I’m writing this post on a bus in the hills of southern Czech Republic! We’re headed back after our final group weekend trip. This excursion took us to Ceske Budejovice and Cesky Krumlov, (two idyllic towns in the Southern Bohemian countryside), to Salzburg, and to the Eagles Nest.
As the weeks left are winding down, we’ve begun a sort of “Last Days in Prague Bucket ist” which mostly involved revisiting favorite eateries and sites. On top of that I’ve managed to visit a few new places. This Thursday I finally visited a little café off Narodni street that I’ve passed dozens of times, each time saying I’ll go this week!(but never actually going). Z also led a group of us to the largest botanical gardens in the Czech Republic just a little under an hour outside of city center via metro and bus. The flowers were positively stunning and it was a nice escape into the quiet of nature for a while.
The days keep on flying and I mostly just can’t believe that we have two weeks left in Prague! (That also means two weeks to plan all the post-Prague travels, which is equally intimidating).
With this “the end is near!” mindset we set off on Friday morning for the Czech towns of Ceske Budejovice (where we toured the Budvar factory and got some samples—nothing like beer at 11:30 am) and then to Cesky Krumlov. This city was particularly beautiful, and in some ways reminded me of Bruges. I’m not sure what it was because they are quite different—Bruges is obviously much more Western and the canals set it apart. But Cesky Krumlov had the same sort of romance, and it had its own little castle as well with a beautiful view of the Vltava River. The weather was a bit too unpredictable for canoeing on the river but we got to enjoy the city and its abundant charm. We spent the night in Ceske Budejovice where it seemed we owned the hotel for the night, complete with inordinately large rooms. This of course made for some nice “hotel partyin’” (ie cramming into one room and letting the good times roll).
Come morning we set off for Austria, but first stopped at Rozemberg Castle, with its own ghost in residence who has been showing up for centuries. We rolled into Salzburg after a beautiful drive through the Bohemian countryside and the Alps. Friends Brenna and Kim are both studying in Salzie so myself and fellow AIFS/Drake friend Kat joined them for a little Drake University reunion on the lock bridge. They graciously showed us around, led us to some delicious chocolate and pretzels, and took us to the Mirabell Gardens. We bid farewell then and rejoined with some of the group for a delicious Austrian dinner. After resting up we had one final international hurrah at the Shamrock Pub.
Today was the Sound of Music tour and then the great sojourn home, with a stop at the Eagle’s Nest (Hitler’s personal retreat in the Alps) and with some Apple strudel that made the really rainy weather a bit more bearable.
Not quite four months ago we got onto the bus for our first excursion into the Moravian countryside–today we arrive back at Masarykova Kolej with a few more kilometers on that bus odometer, and a bundle of memories to carry home with us. As Tolkein might have put it, One bus at a time, we traveled quite far.
And on the most important note, Happy Mother’s Day to my own mama and to all the women in my life who have been models of strength, compassion, and that feminine genius!
‘Til next time