There’s a Bear in There (but no TV)

After another cross country bus ride, we arrive to this:

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And then this:

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I’m not sure I’ll be able to bear staying here!

We are staying at the very traditional Na Louzi in and it’s extremely charming.  Each room is different but they are decked out very simply.  No bar fridge, no hairdryers, no bathrobes and no TV – magic, though probably not everyone would agree with me.

Downstairs is a little restaurant where a grumpy waiter attends to the customers, minus a smile, but the food is good and other friendlier staff bustle about to make up for it.  It always seems to be full.

First stop after lunch is to try something Matt keyed us up for back in Prague.  You can buy these across the Czech Republic, but we’ve been forced to wait till now for what Matt calls the cream of the crop of Trdlniks.  Originally coming from Pennsylvania, they are basically soft dough, wrapped a stick and then grilled and topped with sugar.  Here in Cesky Krumlov, you can have almonds as well, or hazelnut flavoured chocolate.  They are massive, but despite that, I can’t bear to not finish it, chocolate covering my fingers and most probably my face, by the end of it.

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Our first afternoon is a walking introduction to the town by a local guide.  The streets are cobble-stoned, which is the norm in these parts, but the town, despite its winding streets and hidden alleys, is incredibly small.  The alleys and streets are lined with shops, galleries and restaurants, and the day trippers come in troves.

Magnificent organs and outstanding accoustics await us at St Vitus Church.  An outstanding view of the town is on show at a small garden along the way.  And there are bears at the castle.  Yes.  Bears.  The history of bear-keeping at the Castle goes back to the 16th century, when the Rosenbergs held court.  The family legend goes that the Rosenbergs were related to a noble Italian family, named Orsini.  Orsa means she-bear in Italian and this animal motif was used by the Rosenbergs to demonstrate their relationship with the Orsini’s, as can be seen on the Rosenberg coat of arms.

Living in the moat at present are Katerina and Vok, and their cubs Daxi and Hubert.

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The castle itself dates back to the 13th century and was built by the Witigonen family, let another branch of the tentacled Rosenberg family.  By the 17th century, when the Rosenbergs finally died out, the castle was given to Hans Ulrich von Eggenberg, and you’ll see beer carrying his name all over this town.

We walk through the castle out to the gardens to the solace of a small lily-pad covered pond, where some of us sit for a while.  Whilst this morning was quite cool and we were not sure we would avoid rain, this afternoon is bathed in brilliant sunshine.

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We walk back to the centre of town through quiet side streets, while somewhere a church bell rings out.

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This town is gorgeous.

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