Escaping the City

19 Feb

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while! My life has been pretty crazy these days! But don’t worry, crazy in the best way possible. Let me explain: dear readers, after months & months (well technically a year) of kissing frogs & trying on ill-fitting glass slippers–I finally found my Prince. Well now I am going to spare you the Disney imagery, but let’s just say I somehow by some weird shift in the universe, I found a guy who just makes me really happy.

& If you have been following my blog long, you know that this never happens. No, because I am the girl who always seems to pick guys who want to date me…& ten other girls, or are only here on vacation! Not this time. Remember in my last post when I said that my New Year’s Resolution for 2014 was to find love? First self love & then love with another? Well, I am thinking these two are positively correlated. When you find someone else who genuinely cares about you, it’s a lot harder to look in mirrors & say ‘I hate myself’. & I haven’t been. 

ImageAbove: basically my mentality these days 🙂

At the beginning of February, I wanted to plan a little trip for myself. I wanted to escape the typical weekend of waiting 8 minutes for the metro, getting catcalled by all the Cabaret promoters in Wenceles, elbowing my way through SWARMS of tourists & then taking the 58 tram home at night. I wanted a little break. I researched some nearby Czech towns/villages that were worth traveling to & soon settled upon the adorable Český Krumlov. It was only 3hrs away, had a pretty castle & I could stay in a hostel for $12. Done deal. It was originally going to be my Valentine’s Day gift to myself. Because as February approached, I anticipated it would be much like the roughly 21 other Valentine’s Days in my life where I eat chocolate watch The Notebook & sigh to myself. So why not make this year different? Especially since my Mom, Dad & Grampy weren’t here to give me flowers & say ‘You’ll always be my Valentine’. Smh. 

But then, just like in some crazy romantic comedy probably starring Meg Ryan or Hugh Grant, this wonderful boy walked right into my life just in time for Valentine’s Day. Aww. I can’t help it! I am suchhh a girl, but you have to admit, that’s pretty cute. & Suddenly two bus tickets were being booked & Filip & I (there you go, Facebook stalk, away) were on our way to Český Krumlov! 

We caught the 9am bus, which wasn’t so bad because it was a Student Agency bus. As a proud user of Eurolines, let me tell you, dear readers, I am never going back. Student Agency hooks you up! Comfy seats (that you get to pick/reserve fo’ free), mini televisions in the back of everyone’s seats, free headphones & A FREE DRINK (aka: the yummiest hot coco ever). I had a wonderful time just on the bus ride there! Even though my headphones were broken & made it sound like RHCP & Lana Del Rey were singing underwater, I still loved it! Totally recommend this company!

When we finally got to Český Krumlov, it was awesome. I seriously felt like I was walking into a medieval town or fortress. Especially because you have to cross a bridge to get to the actual town! The picturesque castle was the ornate center piece. I am from the United States, we don’t have castles, we’re not old enough to have castles! Therefore, castles will always be exciting to me! All the streets were cobblestones & dangerously narrow, as in Filip saved my life about 29457 times when sudden cars appeared down roads I thought were pedestrian only. Gotta love Europe! Then there was the Vltava River, my little reminder of Prague, only now instead of it being an oily backdrop for every tourist photo on the Charles Bridge, it was the majestic current weaving around the city. 

Image(Above: Filip & I in the beautiful Český Krumlov)

After checking into our slightly misleading hostel ($12 gets you what you pay for, I guess), we explored the town. In like, 2 hours. We climbed up the castle, which, like all good medieval Czech castles, has BEARS. Like real life bears living in the moats. However, I forgot the most important thing in my brain’s encyclopedia of bear knowledge–they hibernate. In winter. It was winter. So no bears 😦 But we did get a breath-taking view of the city & the weather was so nice. I was basically ecstatic. 

Then it was time to eat because two rholiks (bread rolls that cost legit $0.20/one of the main staples in my broke girl diet) & free bus hot coco was not enough to sustain castle climbing. We scoured the village, which we soon realized was very touristic. We refused about 8 menus in a row because paying $10 for a meal is INSANE. That’s more expensive than Prague! Another good rule of thumb is to avoid menus in English because they are targeting tourists & usually the most expensive. This could have been rough if I was on my original solo trip in Český Krumlov, but luckily I have a Czech speaker with me to translate 🙂 We finally found exactly what we were looking for in some pub I can’t pronounce the name of (welcome to my life here) that was basically empty. Actually it was empty, we thought it was closed. The waiter didn’t even hear us come in so we startled him when he moseyed out 10 minutes later only to see two ravenous travelers. We got some beer & I had my most recent Czech cuisine obsession: soup (It’s usually under $2.50, is hearty, filling & perfect for cold winter days!) It was delicious. 

Image(Above: Basically the awesome Gulašova Soup I ate in the pub)

We then geeked out because the menu had our ultimate favorite Czech dish: Svíčková! Which is about 1,000calories, super heavy & will take more than one gym session to work off–but then I realized after a depressing Google search that there are NO CZECH RESTAURANTS IN BOSTON/NEARBY AREAS?! So I will be eating as much Svíčková as I possibly can while I have the chance! We decided to save the Svíčková for dinner though, & got back to exploring the city!

We walked along all these little back roads, through the residential part of the town. It was basically the Sutton of Český Krumlov. People outside working on their cars, hanging out laundry & just being all adorable & small town-y. We walked & walked only to realize we were back in town again (seriously, this place was small). We sat on a bench near the river & just soaked in the day. It felt so good to be on vacation. To just be somewhere different &, as Mama G would have put it, ‘It felt so good to not have to be somewhere’. The epitome of relaxation. 

Later that night we went back to the same pub (why not?) ate our amazing Svíčková & watched some Winter Olympics that were playing on the television. This is definitely one thing I have truly grown to love about Czech culture–pub life. Everyone was gathered around the tv, giant beer mugs all in hand, hearty meat & potatoes in front of them, cigarettes puffing away. It’s so different from what any American would consider a ‘good dining atmosphere’. But after living here almost seven months, I have really grown to appreciate it. It’s smoky, it’s loud, it’s poorly lit but it’s a great place to socialize & you will probably eat some of the best food ever. In Paris I would only settle for upscale fancy dining establishments, but here, this is my favorite setting. It’s just such a huge part of Czech culture & I love it! 

 Image(Above: So pretty & picturesque)

So that was my super romantic Valentine’s Day weekend getaway from the city. & Whether you have your own Valentine or are flying solo, you should still never forget to take some time for yourself. Whether it be a weekend out of town, a day hiking around experiencing (the) nature, or even a few hours cuddled up with a good book, always make a little time either for yourself or for the people you care about. 

It’s the only way to stay sane, in my opinion 🙂

-JG

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4 Responses to “Escaping the City”

  1. Sluníčko February 21, 2014 at 10:57 pm #

    I’m so happy you finally found love and happiness! 🙂 I really could feel your happiness while reading this!

    When I visit V., who lives near Sokolov, I always travel to Prague by plane and then take a Student Agency bus to Sokolov. Its cheap, comfy and absolutely stress-free 🙂

    I’ve never been to Česky Krumlob, but it’s definitely on my “Places to see before I die”-list now 🙂

    • jgravesss February 22, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

      Thank you! I really am very happy 🙂 Last night he was asked me to be his girlfriend, so it’s pretty official now!

      I totally recommend Cesky Krumlov! Maybe not for an entire week but it’s definitely a nice place to take a little trip to!

      • Sluníčko February 23, 2014 at 8:13 am #

        Wow, congratulations! 🙂

        Yeah I’ve seen pictures of Cesky Krumlov once on another Czech or traveling blog, and I liked them a lot – such a photogenic and picturesque place… 🙂 Hopefully I’ll manage to go there for a day or two during my next CZ-Trip… 🙂

  2. Ron March 3, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

    That’s the happiest I heard you since you got there. Love is great isn’t it? Been that way for 54 years. Well maybe with a little dislike here and there.

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