What can I say about this place? Hmmm. Don’t go there stay well away, in fact if you intend to go, let me know and I will go for you so you don’t have to, I am willing to do this over and over again. Really I would do that for you!
Another short bus ride to Ceski Kromlov, there was a lot of rain and I did a fair bit of sleeping on the bus. When we arrived at Kromlov we pulled off onto the side of the road onto a gravel make shift truck stop. With our back packs on we were lead to another medieval town with cobbled stone streets. The gate that we walked through reminded me a little of Bruges, but it appeared as though the details were painted on. This was the style of the region apparently and even the castle that sat on the top of the hill had the same styling, flat walls with painted facades.
We walked down a small alley just next to the gate where we found Hostel 99. The doors had chalk writing on them advertising the things you could do here. There were no tours for sale on the bus and I think that was a good thing because there seems to be a relaxed attitude to OH&S. I say it was a good thing because the activities included Horse riding, downhill scootering and the best of all, a river rafting pub crawl! There was also a small mention of Free Foot Massages although this did have a clause of “girls only”. Dammit!
When we checked in, we got to see the inside of the hostel, the walls and ceilings were painted by people that had stayed there, the rooms were all labeled with names instead of numbers, I was in a three bed share called Los 3 Amigos there was another one called The Love Shack.
This place had a real travelers vibe, not like the commercial places I had been staying in.
Since we arrived at about 11, a small group of us went to the Eggenburg Brewry restaurant where I got to try one of the best beers I’ve ever had. Eggenburg Yeast Beer. We continued up the cobbled stone streets past the castle entrance to the town square and had a look around. I was wrecked from the night before… Drinking and singing etc, so I thought that since this was a quiet stop that I would go and have a sleep…
Great move! I got up and joined the group again to return to the Eggenburg. The restaurant is a medieval building that has been maintained to look and feel like it did hundreds of years ago. All be it with electric lights and most mod cons, but it looked great.
I downed an awesome goulash for dinner and yet another Eggenburg yeast beer. I called it an early night and returned to the hostel.
I got up relatively early today and was wonderfully refreshed, I visited e restaurant next door and ordered a full English breakfast, it was 130 crown… 6-7 dollars. It was huge, bacon, eggs, sausage, grilled tomato, baked beans, fried mushrooms, toast and yummy breakfasty goodness.
Although I hadn’t intended to do the downhill scooter, a couple of people said they were doing it and I couldn’t resist. I went along.
The truck picked up five of us and we drove for about a half hour up a steep hill. At the top there was a lookout and an old medieval tower. We didn’t stay about too long and got on the scooters.
The scooters have a mountain bike wheel on the front and a smaller wheel on the back. Since it was all down hill we kicked off and sped down the hill. It must have been about 25 minutes to get down the hill but we would have been going at least 40-50 kph at times. They were incredible fun.
We got to the bottom and I was keen to go again but time was against us and our rafting pub crawl was about to begin.
What is the best way to start a rafting pub crawl?
Put 16 Aussies in a van built for 9 and top with three massive rafts! The mix with rain, beer pancakes and pizza, and a little more beer.
The entourage of Aussies staying at the hostel at the time were all keen to get into the rafts. When it became apparent that wee would not all fit into the van, the question was asked, will we take two trips? Te driver said confidently… Nope, we’ll fit. We managed to get all 17 people in, some hiding in the back into the van. The rafts that we would be using were stacked onto of the van. Admittedly I didn’t expect that this was going to end well and yet somehow, the forces of nature were with us and we got to the drop off point. As we got off the bus and began to launch the rafts, it started to rain. Looks like I mentioned the forces of nature too early because we about to get wet before getting into a raft.
We pushed off and began a cold and wet journey down the Vltava rive. It wasn’t even ten minutes to the first pub… Well it wasn’t a pub, more a raft with two guys service cocktails. I had a mojito, sure they used actual sugar rather than sugar syrup, and yes there was ice which meant that the sugar didn’t melt, but it was a mojito, it had the main ingredient of Rum so I was happy. We had all warmed up due to the drink and the rain had even settled momentarily. The second stop was a road side caravan just next to e river. I hadn’t had lunch yet and I was a little peckish so I got a Nutella pancake. Hmmm so good. After downing that it was time for another beer…. then another beer… I could see a theme developing here. It en started to pour down with rain. There was a big umbrella that seemed quite small one there were 16 people under it. Again it didn’t rain for long and we took the opportune to head to the next stop.
We navigated a couple of rapids, then went to a camp site with a bar.it s starting to get cold and we noticed that there was a fire there. We huddled around the fire and Aussies being Aussies, we immediately began to make e fire bigger, there was a some fire wood close by that hadn’t yet been saturated so we put that on. I went for another beer and returned to the fire. I needed something a little more substantial than just a pancake for lunch so after e beer I went back into the warmth of the bar. I ordered a local specialty… Something light, that would be easy to digest and would give me energy for e remainder of the trip… So I got deep fried crumbed cheese with hot Chips. Hmmm deep fried goodness.
The rain again reared it’s ugly and now cold and annoying head so we all sought shelter in the bar. We took up a table and thats when the real drinking began. We got into a drinking game that we called “swoosh, Bump, Block”. the aim was to pay attention to the direction the game was going, once it was your turn, you could “swoosh” that sent it on to the next person, you could “bump” at skipped the next person or you could “block” and that reversed the play. There couldn’t be three of the same action in a row, and if you played out of turn you had to drink. We added another rule where you were not allowed to say the word “drink”. We ordered ‘rinks all round and played for good hour or so.
It became apparent that the rain that had now put out our fire and knocked over some of the outside umbrellas had no intention of easing, so we pushed on and got into our now saturated rafts. This did not matter because were, as mum wold put it “pleasantly” on our way.
Back on e rafts we made approached the town. There now actual bars on the river banks. One in particular didn’t seem interested in our patronage. I wondered if the last place called ahead and warned them.
A woman came out and stood on the bank watching the three rafts approach. When we began to dock she held a stiff index finger in the air and said No! Obviously her years of English study had payed off because I think thats exactly what she meant. With out any further English she did manage to communicate at is we came up the steps we would have the dog set on us… I still don’t know why is seemed so bad, but I was plainly happy to continue on and visit another pub… With one less angry lady and no dogs.
We pulled up a little later and the rain had settled. In fact the sun was out and most of us were on the lookout for a bathroom.
We pulled ashore and I went into a hereby restaurant. Don’t ever install a toilet under a stair well. People my height can’t stand up properly there… That was just weird and awkward. I am sure that somewhere in the world that would be seen as cruel and unusual punishment.
I returned to the raft where five of the guys were. We hijacked another raft an se off to the next pub… Oh how smart we were… There were the rest of the group, standing along a grass lined strip next to a pub with small steins in hand! Before long we were ashore and drinking… It was a really nice pub, particularly because for 120cr you could get a decent sized pizza. Someone else had bought one and was sharing it around… Nice.
We were homeward bound. We just had one more little rapid to navigate. I stayed in e hijacked boat and all three rafts took off. The three man raft that I was in earlier was now being controlled by three of the craziest Aussies I’ve met so far and not been completely offended by. For some reason they thought it would be a good idea to try and stand while coming down the rapid. These guys could now barely stand on dry land yet alone a moving raft. It inevitable took place and all three of them ended in the drink.
There were two pairs of thongs in the raft with them and only one pair survived… Unfortunately they were both right feet. Happily none of them were mine. I did manage to lose a pair of cheap sunglasses that I bought in Prague, but we had so much fun on the rafts that it didn’t matter. Most of us got back drenched and a little wobbly.
I went upstairs to find Alvaro, the manager, playing guitar at The outdoor tables. He had to go inside and I had a quick strum with what little guitar knowledge I have. One of the other guests came along and he took the guitar and really gave it a work out. Man he could play. He made up a gypsy styled riff and I freestyled lyrics to it. We made up a song about rafting in Kromlov, Alvaro over heard us and came out to record what we were doing… Once we finished he reviewed what he recorded only to find that he recorded it in super slow mo lol. We had a ball doing it though and while we were messing about more and more people came out to watch. I really should get back into my music. It’s been a long time since I payed any attention to it and I think I could actually achieve something with it. Who knows what the future holds but perhaps it will involve music.
I went in and had shower. I knew that the group was going to continue to the bars in town to I made my way in. I found them in a bar called the Horror bar. It’s a medieval basement that’s been decorated with the macabre in mind. There were bones and sculls throughout the place and the group were in a room that had a glass top coffin as a table with what was meant to look like human remains within. Very cool looking place.
We moved onto the music bar where we had dinner. I had a beef and chicken stew with a beer. Then we danced to early 90s pop music… Oh yeah, they even played some Michael Jackson and I got my dance on. It was about that time that i called it a night and went back to the hostel… It was an awesome day.
I packed my bags in the morning, had pancaked and bacon for breakfast and patiently awaited the bus while reminiscing the events of the day before.
I strongly recommend this place as a stop over, it’s been the highlight of my trip so far!