|OK so I was wrong. I have been wrong before too, so I know how to take it. Well, sort of. I thought that Prague was the single most beautiful city in the entire world, but as it turns out, I was completely wrong. And that is one of the things that can be so wonderful about traveling; there's always something new (and maybe even more spectacular) just around the corner! I probably should have listened to my brother Owen, because he told me years ago, when I was encouraging him to go to Prague, that Ceske Krumlov was the real deal - and holy smokes, was he ever right. It has got to be the most fairy tale looking place on the planet. The other great thing about it for us was that it is the start of the off season, and the narrow lanes and beautiful square are delightfully spacious on these brisk early autumn days. Couldn't be better really...
Confirming all of these feelings is the fact that the hostel we are staying in is run by a guy from Abbotsford; he'd fallen in love with the place years ago, and decided to move here permanently. I think maybe it was just for the great Czech beers, but I'm not 100% sure. The little pubs/restaurants here are fantastic. They are all located in arched basements of 700 year old buildings which gives them a distinctly "torture chamber" like feeling; tight, dark, and warm. Inside every one of these chambers you will find the ABC's and V's. Namely, the incredibly entertaining quartets consisting of Accordion, Bass, Clarinet, and Violin. The pace of the music is always rapid, landing somewhere between a Russian Cossack dance tune and a Greek wedding song - as it should sound if one believes in the geography of music I suppose. The bands are great, and everyone is putting back the beers while they devour their goulash and bread dumplings. Yup, that's the Czech culture in a nut shell really - music, good beer, goulash, and dumplings.
One of the best things about this town is the simple fact that you can kick back beside the river and have a great coffee and just watch the world go by. Your mind slips right back into medieval times, as all the surrounding architecture is in perfect period condition - there is nothing new around in the centre to spoil the consistency of the place, which is fantastic! Sometimes I think we're on the UNESCO world tour, as it seems that everywhere we go is a UNESCO declared world heritage zone. Ceske Krumlov certainly is. Maybe we're just good pickers!
The other thing that's worth mentioning is COTTON! Yes, we get to wear cotton again finally. Well, I guess we wore some briefly while in Siberia, but now it's every day! Since being in central Europe, the days have been beautifully sunny, but also crisp (especially in the morning), so we can get away without the sweat proof synthetics that we've been using all over Asia. You have no idea of the things you will miss until you really miss them, and sure enough, they are always the simplest things. Cotton and Hawkins Cheezies. Now if I could only afford to carry the weight of a pair of jeans!
Other clothing related escapades lately have included the destruction of Kristine's hat by the "free" laundry at one of the hostels, and the disintegration of the platinum foil on my razor. Both are exceedingly annoying, and one of them makes one of us cry. Can you guess which (I think she has a replacement plan in the works for Christmas...)? These things happen along the way, and all you can really do is suck it up, and carry on. Carry being the operative word ;)