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  • Writer's pictureSElliott

Day 10 - Castles, Bears and Crepes

Updated: Dec 25, 2022

We woke this morning to misty views over the Danube at Linz. Linz is the third largest city in Austria and is home to the steelmakers Voestalpine. It is said that every third car in Europe will have something in it that originates from the steelworks in Linz, which is the biggest steelworks in Europe. Unfortunately we won’t have time to go visit, they do tours – I checked! Instead we are scheduled to visit the town of Český Kremlov in the Czech Republic.


Situated on the banks of the Vltava river, Český Kremlov is an outstanding example of a small central European medieval town whose architectural heritage has remained intact. When we arrived at the town we started our tour at the castle. The castle was built around the 13th century, by a local branch of the noble Vitkovci. They became extinct in 1302 and King Wenceslaus II ceded it to the Rosenberg family. Peter I of Rosenberg, the Lord Chamberlain of King John of Bohemia, had the present upper castle erected in the early 14th century. In the late 15th century the castle was rebuilt in the Renaissance style. By the 17th Century the Rosenbergs had died out and the castle, and dominion of Krumau, passed, first to the Eggenbergs, who were responsible for the Baroque renovations and expansions, before passing to the Schwarzenbergs. In 1950 the castle became the property of the Czechoslovak State and the entire area was declared a national monument in the late 20th century.

Pictures 1, 2 and 3 - Český Kremlov

A relatively unique feature of the castle is that is surrounded by a moat filled, not with water, but with bears! This was an attempt by one of the erstwhile rulers of the castle to associate themselves with the powerful Orsini family – whose name is a pun on the Italian word for bear; “Orso”. Currently there are three bears in the moat, one “old lady” and two “young ‘uns” who were rescued from being illegally exported. We only saw one dozy bear however - she yawned at me…..

Picture 4 - Snoozing Bear...

From the castle, we walked down through the town to the Námĕstí Svornosti. The town contains a wonderful mix of Gothic Renaissance and Baroque architecture. There were some lovely views across the Vltava to the castle from a small garden by the Regional Museum. This museum is also the home to a ceramic model of the town on a 1:200 scale. We didn’t go into the museum to see it but the pictures look impressive. Once we had wandered around the town we returned to the castle via the shortcut – stairs!

Picture 5 and 6 - View of Castle

Picture 7, 8, 9 and 10 - Český Kremlov

At the bottom of the stairs is a creperie where we got a crepe – a strûdl palačinka – this was about a foot long and fat! Mum and I walked up to the castle and enjoyed the crepe there, with cream on the side! It was really yummy, I would definitely get it again…though maybe not today!

Picture 11 - Strûdl Palačinka

When we finished the pancake, we went back up to the castle to see the cost of entrance to the castle museum and tower. On the way we were distracted – a second bear was coming out to play!!

Pictures 12, 13 and 14 - Český Kremlov Bears

By the time we tired of the bears, it was really too late to have a proper visit of the castle museum and tower so we spent some time in the souvenir shop. In the room next to the shop was a model of the original castle – it looked very different when it was first built!

We left Český Kremlov in the early afternoon and returned to the ship docked at Linz.

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