Mobile phones
Getting around

Part 3: Lednice, Valtice, Mikulov, Znojmo, Vranov nad Dyjí, Telc, Jindrichuv Hradec, Ceský Krumlov

2.6: Krakow -> Stramberk -> Roznov pod Radhostem -> Olomouc
3.6: Olomouc -> Kromeríz -> Olomouc
4.6: Olomouc -> Litomysl -> Bouzov -> Olomouc
5.6: Olomouc -> Lednice -> Valtice -> Mikulov -> Dolni Dunajovice
6.6: Dolni Dunajovice -> Znojmo -> Vranov nad Dyjí castle -> Telc
7.6: Telc -> Jindrichuv Hradec -> Ceský Krumlov
8.6: Ceský Krumlov -> Holasovice -> Hluboká nad Vltavou -> Ceské Budejovice -> Ceský Krumlov
9.6: Ceský Krumlov -> Munich

5.6: Olomouc -> Lednice -> Valtice -> Mikulov -> Dolni Dunajovice
Penzion Slunecnice, Dolni Dunajovice (near Mikulov). 52 Euro + 12 Euro for the breakfast for a sort of mini-apartment consisting of two small bedrooms and a toilet with shower. Clean and modern rooms with furniture, cupboards, table+mirror, clothes hangers. No phone, TV, fridge inside the room. No A/C. Room is suitable for a family with two children. The room is on the first floor of a big house. In the ground floor there is a common room with a TV and a big kitchen which pension customers can use (self-caterers). Good WLAN in all rooms in the pension, included in the price. The pension has its own parking and a small swimming pool. It is located on the outskirts of Dolni Dunajovice, a small village, more or less in the middle of nowhere. However in Dolni Dunajovice there are lots of other pensions which makes me assume that there must be tourists coming to this place in the summer. There is no pension staff present at the pension. When we arrive we have to call the contact number on the reservation and ask the pension owner/manager to come over.
Weather: bad weather today. Overcast the whole day, cold, intermittent rain. The sky opens up a bit between 12:30pm and 2pm in Lednice. Quite cold and windy.

We leave the hotel in Olomouc at 10:45am and head towards Lednice. We drive almost entirely on motorways with little traffic. Between Brno and Lednice the motorway is in a very poor state. Very unsmooth surface, making it a torture to drive on it. To make matters worse, there is a strong wind which keeps pushing the car laterally.

We arrive in Lednice at 12:10pm and park the car near the castle. Lednice is a small cute village, which probably lives off the tourists who come to visit the castle. After a brief snack in a cafe near the castle, we walk to the castle.

The castle in Lednice is stunningly beautiful. It seems to combine various architectural styles such as Gothic and renessaince architecture and is surrounded by an equally beautiful park with flower beds and well kept lawns. Adjacent to the castle there is a greenhouse with palm trees and tropical plants (entry ticket: adults 60 crowns, children above 6 yrs pay 40 crowns). Lots of tourists (many elder ones) visit the castle.

While we visit the castle we are lucky because it stops raining and the sun comes out. But even on a day with bad weather this castle still looks gorgeous.

After the castle visit we have a lunch in the pizzeria restaurant near the castle between 2 and 3pm. The food is good, but a bit salty.

At 3pm we drive to Valtice, which lies just 8km from Lednice. The land here is cultivated with orchards and vineyards. In fact this is a wine growing region, with lots of places where you can taste locally produced wine. Cute landscape where to settle down and relax for a few days or a week.

The castle in Valtice is a disappointment if compared to the one in Lednice. An austere building with few decorations and unimpressive architecture with an adjacent park which is equally boring. In the meantime the sky is overcast again and the temperatures have fallen.

I spend less than half an hour exploring the castle, then get back to the car where Shirley and the kids have been waiting for me (they refused to get out because it is cold).

At 3:45pm, since we have finished the program for today, we decide to drive to the hotel. The road passes through Mikulov and since this city looks sort of interesting we make a brief stop at 4:20pm.

Mikulov has a few interesting buildings (a castle, some churches, a synagogue) which would justify a stop of a couple of hours. However, since the weather is bad. we only spend about 20 minutes having a look at this place, then have a cake break in a cafe.

After 5pm we drive to the pension in Dolni Dunajovice. Small village in the middle of nowhere which looks dull & dead with the bad weather, but I guess if the weather is good and the sun is shining, the place should be quite different.

In the evening we don't do much. We just drive to Mikulov for some shopping in the Tesco store, then return to the pension for dinner.

6.6: Dolni Dunajovice -> Znojmo -> Vranov nad Dyjí castle -> Telč
Hotel Anton, Telc. 83 Euro for a room, actually sort of a small apartment with two bedrooms with two beds each. Toilet with shower. Modern and clean place 500m from the central square of Telc. Breakfast included. No fridge, phone or A/C in the room. No WLAN in the room, (probably) only in the reception area. Hotel is quiet.
Weather: a mixed bag again. Early morning sunny blue sky, then thin clouds layer, overcast at noon, blue sky again in Telc, then overcast again after 5pm and rain in the evening. Less cold than yesterday, temperatures probably around 15-19°C.

When checking out, when I offer to pay the hotel bill in Czech koruny the lady says she wants Euro. Go figure.

We leave the hotel around 10:40am and drive to Znojmo (57km), arriving at 11:33am after driving over many rural roads. Sometimes I wonder why the Navigon navigation software chooses certain roads. At one point for instance, Navigon tells us to turn left, when left there is just a mud track across the fields marked as a closed road. And yesterday Navigon sent us through another mud road near Valtice when a good road would have been available.

Znojmo is only moderately interesting. There are two squares which are supposed to be the highlight of the town, one of the long-triangular-with-facades type and another more square one. The remaining sights are quite unimpressive (a couple of churches, apparently also a castle). I had bought a three hours parking ticket, thinking I would stay until 2:30pm. In practice we leave shortly after 1pm.

While in Znojmo I try to get rid of the remaining Polish zloty (110 zloty) at a money changer. The money changer refuses to change Polish zloty into Czech crowns. Very strange. I also check in a couple of banks and they offer no money changing services.

At 1:15pm we leave Znojmo and drive to the Vranov nad Dyjí castle, arriving there at 1:45pm (just about 25km by car).

The Vranov nad Dyjí castle lies on a rocky outpost overlooking the Vranov nad Dyjí city which lies along a small river. Very scenic setting of the city and the castle. Also nice forest where to hike. Vranov nad Dyjí invites one to relax in the surroundings.

There is no parking next to the castle, you have to leave the car at a parking just outside Vranov nad Dyjí and walk up the last 700 metres. Nice walk cross the forest on a good trail. At a closer view the castle turns out to be relatively unspectacular, and we do not bother visiting the interior.

Shortly after 3pm we start driving to Telc, where we will spend the night. Getting there from Vranov nad Dyjí takes about one hour by car, mostly through rural roads. Telc is a city whose historic centre has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site and it is not difficult to imagine why.

There is again the long-triangular-with-facades type of square, but this one is nicer than the other similar Czech squares we have seen so far. The house facades are more picturesque and better preserved than in the other cities. At each end of the square there is a church. Shops and restaurants face the square.

After checking in the hotel we spend some time in the hotel. Only after 5pm I walk to the square. The sky is still blue and the sun is shining, but right when I arrive to the square the sky gets overcast and stays so until the evening, when it even starts raining. I should have gone to the square immediately after we arrived in Telc, instead of wasting time in the hotel. Actually I had been hoping for some better evening light, but it appears now that this light is now not going to come.

After 6pm Shirley joins me with the kids on the square. We shop a bit around, then have a dinner in the Italian restaurant in the middle of the square. Good pizza, original Italian. Late in the evening I'm again on the square for some blue hour photos.

7.6: Telč -> Jindřichův Hradec -> Český Krumlov
Pension Antik, Český Krumlov. 68 Euro for a small apartment with two bedrooms and a bathroom with shower/bathtub located in the historic core of Český Krumlov. The place has a fridge, water boiler, but no TV or A/C. WLAN is available in the rooms but the connection is often very slow and my smartphone can't manage to use the WLAN (probably too low signal strength). Breakfast not included.
Weather: sunny blue sky with clouds until about 5pm, when the sky gets overcast. Very light rain in the evening in Český Krumlov, then the sky opens up again. Warmer than yesterday, temperatures well above 20°C.

In the morning before breakfast I'm back in the main square in Telč for some photography. After breakfast we check out and drive again to the main square in Telč (in the early morning one side of houses was not illuminated by the sun). Until 11:45am we are in this beautiful square, taking photos and enjoying the atmosphere. Then we drive to Jindřichův Hradec.

The countryside between Telc and Jindřichův Hradec is absolutely gorgeous. Lakes, lakes everywhere and beautiful forests in between. This area is well suitable for trekking, especially with children.

At 12:40pm we are in Jindřichův Hradec and end up in the historic square with the Mary column. Absolutely beautiful square with the decorative house facades facing each other and a Mary column in the middle.

Adjacent to this square is a pedestrian area full of shops and activity. Nearby is the castle, surrounded by a pond. Very scenic and photogenic setup. Guided visits to the interiors of the castle are available, but we skip those and instead have a lunch.

At 2:25pm we start driving to Český Krumlov, arriving there at 4pm. The roads are all rural roads allowing speeds between 60-90km between cities.

We meet the guy who runs Pension Antik. Actually he is not there and we give him a call and ask him to come. We unload the car and park it in a parking near the old city (P3, 280 crowns for 48 hours). Then we start out sightseeing of Český Krumlov.

The historic core of Český Krumlov is a sort of beautiful-cute-touristy type of medieval town surrounded by a river. Tons, really tons of hotels, pensions, cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops everywhere. Lots of tourists, many Asian ones, especially Chinese. Český Krumlov seems to be a must-see stop for the average Asian tourist.

We walk up to the castle. Beautiful castle on a rocky hill overlooking the old city. Nicely decorated and relatively big (or let's say bigger than the castles we have seen so far in the Czech republic). Nice wall decorations. The entrance is free as long as you don't visit the interior rooms.

At 6:20pm we head back to the pension and rest for a while. In the evening we walk again into town for some dinner.

Copyright 2012 Alfred Molon