Walking through Cesky Krumlov

Saturday it was cold and windy. When I looked out of the window I saw grey skies and lots of terraced houses.

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The plan was to enjoy a lazy breakfast and then make our way into the center to join the Free Walking Tour. The meeting point was right at the main square.

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Our guide’s name was Ondrej and he did an excellent job. We walked through the village and the castle while he told us little tidbits about its history and showed us his favorite places.

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While walking the weather turned sunny and finally hot, which did wonders for the pictures.

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20140709-235328-86008877.jpg We were back on the way to the castle, this time we went all the way up to the gardens. Not without stopping at the last bridge again to enjoy the view in the village.

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20140710-000836-516070.jpg Meanwhile we were hot and sweaty and ready to take a break. We had about an hour to kill before our first guided tour of the castle. So we walked to the nearest beer garden within the castle complex and had a small lunch. Mini pancakes which were delicious and a trout that tasted like a carp. After this description I gladly declined to taste it.

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Sylvia and I had decided to buy tickets for two of the four available tours. I probably won’t be coming back here, so it us better to see as much as possible (a lesson learned, Cat!).

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20140710-135130-49890262.jpg We went altogether for coffee after the first tour, Sylvia needed some cake to invigorate herself for the second tour where we saw this long indoor gallery. On the picture above you can see that the castle actually had three galleries which connected the different buildings and the one on top was going directly to the gardens. Maximum decadence!

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After the castle tours we had one more museum to visit, the Schiele museum. Egon Schiele was an Austrian painter whose mother was born in Krumlov. He liked the village and lived here for a while. Hence the museum. He painted a couple of pictures here as well from the village, but these were not exhibited here.

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After the museum we really needed a break and sat down near the river, reveling in all the impressions we enjoyed that day.

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Leaving the scenic place behind us we walked again to the dingy hostel to watch some football, this time the second half of Argentina vs Belgium. Our patience was rewarded with a goal in the extra time. For the wrong team again, I bet on Belgium. At least I didn’t get my heart broken this time, it didn’t feel as bad as the loss of Columbia or Mexico before.

For dinner we went to a real Czech place, no hint of any Italian influence. Which turned out not to be such a great choice. The food was heavy and tasteless, and all in all a waste of good calories. At least the beer was good.

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It was worse than it looked except maybe for Sylvia’s potato pancake. But I have never heard her complain about any food, she is definitely not a foodie.

We started to watch the last quarter final Netherlands vs Costa Rica in a bar, but left after the first half due to the mute transmission. 80’s music doesn’t make up for lack of tv reporting. I have noticed that football without all the background noise of the fans actually turns into a snooze fest.
We agreed on watching the game in the B&B, all four of us in one double bed with Evi and I actually watching and Sylvia and Karin slumbering next to this exciting game with a Czech pass by pass description. Only when the penalty shoot-out started could we wake them, with no joy from Sylvia’s side though. She would have preferred to be long asleep in her own bed. I think though I contributed enormously to her general education and maybe in later years she will thank me for it.
Yours, Pollybert

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Bohemian Rhapsody

Friday afternoon I started early into my weekend although there was still a lot to do in the office. We had a trip planned to Cesky Krumlov, a well known Unesco World Heritage Site. While it is only about 200km from Vienna, there is no autoroute going this way. Basically the whole drive is going through more or less idyllic villages.

After a three hour drive with no bathroom break, because our driver Sylvia was first not willing and later there was just nothing to stop at, we arrived at our B&B Pension Krumlov. A place I can only recommend since its location on a small hill makes for an excellent reason to imbibe only two Beton per evening.

Shortly after we made our way to the village center and got a first impression of its beauty.

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But basically our main goal that evening was to find a place where to watch the first quarter final. In the end we watched the second half of the game in a small dingy hostel, a place we grew to love because we came back the next day. We started with some local snack (Kielbasa) and a boring second half of Germany vs France.
We did more walking around after the game to get a better look at the heritage site and to find a place to eat later.

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Great business idea to put the bar directly in the way of tourists, no need to search for one.
We finally made our way to the castle and were completely awed.

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Right on top of the castle complex where one had the best view, some Americans naturally held a 4th of July party.

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It was already time to eat so we walked back through the castle to search for a restaurant and eventually decided on Papa’s Living Restaurant.

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20140709-213209-77529886.jpg The food was ok, not great but in hindsight quite lovely. After dinner we stopped at the Hotel Ruze for the second half of the Brazil vs. Columbia game. I was super sad to see Columbia and James Rodriguez go home. What a shame! We left right after the game to walk uphill to our B&B. It was good to try only one Beton that evening, clever girl! One last look that night unto the castle and it was time for bed!
Yours, Pollybert

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Back to Pappa

Saturday, finally the weekend. After a long and relaxing vacation week, the weekend. Haha, since everyday felt like a weekend it made no difference to us. But lots of people in the village turned out that day because it was the big day of the church fair! It was ‘Peter and Paul‘ weekend and all the church highnesses were expected to celebrate.371

We decided after a late breakfast to visit Pappa’s Beach again. It is a lovely little place, in a cozy nook. The two pine trees make it homely and quiet. The problem with the bill not withstanding, we wanted to give it another chance. And I am glad we did. We spent a beautiful day at the beach again, definitely worth of a Saturday. And no more problems with the bill, very correct the second time.381 385

In the evening we were facing the same problem again as before. Will we watch the first or the second half? We decided on the first, then rushed to the hotel, shower, hydrating (skin not body, the beer we already had), changing and then back to our bar. In the end there was no need for any haste since the game went into over-time and eventually penalty shooting. What a sad way to end a game, I would have liked Chile to win.

So around 10pm we made our way to the fair, having heard so much about it and seen the procession in all its glory walk around the village.388
Only to realize at the fair after the extremely nerve-racking game that they have not been waiting for us.404
I know the picture is a bit dark but be assured that it was packed. The whole village has turned out. In summer they a respectable number of 600 inhabitants (in winter 350), so I don’t know where all these other people came from. The line-up for the Souvlaki was long and we were not hung up on them anyway, so we decided on the spur of the moment to go back to the place where we had dinner the first night.

The first night we passed it on the way through the village and then on the way back just met a couple coming outside telling us that it’s very good. Which it was, it just had a very typical and basic style and we didn’t realize that it was the most authentic place. Maybe that’s why we tried a lot of different places meanwhile. But Andrea and I had already talked about going back there again. And after our horrible culinary experience the day before we needed great Greek cooking . It might not be imaginative, but in its simplicity it’s magnificent. Fresh ingredients put together make out of a simple meal a great one! Yours, Pollybert405 406

PS: I forgot to take a picture of the name of the place and don’t remember it. But it is the second last restaurant in Ireon direction Pappa Beach, and it shows a seagull in its sign.

The sweet side of Samos

Before you start thinking about the sweet wine here, I cannot tell you how it tastes. So far we tried only the local beer, rosé (which looked more like red and to which I was allergic) and dry white wine (which is excellent).

But let’s start from the beginning which was on Monday when Andrea and I boarded the flight to Samos. Quite a small plane, only two seats per side. We of course had both asked for aisle seats because no one wanted to sit in the middle. We arrived at a very small airport, were transferred in the private car of our agency lady and were on the beach by 4:30.192 194

Again we have a pebble beach, on the whole island are only two sand beaches and since we are not renting a car they could be on the moon for us. We will not see them.

Our hotel is called Niki and is located in Ireon. I know it is still low season but the entire tourist community in this village seems to consists of middle-aged or early retired people. And the village youth which is meeting at the Gyros place at night is under-age. We are looking at a really relaxing and quiet holiday ahead.

The first evening we went for dinner to the smallest and most authentic looking place we could find. We ended up in a tavern which served delicious food and the allergic making wine.209 210 211 214After that we only made it to a bar near our hotel and watched football. Something we plan on doing all week long. Yours, Pollybert

Football Fever

No matter where on this planet you live, I am sure you are aware that it’s football/soccer season in Brazil. The biggest and most important tournament in this sport is happening now. And what is happening in my home? My tv-box from my provider crashed last night and I can’t watch anything on my tv. So what’s a girl to do?

Call first, complain later. That’s what I did. Urgh, they are not coming today and I am leaving for Italy tonight. Next possible appointment for me is July 1st. It doesn’t really matter so much because I won’t be home most of the time, but… and here it comes… I will be spending two evenings at home without tv. What a hardship! Can’t tell you how grateful I am for online streaming. Not the same but better than nothing.

Up until now I have tried to watch every game or at least part of it when I was unable to see all. Ok, the one game that was shown in Europe at 3am I didn’t watch. Couldn’t be bothered to get up. So sorry Ivory Coast and Japan, but you were just not important enough to get up in the middle of the night. I will try to do better for your second game.

I love the excitement surrounding the game, the good vibes in all the public viewing places. People are in a good mood, no matter who wins or loses. Excellent start for a great summer!

In other matters, I am leaving for Italy tonight. Yeah, vacation, vacation, vacation!!! It’s summer and it’s the season to go away. Tuscany is calling, beckoning with dreamy villages, excellent food and a bit of shopping. Can’t wait to have my first cappuccino along the way. I don’t understand why the coffee across the non-existing border tastes so much better, but it does. Actually quite a lot of stuff tastes a lot better across the border.

A couple of lazy days ahead of me, what more can I want? Quite a lot more lazy days right after this trip. But more on that later!
Yours, Pollybert