Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic: Fairytale town

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Something I appreciate about solo travel is exploring places alone at my own leisurely and spontaneous pace, which I had done throughout most of my trip; other times, I’d meet a fellow solo traveller and we’d explore a city to both of our likings, together. But when it came to visiting Cesky Krumlov, I decided to do something different: I decided to join a group tour.

When I inquired about a group tour to Cesky Krumlov at a nearby Office of Tourism in Prague, they prompted me to a renowned group tour company, which I just had to go to and request to sign up for a tour, and then I was ready to go the following day. The tour cost 1600 CZK — indeed a bit hefty when I could’ve done the trip myself, but given how tricky it was to get there, I decided that it would simplify my time and nerves to just have all the logistics sorted out for me.

It was 9:15am the next morning, I met my tour guide, and the bus was ready to embark on its 2.5 hour journey to the small town of Cesky Krumlov, situated in the South Bohemian region of the Czech Republic. Our tour guide was a lovely and hospitable woman with a great sense of humour. However, I’m ashamed to admit that during our bus ride, there were moments where her monotone voice and heavy accent serenaded me into the deep, dark abyss — something called sleep.

When we arrived at Cesky Krumlov, I stood in awe of what stood before my eyes. The town, which was built to encompass its 13th century Castle, was adorned with beautiful and timeless Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architectural influences. Sitting on the banks of the Vltava River, Cesky Krumlov is a UNESCO World heritage site, and for good reason: the remnants of this old medieval town are a long-standing, historical gem.

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I know it’s ironic and defeats the purpose of joining a group tour to meet fellow solo travellers, but the best part about being part of the group tour, was really being allocated the time to explore the town on my own. (Besides, most people on the tour were couples joined at the hip.) So, like a little mouse who had just been let loose from its cage, I scurried away in a frenzy. After all, I didn’t have much time to put on my Sherlock Holmes suit until it was time to meet up again for a final tour together at the Castle.

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This boutique, called Cesky Krumlov Original, was my haven; there were cakes, beautifully-lined shelves of jars of homemade jams and honey, and enormous traditional Czech gingerbread cookies carved into themes and characters. I didn’t end up purchasing gingerbread cookies, but I picked out jams (cherry and apricot) to bring back home for loved ones instead. The packaging was adorable, and what’s awesome is that the jams were locally made by the family owners themselves.

Old Town Square at night

Old Town Square at night

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Later that evening, the bus dropped us off where we had started our journey: at Old Town Square. Everything looked and felt different in Prague at that time of night — the physique, the vibe, the aroma — as if I were in a different setting altogether. It was interesting to note how cities, no matter where I go, can embody such a stark contrast between night and day.

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