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Saturday 3 March 2012

Český Krumlov: Hotel Garni Myší Díra

I usually book my accommodation for my holidays through It was no exception for my trip to Czech Republic. Hotel Garni Myší Díra seemed decent through the website, so I closed the deal online.

The hotel is just situated at the edge of the busy small town, which is away from the hustle and bustle of the touristy main square. It is also very easy to get to the main town square from here, which is only less than a 5-minute walk.

When I entered the room, I found neither air conditioner nor ceiling fan. I enquired the hotel receptionist about it and they told me this historic building from the 18th century needs non of those. It's cool in summer and warm in winter. I returned to my room, still unconvinced. After my two-night stay there, I was convinced. It was really cooling although it was already the beginning of summer in early June.

Each of the hotel room has a balcony overlooking the Vltava River, making it a great place for a laid-back vacation. When I needed a rest from the walk around town, I sat here to recharge.

The balcony of my room offered this spectacular view of the quieter part of Český Krumlov. I could sit here biting on my biscuits while sipping on my coffee. I could also enjoy the free wi-fi provided by the hotel here.

Buffet breakfast is complimentary with every booking. There are a variety of bread to choose from, which a few types of cheese and fruit jam. I like the Czech baguettes as the crust is very crunchy. Muesli with dried fruit is also a standard item for me for breakfast.

Wednesday 29 February 2012

From Praha to Český Krumlov

During my first trip to Czech Republic in year 2004, I missed out Cesky Krumlov as I didn't put it in my travelling plan. During my trip last year, I told myself I shouldn't miss this miniature Prague anymore as it is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites.

One of the easiest way to get there from Prague is by the Student Agency excursion buses. Do not be intrigued by the agency name. It accepts passengers of all ages. I did my online purchase of the bus tickets and it was really convenient. A return trip cost me €15.60 then.

There are several bus terminals around Prague. The Student Agency buses leaving Prague for Cesky Krumlov depart from Na Knížecí which is near the Anděl Metro Station.

With the printed ticket from my online purchase containing the seat number, I boarded the bus and all set for the journey; with my headphones on.

During the journey, there will be screening of movies on the top-mounted LCD screens. I wasn't interested in the movie shown on that day and kept my own headphones on. If you are interested in the movie show, complimentary headphones are available.

There are complimentary drinks provided on board, but there is no food served. You may bring food on board and the bus attendance will not stop you from taking your own food like some budget airlines.

The rest of the journey was just sight-seeing through the glass panels. The scenery is typical country side of any European cities.

Three hours later, the bus arrived at the Cesky Krumlov bus terminal. There are two bus stations in Cesky Krumlov: Český Krumlov Špičák, north of the castle; and Český Krumlov AN, which is the main bus terminal. Remember to check the nearest bus station to your hotel upon arriving Cesky Krumlov.

Sunday 26 February 2012

Public Transport in Prague

Prague has one of the most efficient and cleanest public transport systems in European cities, surpassing those I have experienced in London, Paris or Rome. Even though some of the tram cars are old, they are very well maintained and still running around the cities like vintage vehicles; adding historical values to this already very beautiful city.

Taking trams and transferring between Metro trains are very convenient. One ticket serves all kinds of public transport as long as the duration for the type of ticket purchased is not exceeded.

In Prague, trans are never out of sight on the streets. This means that they are very frequent, taking passengers from one point to another seamlessly.

Sometimes, one may just pass through a small lane where you have never expected it. I mostly took the trams in Prague to travel short distances as the stations are nearer to the places I wanted to visit.

For longer distance travel around the city, I prefer to go underground. Whenever I told my friends that public transport in Prague is very clean, they will raise their eyebrows in disbelief. Well, can you see a tiny bit of rubbish on the platform of this Metro station?

The cleanliness of the Metro stations may rival those in Singapore which are always of the highest rank. Even the tunnel walls are well finished with nice architectural or art features.

The Metro trains are frequent and well on schedule. If one is too crowded, you can always wait for the next one which is only minutes away.

The cleanliness of the Metro train cars is also top notch, granting the passengers very comfortable ride. I think most of the western European cities have something to learn from this humble eastern European city in this respect.

I like to take public transport in the cities that I visit. It is not only cheap but I get to see the local life as well. The cleanliness and comfort in Prague's public transport made my days.

There are many types of tickets available. The cheapest being the 18-CZK ticket which entitles 20-minute ride on trams or 30-minute ride on Metro trains with 5 transfers. The 100-CZK ticket entitles 24-hour validity on any public transport after validation on the little yellow machine. There is another type of ticket which has 72-hour validity at a cost 330 CZK for one adult and one child. The most expensive being the 120-hour ticket at 500 CZK, also valid for an adult with a child.

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