Sinaia and the Bucegi Mountains

30 04 2009
Traditional Sinaia house, Bucegi Mts.  behind

Traditional Sinaia house, Bucegi Mts. behind

We left Braşov and headed down the Prahova River valley towards the town of Sinaia, with the hopes of backpacking in the Bucegi Mountains. The train ride down was nice, through the forest  of the Carpathian Mountains. The Prahova river was a sorry little river surrounded by nice forests, with ample amounts of trash in it and hung up on the vegetated creek banks, and it had a tint to it that was too dark given all the clear tributaries we noticed coming out of the forests. Read the rest of this entry »

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Days of Braşov

27 04 2009
Brasov

Brasov

We arrived in Braşov just in time for their “Days of Braşov” festival, which includes traditional music and dancing in the square, street vendors with wine and other foods, and a big event where horse riders come from surrounding villages and parade through town on their horses.  Like the official looking banners say, Braşov is “Probably the best City in the World.”  While we’re not going to argue about this designation since they have prefaced their argument with ‘probably’, we certainly enjoyed our time here.

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Train ride to Romania

25 04 2009
Rolling through Slovakia

Rolling through Slovakia

We left Brno in the Czech Republic on an overnight train for Braşov, in Romania.  We are headed to the Carpathian Mountains (also called the Transylvania Alps in this area)  in Romania to do some hiking, see some more castles and maybe get inundated with Vlad the Impaler (aka Dracula) trinkets.

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Brno

23 04 2009
Cathedral in Brno

Cathedral in Brno

We got to Brno late in the day from our late bus from Telč.  We had a hard time finding a place to stay that night and ended up in a $100 hotel. Yikes, that is way above our budget.  Fortunately we found a cheaper place the next day.  Brno is a fairly large city  in Moravia, the eastern part of the Czech Republic, with many old buildings.  Unlike Prague, the older buildings are mixed in with some newer and more modern buildings, but they all fit together well visually. They also have a similar system for the public transit as in Prague, with above-ground trams providing easy access for travelers on foot, like us. Read the rest of this entry »





Telč

23 04 2009
Telč town square

Telč town square

We returned to the town of České Budějovice to catch a bus further east to the historic town of Telč.  České Budějovice is famous as the town with the original Budvar brewery, and then they eventually got into a legal battle with the American brand of Budweiser over the name that ended in some kind of legal settlement.  Unfortunately, the beer tastes similar to the American Budweiser. Read the rest of this entry »





Český Krumlov

22 04 2009
Ceskz Krumlov

Český Krumlov

Next on our tour of the Czech Republic was the UNESCO town of Český Krumlov.  Although we had wanted to camp, the campground was closed (we know this because we walked the 3 km to stay there with our fully loaded packs, only to arrive at the deserted and boarded-up campground ) and we dragged ourselves back into the upscale village to find a place to stay.  Lodging here can be expensive, but we stayed at a real nice hobbit-like hostel, that was cozy, comfortable and full of nice, polite people (a nice change from many of the smoke filled places we have otherwise been to). Read the rest of this entry »





Karštejn castle

19 04 2009
Karštejn Castle

Karštejn Castle

We took a short day trip from Prague out to Karštejn Castle, near the town of Beroun.    The castle is on a forested hillside near a small village.  We took the train to a nearby station and then walked through the countryside, across a river, and up to the castle.  We took a tour and learned a fair amount about the Bohemian king and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, who was the most important resident of the castle.   It was built in three phases, which reflect Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles from the different time periods when the various phases were completed.  Read the rest of this entry »