Tag: public transportation

A Daytrip to Helfstyn Castle

Iron wrought Helfstyn sign

There are a lot of good daytrips from Olomouc: a couple of castles, the zoo, caves, and long hikes. I couldn’t not take one while I was there, so I chose the Helfštýn Castle ruins. The train stopped at Lipník nad Becvou, a very old, medieval town one tenth the size of Olomouc. You know a place is good when the first thing you see is a train station tunnel covered in painted scenes of fairy tales. There were fighting knights, princesses, celestial demons, and a puss in boots standing in the gate of a castle holding a flagon of beer.

It was a quiet and cloudy day with a bit of drizzle. I only saw a few people around. There was no man selling ice cream cones on the way into town as there had been in Karlstejn; I entered town without preamble and walked for fifteen minutes past colorful little houses and a single gas station until I reached a small, quiet town center. It was a scaled down version of Olomouc’s main square, which was a scaled down version of Prague’s main square. I felt like I was in a nesting doll of settlements. The statues here were smaller, the rows of equally quaint buildings closer together, only here they formed an L rather than an actual square. Under repainted white archways stood a vinarna (winery), whose windows blocked out light with heavy wooden doors fitted with iron.

From One End to the Other: Switzerland Part 3

Aboard the Glacier Express

The rest of my time in Switzerland was a little of everything. Cédric’s family and I drove across the country (a 3 hour drive with traffic) to their hometown of Gebenstorf near Baden in the German part. The first thing I walked into was South Park in German. It was strange to hear a dub of Cartmann.

My visit fell on the Baden festival, the biggest festival in Switzerland which happens once every five years (cinquennially?). Every five years they alternate between the small and big versions of the festival. This year it was the small one.

A Wander Through Paris

Paris is how you say... belle.
Paintings of Paris from the early 1900s depict it as a quaint but bustling city full of ornate statues and stately buildings connected by cobblestone streets utilized by horse-drawn carriages. Today “quaint” would hardly be an appropriate description. From the top of the Eiffel Tower it is an endless sprawl of white-gray triangles comprised of cloistered apartment and office buildings extending toward the horizon.

On ground level, the ornate old buildings, endless cafes, and bridge-crossed Seine decorated with gilded statues would still make it quaint, if it weren’t for the huge, busy roads and masses of Asian tourists whose numbers are second only to Prague’s masses of Asian tourists. Each with a high-end camera, they swarm through the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame every July and August day, addressing the Parisians selling tickets in broken English.