We have left you waiting for a while but the places and the experiences are more than exciting and things happen much faster so please excuse our delay.
Entering the Czech Republic was pretty straight forward and Český Krumlov, our first destination, was overwhelming. If there’s time for only one place to visit in the Czech Republic, make Český Krumlov be the one. Crowned by a spectacular castle and centered on an elegant old town square, , Český Krumlov is a pocket-sized Prague without the package tourism and the crowds. It’s a great site to explore. After earning a spot on Unesco’s World Heritage List in 1992, Český Krumlov, together with its river side activities, has become the second busiest tourist attraction. Try to come outside the peak season and it will be much more secluded.
After that it was time to head to Prague. People say that Prague is the equal of Paris in terms of beauty. When you get there, the history
goes back a millennium. Add to that the Czech beer, which is definitely the best in all Europe, and you got the perfect recipe. Not taken by surprise, visitors from around the world come in droves and on a hot summer’s day it can feel like you’re sharing Charles Bridge (Prague’s highlight) with half of humanity.
Our visit at the end of August, which was our case, had exactly that feeling. But even the crowds can’t take away the beauty and the harmony of the 14th-century stone bridge or the hilltop castle with a fairytale old town and the lovely, lazy river Vltava. Luckily Rochelle had some friends who happen to call Prague home. They offered us their hospitality and all the information needed to see and visit places off the tourist track. Thanks a lot to both of you, Vincent and Katka, for all the great help and the even greater hospitality. You’re welcome to join overlanddiaries crew whenever or wherever you like.
After four days unfortunately it was time to move forward, as our trip is still long way ahead of us. Our next stop was Slovakia and its capital Bratislava. With only a short time in our hands, in two days we managed to walk around the old city of Bratislava (it’s not as big as it sounds) and fit in the Devin Castle as an extra (only half-an-hour-drive out of Bratislava).
With this small part completed, we proceeded to Hungary and its capital, the beautiful Budapest. The city straddles the Danube River, with the Buda Hills to the west and the Great Plain to the east. Budapest is a gem of a city. Architecturally, Budapest is a treasure, with enough baroque, neoclassical and art nouveau buildings to satisfy anyone’s appetite. Overall, Budapest has definitely a feel in the air that makes it spectacular. The most things you see today were built during the capital’s ‘golden age’. Nearly every building has some interesting or unusual detail and exploring it can take months. Unfortunately we didn’t have that much time but for the five days we were there, we walked, and walked, and walked until our feet went numb. Not even the heavy rainfall stopped us.
Except from numb we also got wet feet. As Rochelle tells me, that’s the FOMO, the fear of missing out. Something that definitely gets to you when your surroundings are that spectacular. With a quick visit to Lake Balton, which didn’t prove to be as spectacular as expected, and a day tour in Szentendre (St Andre in English) we completed our Hungarian chapter.
Romania was next but for that you have to be patient till our next post.