As regular readers of this blog know, I have a soft spot for off-the-beaten-track destinations.
Yes, I love Paris and Venice and London, but I also like to explore the lesser-known out-of-the-wsy places that many travelers never reach.
Once years ago, I set off by train from Paris to visit Mont-Saint-Michel, a medieval abbey off the coast of Normandy that I had read about in college in the Henry Adams’ book, Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres.
The trip took two full days because the train connections were awful, but I made it, and didn’t regret it. It’s a dramatically situated Gothic masterpiece, rising atop a rocky island with a maze of narrow streets surrounding it.
Traditionally, Mont-Saint-Michel has only been reachable by land when the tides are out, via squishy mud flats. When the tides come in,… Continue reading
Somehow the Czech Republic had eluded me in my travels until two weeks ago, when I was invited as a guest on an Insight Vacations tour that spent two days in Prague and one day in Cesky Krumlov, a medieval town in the southern part of the country.
If you’ve been following my previous posts, you’ll know that we toured the main attractions as well as some of the more historic beer halls and restaurants in Prague, and spent a day with overnight in Cesky Krumlov, a well-preserved “fairytale town” that “went to sleep,” as our excellent guide put it, for 300 years following Europe’s destructive Thirty Years War in the early 17th century.
Here are ten things I didn’t know about the Czech Republic before I arrived (with thanks to our Insight Vacations tour director,… Continue reading
Cesky Krumlov, a three-and-a-half-hour bus ride through country roads south of Prague in the Czech Republic, has often been described as a “fairytale” town, and it fits the description well.
As our Insight Vacations tour director, Neira Milkovic, explained en route, the town was cut off from trade routes by Europe’s destructive 30 Years War in the 17th century and “went to sleep” for about 300 years after that.
It’s now awakened as a tourist magnet, for good reason. If you want to see what European towns looked like hundreds of years ago, Cesky Krumlov — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is a great place to do it.
It comes complete with a hilltop castle, winding cobblestone streets, a scenic river cutting an S shape through town, a central square, and — in a nod to modernity — plenty… Continue reading