Saturday, March 11, 2017

Another New Country Today! The Czech Republic!!! Day 12, Monday, June 6, 2016

Alex and I were looking forward to our day today! We'd be taking an optional tour to a country that is new to us, the Czech Republic to visit the Medieval town of Cesky Krumlov! Today our ship would be docking in Linz, the home of the famous Linzer Torte! And there were quite a few options for the passengers on board.  We could do an included walking tour in Linz, or an optional tour to the Austrian Countryside, which I believe went to Salzburg, or we could head to Cesky Krumlov. The two optional tours were full day excursions and we were up for it! We boarded our Viking buses and off we went! 

The ride was quite pretty, through the Czech countryside. And we made one stop at a rest stop on the way.

Once we arrived, we started our day with a guided tour, and our first stop was the Cesky Krumlov Castle. This is really the centerpiece of the town. This castle is made up of over 40 buildings and palaces situated around five different courtyards. The views from the castle are spectacular as it overlooks the Vltava River and the rest of the Bohemian village.

We began our tour in the gardens...


A little visitor wanted to join our group!

Then we walked up to one of the sections of the castle walkways to overlook the river and town

I know we had a wonderful guide who was telling us fascinating stories and the history of this castle, but at the time, I was absolutely captivated by the photographic beauty of the town below. I must have taken 100 pictures while she talked! Alex was also caught up by the views as well because at some point he managed to convince me to give him my camera, leaving me only with my cell phone and he went on to take so many more amazing photos!

We continued to walk through the courtyards and take everything in....

Yup, I'm still here with just my cell phone...Alex snapping away with my camera and not wanting to be in any pictures with me now!  Kids!

One of the more unique things that the castle is known for is the Bear Moat - yes, literally bears.  Since 1707 bears have been kept in the moat!

After passing through the Castle Gate and heading into town, we had a guided tour of the town center. We saw the Town Hall, the Church of St. Vitus and many other buildings.  This town is absolutely of the highlights of our trip for sure!

So much to take in!  Standing on the bridge, looking out over the Vltava River.

A view of part of the Castle from down below in town

This is the main town square 

Every town needs a cheese shop!

A great overview map of the town. We started at the castle, and you can see just how large it is! We walked through it from the left to the right, and out the front, crossed the river over that bridge, walked through that main square you see in the middle of the map and are now at that red dot overlooking the town from above again from the other side of the river!

After our stop here we had quite a few hours of free time in the afternoon.  Alex, Alycen and I went and had lunch and wandered the streets a bit just taking the charm in!


We also did a bit of souvenir shopping here!  There were so many cute shops!

We had some time before our group was to meet back at the square so Alex and I ventured into one last stop....

The Cesky Krumlov Torture Museum!  This was going to be interesting!  We went in, and walked down into a basement that was well, sort of like being in a dungeon! Then all types of torture devices going back to the Middle Ages and who even knows when were on display with descriptions. It was actually very interesting and very, very well done!  Just a few pictures!

An example of a witch burning....

There were torture devices up through much more modern times exhibited as well. The museum may not be for everyone, but for anyone interested, it really was fascinating!

We then got to escape the dungeon, and met up with our group to head back to the bus for our ride back to the ship in Linz. 

The walk back was quite scenic! All three of us were so glad we chose this optional excursion today!

Tonight is our 2nd to last night on board though. We're having such a great trip! This is the night of our Farewell Dinner. It's just a little bit of a special dinner. On river cruises there are no "formal nights" the way you may have them on ocean cruises. So no need to pack fancy clothes! But tonight is just a bit special. And then after dinner the entertainment is "Sound of Europe: Salzburg"! Music from Mozart, Stolz and The Sound of Music. This was a big hit!

Tomorrow will be our last river cruise day....that's always bittersweet!