Today our agenda primarily involved a day trip out to a castle. The reasons we chose this day trip are two-fold.
Fold #1: the tour book told us this castle is like a fairy tale
Fold #2: the name of the castle reminded us of our last name, or more specifically, ways our last name could very well be spelled by a pizza delivery or on junk mail, or by my horrid boss at Old Navy back in the day.
Clearly, this was meant to be part of our Europa Adventures.
Because up until now we have traveled, learned European history, toured, experienced, seen, and feasted ourselves into a state of tourist exhaustion, we were feeling quite pleased with ourselves that our Prague days were not filled to the brim like the rest of our trip has been. We took full advantage, and slept in (until 8:00) and leisurely made our way out the door (after 9:30) and worked our way to Karlstejn.
Let’s just say it is a good thing we planned to take our time, because this day wasn’t among the simplest. But it was among the loveliest.
Sometimes when you are standing on the platform at the train station, you think to yourself, “I wonder if this is really my train I am getting on”. Well, it usually is, so no worries. Today we didn’t really have time to even ask ourselves that question, as we got to the tracks 2 minutes before our train was scheduled to depart. So we hopped on, crossed our fingers, and hoped for the best.
Let’s just say the jury is still out on what exactly went wrong. I’m not entirely convinced we were completely on the wrong train. Although if a kindly woman across the aisle from us hadn’t spoken English, we probably still would be wandering the Czech countryside.
The train was headed the right way, Apparently it just wasn’t heading far enough. We got off at the end of the line (per nice woman’s directions) and waited about 35 minutes for the next train to come through. We got on that one, rode two more stops, and found ourselves in Karlstejn. Tricky, no?
The tour book told us that the Karlstejn Castle rises up on the hill like a fairy tale castle. When I looked at the pictures of it, I wasn’t convinced. So I won’t take it personally if you feel the same way looking at our pictures. However, it was in fact like we were in Sleeping Beauty (or some other such tale). I loved it so much: the turrets and parapets, and imposing grandeur.
The hike up the hill began to disillusion us. However, just when we thought we were a third of the way up and would likely die before reaching the top in this heat, we discovered we were there! We didn’t want to pay to go in (I mean, we’ve toured approximately 1,792 castles, palaces, and churches at this point in our journey) but we did wander around the castle grounds and enjoy the view of the village below.
I especially enjoyed this little pocket of flowers brimming with butterfly/moth/something pretty fluttering about. I will not subject you to the series of 43 butterfly/moth/something pretty fluttering pictures that I took in the next 3 minutes. You are welcome. I will however share this one.
We walked down, stopping in little shops, being mistaken for a couple of Danish girls on holiday, and then bought hot dogs from a vendor for lunch. They drilled a hole in a loaf of French bread, dropped the dog down into it, and put it in this jovial paper bag.
We found a cute bench and sat down to enjoy our “feast” and then headed back toward the train station. We arrived two minutes before the train back to Praha (Prague to you non-German or Czech speakers) and enjoyed the scenic ride back to the city. One of our favorite scenes was that of a medium sized, extremely fluffly, white dog being toted about on the train in the tinest of wicker baskets. How it fit in this basket, I do not know. Why it sat so well in its cramped quarters I also do not know. What I do know is that I regret not getting a photo of this for you.
We treated ourselves to some gelato from the Restaurant U Prince gelato stand (per my friend Liza’s recommendation) once we got back to Prague. I had the cookies flavor and the caramel flavor. It was the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted. Especially when accompanied by watching this small child single mindedly chase this pigeon all around the square (seriously, where were his parents? This is the most crowded spot in the whole city). Yes, I’m a creeper who took a picture of a child I don’t know. But seriously, it was an amazing bit of people watching. He truly had mad pigeon chasing skills, which is impressive as he was not big enough to even have pedals on his bike.