on sunday, we took an excursion for the day to the south-south-south of south-west czech republic near the border of austria to a little town called vyšši brod with the intention of hiking 10km to rožmberk nad vltavou. both of these towns are situated on the vltava river, both are meccas for rafting and canoeing enthusiasts, and both have tourist value, so it seemed like a perfect idea, especially at under an hour and a half by train from české budějovice.
we landed in vyšši brod around 9:30am and headed up to the monastery. you can visit the monastery complex and go on a tour every day except sundays, so instead we lingered around the cathedral and listened to the organ and choir music from the mass that was underway inside. i would’ve liked to try some of the local jakub beer made in the town, but alex put his foot down, saying it was too early. maybe he was right. maybe.
only a kilometer or two into our hike, we took a wrong turn at a fork, leading us more than a kilometer uphill into a pine forest. guhhh. remembered how important attention to detail can be when you’re hiking… or competing in the amazing race. not that i plan to do the latter, but there are many good lessons to be learned from that show!
i have to admit that the wrong turn did dampen our spirits a little, but running into a BISON FARM between the two towns turned the mood around. “are those bison?” nah, can’t be, this is czech republic. (upon closer inspection) “this is an american bison farm!” what are the odds! i’ve never been this close to a bison before and it was a bit fascinating to have this humongous powerful animal saunter up to me, its breaths heaving in and out. he (or she) seemed curious and gentle.
the views downhill heading into rožmberk nad vltavou were enchanting: the first thing you see is the tip of a castle! rožmberk itself is a picturesque sleepy little castle town of 300 residents set on the river– basically a smaller and harder to get to version of the more popular česky krumlov.
after a delicious lunch on the terrace at hotel růže (above), we were informed that we would need to walk ANOTHER 4km to get to the train station. GOOD LORD. four kilometers may not seem like that much but after 10+ km of hiking, it was not what we were hoping to hear. normally, i am a rockstar trip-researcher, but i think i let my guard down on this one. i was under the false impression that train stations are always right in the town. NOPE. as intrepid of travelers as we are, i thought we’d wing it in this respect, but perhaps it goes without saying that i’m going to do a bit more research even on the most harmless sounding day trips next time.
so we hoofed the last four kilometers… good thing we had velky (large) budvars at lunch! eventually, according to the tiny map i had, i knew we should be at the train station by now. we had just passed an unassuming UNMARKED path into the woods, and five minutes of walking past it later, alex said, “i can see cables through the trees!” sure enough, the train station was in there somewhere. instead of back-tracking for five minutes we CLIMBED THE HILL like crazy people to the tiny decrepit station that is rožmberk nad vltavou. it’s so remote i’d be surprised if anyone goes there at all.
found taped to the train station. it was a good time for a towel.
even seasoned travelers make mistakes, and i don’t think anyone should be too proud to admit it. the major lessons i learned that day? pay attention to trail markers and research the distance of the town to train station.
but that said, i would heartily recommend this day-trip (doable especially from česky krumlov or české budějovice, or northern austria) if you’ve got a few days in the area at any time of year… especially if you want to raft the river or have an interest in castles and monasteries. the bohemian wilderness here is enchanting.
happy travel tuesday! what was a travel mistake that you’ve made? maybe we all can learn from each others’ oopsies’.