Roadtrip: The impossible charm of a small Czech town

One particularly rainy evening in October last year brought me to Starý Plzenec, a small town in west Bohemia. Little over an hour from Prague, it is decisively off the beaten path, and requires a detour from the highway (and detour around its much bigger neighbor Pilsen). Another words, perfect. My brother and I were taking a road trip through Czech Republic on the way to Germany. Small town vibes and old world charm were definitely high on the agenda, as we left rainy and moody Žižkov district of Prague (my enthusiastic “new favorite!”, just brought a confidently restrained “I knew it” smile on my brother’s face). After all, he has been staying there every time he had visited Prague, for several years now. Leaving Žižkov, we were already properly conditioned, if not under the spell, of all the literary and historic references we were trading all day long since we left Kraków.

That evening, we arrived at our guesthouse, complete with a tavern of course, and a bartender genuinely concerned if a small beer was enough for the evening. It was, as we were starting early the next day, but the place was a delight in watching local folks, who gravitated to the place for an evening chat while walking a dog, or a beer and a round of cards game after a day’s work. And then a thick, dark blue and moonless night descended on the little valley and a total silence settled onto this small community.

The next morning was time for a spontaneous adventure!

At this point of the story, a bragging moment! I was recently awarded grand prix for the photo below and its accompanying words in a contest organized by Passion Passport and the sponsor, HotelTonight. The theme was ‘spontaneity’.

“I took this photo at 8 in the morning, in a small town of Stary Plzenec in Czech Republic, where we stayed overnight. All packed, ready for the 2 hours drive to Nuremberg, we walk outside, and suddenly are awaken by frigid morning. The air is practically sparkling, as we survey the surrounding hills and lock our eyes on a medieval looking rotunda above town. Quick time check, ‘we got this!’ and we race up the hill in a muddy path, business attire and all, me out of breath with the ‘big” camera backpack, and laughing, and promising ourselves that we will return here with our families to soak up this view again. And hike to the castle we just spotted on another hill. I was never more happy to be cleaning mud off my shoes, as I was that morning.”

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