The blogger has landed…how to get here

As promised…a blog on how not to get lost getting here…in real time.

So after a rousing series of flights and 30+ hours of no sleep, I, along with several others from the workshop have finally planted ourselves in Cesky Krumlov. It’s always an adventure getting here, not particularly because it’s so ‘hard’ but rather there are so many ‘pieces’ that have to go together to get here economically.

So here’s the run down…

  • If you need a SIM card, like I did…there is a vodaphone in the airport after you come out of baggage claim.

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Vodaphone has SIMs and phones if you need to have connectivity while in the Czech Republic, they are probably going to be on the pricier side but the convenience might be worth it. I will be in the Czech Republic for just over 3 weeks so it was worth it to me to get a SIM, 1 hr local calling (because I inevitably get lost in the simplest of situations), 2 hrs USA calling (because I have a husband I like to talk to and a mother who worries) + 1 GB data (because, well…text, email, twitter, facebook, blog, picture sharing…) good through my entire trip…$120 USD. To pricey for you? Well if you forgo international calling or the data portion it’ll be cheaper. They are super nice and speak very good English so don’t be shy walk on up and get yourself connected. You can always start low and buy refill minutes in Prague or Cesky Krumlov at any tobacco shop or most grocers. Make sure your phone is unlocked and uses the same frequencies as is used in the Czech Republic.

  • If you arrive in Prague and land in Terminal 2, you will go to baggage claim then walk outside that baggage claim. You’ll see a long bridge above you perpendicular to the building…follow the cross walks out to the bridge and you’ll see signs for bus, keep walking along that bridge until you see:
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They have a nice bright yellow sticker this year!
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Here’s the schedule up close, you’ll notice student agency busses come every 1/2 hour, I tried getting on an earlier bus this year but they were all packed so I had to wait for my allotted time. So if you get in early, best to have a coffee and wait I think this year.
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Still concerned about where you are at? The Courtyard Marriot should be right in front of you just off to the right.
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And the airport Terminal 1 should be behind you.
  • If you arrive in Prague and land in Terminal 1, grab your bags then head out of the terminal and cross the parking lot to the bridge toward the Courtyard Marriot, pictured above. Look for signs above.
  • Once you catch the Student Agency Bus…here it is incase you miss it…which you can’t because they are big and yellow and drive by every half hour…
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They were sticklers this year about sticking to your time slot so I couldn’t weasel myself onto an earlier bus. They have storage on bottom for luggage, seat space is a small area, if you have two ‘carry on’ size bags might consider putting one below with your luggage to have more space if you need it.
  • If you are inpatient and get in super early and don’t want to wait or would rather wait at a bar…catch any of the local buses to Florenc (pronounced like ‘florence’), just ask the bus driver if that’s where they are headed, fee is nominal. It’ll be an adventure but why not, you have the time :). If you are nervous then by all means wait for your student agency time slot like I did.
  • After catching the student agency bus, it will drop you in Florenc, you cannot miss it, you’ll pass through a blue gate and there will be a big green sign saying Florenc. The bus may make some stops prior, don’t get off til you are at the bus depot in Florenc…should I say that again? Florenc :). Alternatively, last year for some odd reason they shuttled me off at Dejvicka which isn’t the end of the world…basically you just need to end up at a metro. This year Daniel and I ended up on the same bus to Florenc, they have a tourist office there where you can ask directions to the metro, their English is also very good so don’t be shy…make friends! And don’t get lost.
  • Florenc is on the red/yellow line…you want the yellow line to Andel. “Andel?” you say? But my student agency bus ticket says Pra Knizeci…well indeed it does. What Student agency doesn’t tell you is the bus depot where you will catch your bus to Cesky Krumlov is at Andel according to the metro map.
Andel is on yellow, Florenc is yellow/red and if you get booted early like I did last year, Dejvicka is at the end of green.
Andel is on yellow, Florenc is yellow/red and if you get booted early like I did last year, Dejvicka is at the end of green.
  • Once you get to Andel and get off the metro take a right (I believe) this will take out the right exit…do not go out the Andel exit you’ll be in the wrong spot. You’ll see signs saying Bus and if you look up at the curve of the ceiling (yes I just said ‘curve of the ceiling’ you’ll see a sign that has arrows pointing you specifically to Bus Terminal/Pra Knizeci.

Notes about the metro:

1. Elevators are hard to find or non-existent plan on muscling your suitcase like I did or use a big backpack or just pack light. You’ll be doing a lot of stairs going down, thankfully there are escalators going up. In Cesky Krumlov there are cobblestones and a lot of stairs going up in the guesthouses so keep that in  mind when packing. I didn’t and I paid the price of hefting my suitcase. While I do feel quite accomplished and strong now…in retrospect, lighter packing might have been the wiser option.

2. If you are in Florenc or Dejvicka your fare will be about 24 Kr, have small change available go to the man/lady at the window and say “Andel” plunk down 24 Kr (coins preferably) and she’ll/he’ll hand you a ticket. Be sure to validate your ticket at the yellow stands before walking through, there will be a green arrow in the yellow box showing you where to stick your ticket.

3. The electronic signs in the metro carriages are not always correct in what station they say you are going to or are currently at, always check out the window. If you are going from Florenc it’s 4 stops. If you are going from Dejvicka you have to change at Mustek to the yellow line then it’s 3 stops.

4. In Florenc, go down the stairs you’ll hit the red platform first, don’t panic — the yellow line is down another floor just walk along the platform until you find an escalator or stairs down, then follow the yellow signs. To get to Andel you want to get on the yellow line heading to Zlicin.

Once you get to the bus terminal you are looking for Platform 1 which will be on one of the outermost curbs…look for this:
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Notes on the Student Agency bus:

1. The one we were on had personal video devices for entertainment, I passed out thus didn’t use it.

2. I found out, too late the bus actually does have chargers but you will need an adapter as it’s the two circular prongs not flat prongs.

3. They have wifi I think…again I didn’t check this explicity but I saw a signal on my phone before it died from lack of battery.

4. The bus is typically pretty warm so if you have a lot of layers on, you’ll sweat.

5. Legroom is acceptable I think…but I’m 5’4 (1.62 meters), but my husband is 6’5 (1.96 m) and I don’t think his knees would knock the seat in front of him; I think. While this may not be an issue for the short ride to the metro from the airport, it might be for the 3 hrs to Cesky Krumlov.

6. The bus will make 3 deliberate stops, one outside of Cesky Krumlov (don’t get off) and two within Cesky Krumlov…get off at the LAST stop. It’ll be a parking lot/bus terminal looking spot with a view of the castle.

Once in Cesky Krumlov…you’ll have to kind of know where you are going in terms of your guesthouse but to get to that area head across the parking lot, bus terminal toward the castle, you’ll see a hill sloping up to the left…take it. It’ll then head down…head down with it.

Pension Gardena is on the left as you go down the hill (this is where I stayed last year).

For everyone staying near the Plaza…head across the street and follow the cobblestone road all the way down until you come to a square plaza (very distinct)…Hotel Zlaty Andel is on the left side of the square, Penzion Mastal is in the right lower corner and so forth…

And tada! You are here! Reward yourself for a trip well executed with a Budvar dark or light, then I’m sure you’ll want to promptly pass out…in fact that is what I am going to do right now, zzz…zzz…zzz…

Cheers and Safe Travels Everyone!

…Dr. Mel

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