This post is a continuation of the series documenting our travels in a small part of Central Europe. We left off last time with a night time walk through the Bohemian town of Česky Krumlov (Česky Krumlov, Part 2 – Beautiful but crowded by day & Spectacular by night). This is the third post documenting our time in Krumlov, usually I write one or maximum two posts for a day of travel. Three posts for 1 day in Krumlov shows how much I loved this town!
On vacations I usually wake up much earlier than I would if back home. I attribute that to the excitement and adrenaline rush of seeing new places and experiencing new things. The morning in Krumlov was no different. I woke up at the break of dawn, got ready and left to walk around Krumlov with my camera in tow.
As I walked out of the apartment main door I seemed to be the only one crazy enough to be up and about at this time. Some people like photos with crowds, I don’t! So this was a perfect time for me and my camera.
The sun was just rising over town and the soft light just after sunrise makes for some great photos. That coupled with the empty main square makes for a pleasant photo. For those who come to Krumlov as a day trip this square will be unrecognisable.
That day I decided to go via another street to the castle gardens which we hadn’t visited yesterday. Though people were not up and about yet the birds were chirping away to glory. The 300mm was thirsting for action and I thought the castle gardens might provide a few good opportunities, if any.
It was a clear morning and very pleasant for a meandering walk through town, especially one that has picture postcard views at every corner.
The Vltava river winds around the old town and I crossed one of the small wooden bridges across the river from the old town towards the castle. The sun was just peeping out from behind the castle making it a perfect photo opportunity.
I started my walk again towards the castle gardens as time was precious and the 300mm was getting angsty. All the cafes lining the river which would be buzzing with activity soon were empty making it look like a deserted town.
Before starting my climb towards the castle gardens I stopped on a small embankment on the castle side of the river to take pictures of the sluice gates on the river which give it the appearance of a small waterfall. All in all a scene worth capturing on camera!
I passed under the bridge with the aqueduct high above and climbed the steps from the other side of the hill towards the castle gardens. To be frank I didn’t know there would be steps there, I just assumed there would be more than one way up to the castle. Thankfully I was right!
The steps at this end luckily brought me up exactly where I wanted to be – right in front of the balcony with the best view in town. The door was open as the cafe people were cleaning up before a busy day & I got the chance to enjoy the roofs being lit up sequentially as the sun rose higher. It was a sight that no camera can capture accurately, but I had to give it a try!
There was no better place to be at this time of the day than on that balcony in Krumlov Castle & no selfie stick bearing crowds to poke into the frame too! I spent a good 15-20 minutes there just looking around and doing nothing before moving on to the castle gardens.
Time was passing by and the sundial at the castle reminded me to move on as the castle gardens are a short walk away from the castle itself. The path to the gardens was lined by trees which were full of activity of the avian kind at this time of the day.
I reached the garden gates and the board outside said entry was from 8 am & it wasn’t even seven yet! Thankfully the person outside said I could enter and I thanked him profusely using my meagre knowledge of Czech ( Dekuji is thanks) . The gardens were typical of palace gardens in Europe with well manicured with hedges, lawns and fountains . There was a hot air balloon rising up the skies nearby. I cursed myself for not researching about this activity in Krumlov! ( All the birds eye photos missed!) At the moment there was nothing I could do but take photos of the balloon rising up with the fountains (not yet functioning at this time of the day) in the foreground.
To put my mind off the balloon and a missed opportunity I put on the 300mm (finally it screamed!) and started searching for my avian friends. Thankfully they didn’t disappoint me and the next half an hour was happily spent trying to get a decent photo of the small birds flitting around from tree to tree.
It was getting late now and I had to return back to the apartment but I had ignored the beautiful flowers in the garden in favour of the winged beauties. So I took a few photos before heading back down to the town.
As I reached the apartments the better half was ready and we had coffee in the apartment before heading out for a short walk and breakfast. We still had quite some time before our scheduled shuttle to Prague so we checked out of the apartment & left the luggage at the reception. With those formalities out of the way we still had a few hours to enjoy Krumlov & I asked the better half if she wanted to see the gardens. Being a big fan of flowers and gardens she readily agreed and we headed back up to the gardens.
By now the sun was up in the skies and we walked the same way that I had walked in the morning since it was new to the better half.
We then walked up to the gardens and had a pleasant walk around. There were a few people around now. But nothing compared to what it would be a few hours from now. The better half took her share of photos of the pretty flowers while I took some of the garden which I hadn’t done earlier.
As the crowds started to build up we realised it was time to go, breakfast was still pending! Then I spotted something new in the trees and it was an Eurasian Jay. A medium sized bird with pretty colours. This one was pretty shy and hiding in the branches as soon as people walked by & jumping in the lawns to catch its breakfast when the coast was clear. So I bided my time and got a decent photo. (I would get a much better one at Petrin hill in Prague later, but I had no way of knowing that on that day!)
The common black birds were a plenty and I had ignored them all morning in favour of the rarer birds. But I took a photo of one that was refusing to fly away before putting the 300mm away for the day.
We went to the balcony one last time and descended down to old town via the castle courtyards which were still relatively empty and looking as regal as can be.
It was time for breakfast now and we headed back to the Hospoda na Louzi where we had had dinner the night before for breakfast as it was a place that locals frequented and would be open much earlier than most other places that open much later when the day trippers start arriving.
The streets were still empty except for locals setting up their stores and I hoped that the restaurant would be open as I was quite hungry from all the walking.
Thankfully not only was it open but it had quite a few people having their breakfast. So we settled down on a table and enjoyed a traditional Bohemian breakfast with potato pancakes for the better half & myself. Looking at the other people enjoying a mug of beer with their breakfast I couldn’t resist and ordered the earliest stein of beer I have ever had!
The pancakes were delicious and finished in no time. Rehydrated with the stein of beer in me, we walked across the river & looked up to the castle one last time before returning to our apartment. We collected our luggage and waited for our shuttle to arrive.
The shared CK shuttle we had booked was precisely on time and we waved goodbye to one of the prettiest towns I had ever stayed in.
Prague was next and it was a city that I had wanted to visit ever since the travel bug bit me. It would live up to all the hype and expectations, but those are topics for future posts some other time, some other day.
Ahoj & Na zdraví ( Cheers!)