krumlovs, but their castle grew into an architectural history lesson. Rather than rush you through it, the way my tour did, I’ll invite you to come back next week, but in the meantime, enjoy this video of our day in Cesky Krumlov.