Originally, Cesky Krumlov had not been on our itinerary. What a mistake that would have been. However we almost didn't make it there. Here's what happened. After a three hour train ride from Budapest to Vienna we were instructed to wait for our shuttle bus at the appointed hour and location. Dutifully we waited at the train station. And waited. But as minutes ticked on, with no sign of our shuttle, I started to panic. Our one daily chance to catch the shuttle bus to take us the additional three hours to Cesky Krumlov was slipping away. And while staying in Vienna wouldn't have been the worst thing in the world, it wasn't on our agenda. Which is when I ran across the street to enlist the help of a stranger. Who kindly let us use his phone even though my call was to a German number. After several wrong phone numbers I eventually made contact and found our equally frazzled driver. Poor guy. He was so stressed about leaving us that we couldn't really be mad about the situation.
Getting to the second most popular city in the Czeck Republic is an adventure even without nearly missing your bus. Traversing the Austrian countryside made my heart swell. Until my stomach lurched. Small winding roads, however gorgeous, meant motion sickness for me. Needless to say I was glad to arrive at our final destination. As a reward we were greeted with the most perfect light. Light so delicious it drenched the entire city in a golden haze.
Nestled along the Vltava River, landing in Cesky Krumlov is a bit like waking up in a fairy tale. Our first morning I woke before the sun and climbed the hill behind our hostel to view the medieval city from afar. As I stretched my arms to take in every dewy blade and wildflower, I wanted to hold that holy moment for as long as possible. For me, removing myself from throngs of tourists, setting aside my camera, and being in nature are some of the most wonderful parts of travel.
On the coldest day of our trip we decided to paddle down the river. You know, because that's the wisest choice. The man selling us our rental assured us that we'd only get a "couple drops" of water on us when passing through the five locks. Hah. It was basically like Splash Mountain, where the person sitting in front (me) ends up drenched. To complicate matters early in our two hour journey we ended up getting stuck in shallow water. (Thankfully my brother got out and pushed us off the rocks.) Although we were both soaked from the knees down and despite our little mishap, we chalked it up to good memories and still loved soaking in the autumn colors strewn on both sides of the river.
While it's easy to account for sights we saw and meals we ate, for me, the most important moments of this trip were the conversations I had with my brother. Getting to know him better and feeling closer to him because of our time together. In the end, that's what I cherish most about this trip. Although I don't live near my family it was a reminded of how grateful I am for them. These choice individuals that share their stories with me and allow me to create new stories with them.
All images by me.