Cesky Krumlov #2- A side trip travel in a low season #2

quite street with cobble road in the morning

quite street with cobble road in the morning

The next morning I went out as my usual morning shooting hour around 7, air is a bit foggy but the diffuse light makes it a perfect setting for poetic photo shooting. Usually, we meandering a bit just to grab the sense of the town. After couple sip of fresh air to wake me up, I start to sink in and taking some experimental photos. Such as like following the kid in town to their school to pretend that you are a local, this takes me to the area beyond a normal tourist can reach. It's both fun and a self-fulfillment as an adventurous traveler. 

The castle is located on a hill of the outer bank of the river. Through a series of steps and arcade like sloped street  right underneath the castle, you can get to the tip of the region and overlook the town. The curved river channel dramatically represented as a golden belt as the autumn sun rendered it in low angle.  The enhanced experience at this point is magical, the charmed town with exquisite detail but also complement with a grand gesture that ties everything  together seamlessly. 

Town view from the castle

Town view from the castle

River Babk Chateau, Sankt Jobst, Chateau Cesky Krumlove and Vltava River

River Babk Chateau, Sankt Jobst, Chateau Cesky Krumlove and Vltava River

at the underside of towerbridge

at the underside of towerbridge

Coming down the hill, low angle sun in late fall makes architecture vivid and sharp for photo taking. It's 10am now, time for tourist flocked into this charmed town, and it's also our breakfast break. 

The towns housing arranged in 2/3 of the concentric circle. Rubbing off the church in the center hill. A 30 minutes slow stroll can pretty much go through the whole town. Walking over cobble road like a filming scene; Local stores feels like the boutique shop. We enjoyed the special moment of this medieval town demonstrate its charm and brought us back into his glory past. 

the red-orange roof tile is overly saturated under the autumn sun.

the red-orange roof tile is overly saturated under the autumn sun.


Cesky Krumlov#1 - A side trip travel in a low season

Listed as one of the most charming town in east Europe and one of the UNESCO site. Our experience with this little town is romantic yet a bit nostalgic.

The setting of the town is interesting, a river - the Vltava make a dramatic twist which forms two peninsulae, each situated with a dominant building in town- the church and the castle. 

We took an evening bus from Prague and arrived late. It was a time accessing data service isn't cheap, so dropping us off of a highway at 9pm without google map and two oversize suitcase does make you feel a bit adventurous and nervous. 

Judging from ambient lighting source and a diagrammatic map at the bus station- I figured the entrance to the town is probably right across the highway. However, this is not the tourist town I pictured in mind, and we did not encounter any single person before arriving the hotel. And here comes the 2nd problem, the b&b we reserved --- it was closed. 

The area is only lighted with fainting yellowish street light. Pretty much all the hostel in the area had shut their door at this point, with just a bit of faith left, we rang the door bell twice. After a long pause, a woman came out, who later prove to be the mother of our host, greeted us with hand gesture accompany her soft voice(she didn't speak English) and eventually get us to the room. After discussed our breakfast hour and other house policy stuff, she left us alone.

Now, dinner time - our night eventually turn totally amazing 30 min later, but we were simply hoping able to get bar food at that moment. 

We take a quick stroll around the town, did encounter some tourist snapping night shot and one pub with a bar inside (perhaps that's our best shot, I was thinking) --- finally we stopped foot in front of a restaurant we had researched, a tavern, and it was open. At the moment, we step in the restaurant, something magical happened --- there is an open grille right at the reception area fill the place with wood flavored warm air, the atmosphere is cozy and relaxing. We observed a bit and found ourselves a lovely setup in the lower section. With a starving stomach and an open mind, we ordered quite a solid feast for ourselves --- more than enough we end of finishing everything off the doggy bag in the next couple days, well -- that's another long story to crave in if you like.

We took a stroll after the dinner, the night light highlighted areas around the castle. Standing at the foot of castle hill, you can observe the textural graphic and admire details of the illustrious result under the reign of Rosenburg family. Unfortunately, we did not encounter the white lady as the local tale, which I'm pretty sure she can provide stories in great details. 

Prague#5 - Castle above the wind

The ride - best in action!!

The ride - best in action!!

Prague castle is located above the plain overlooking the old town, you can access it through bus but we prefer a pilgrim route with our favorite transportation - funicular. This gets us to a vast public part even slightly above the castle, and you got a panorama view of the city -- the true city of hundred-spired reveals at this point. 

Inside the park, a petite Eiffel Tower is standing - a more or less tell commute tower? Across the park, You start descending toward the castle - The meandering network path surrounding the castle add extra interest when the vanishing point constant shift in perspective. The castle complex consists  multiple buildings, it's vast and rich, to avoid digging into the history too much; let me use following photo exchanges for text. 

the prague castle - soaked with tone of fall

the prague castle - soaked with tone of fall

Prague#4 - Eastern Europe Trip - Charles Bridge and John Lennon Wall

Charles bridge and John Lennon wall.

Charles Bridge in late fall

Charles Bridge in late fall

Give you Hi Five

Give you Hi Five

Knowing the name only by its ancient old history and the epic flood in 2002, Charles bridge gave me the charm I didn't expect. First, is those detail sculpture along the bridges; 2nd - the block stone paver with romantic medieval towers on either side of the bridge; 3rd - the late fall fog adding mysterious for one's own imagination. Throughout the time of our stay, we crossed the bridge two times; I enjoyed the solitude moment in the early morning of my second visit, vaguely seeing the tram crossing over the other bridge in a damped foggy weather, noticing the sound and brisk air, reconstructing the scene by yesterday's memory.

Across the bridge is neighborhood Lesser Quater where the John Lennon wall located, the neighborhood has a charming character with a canal running through. In front of the wall; of course, the tourist act - snapping couple shot before then off for breakfast! 

John Lennon Wall

John Lennon Wall

Prague#3 - Love tale at castle steps

How far and how long can one's consciousness re-connect through time? Your secret whispering to the songster frozen in air chanting from your heart on each long and lonely walk. But it had perished and vanished, evaporated and forgotten, ignored by generations until love and forgiveness found its way back.


Taking a stroll through the old castle walk you will encounter the "The Songster" sculpture which memorializes the Czech patriotic song writer, Karel Hašler. I became aware of his story long after my trip, and editing deeper into these photographs stirred my initial peaceful mind into philosophical thought. A question of how chaotic moments in history could ever be initiated is hard to imagine in this current world. I wonder - if love is that deeply rooted in our collective unconsciousness can it prevent history from repeating itself?

Prague#2 - Eastern Europe Trip - Municipal House and Old Town Plaza

Municipal House is at our hotel proximity so we dived right in after dropping the luggage. This is a cloudy drizzling day, fit perfectly to visit any interior space; a small tip - my rule of thumb is always flexible on the sequencing of your list of attractions so they can be rearranged based on your real-time situation. The city hall featured Mucha's art nouveau mural throughout, looking at them as mural stirs a very different feeling from the 2d graphic. It's very engaging, the expression coming out of the body language and the starring eye of the illustration speaks to me directly, intimate and forced.

Entrance of municipal hall

Entrance of municipal hall


Within 5 minutes walk is the old town plaza, which includes the astronomy clock, old town hall and couple historic building, passing through the square, we stopped by the oldest Jewish joint -

Josefov, or the Jewish quarter; an area in between the old town and Vltava river, understand as an old neighborhood surrounded by a wall - ghetto, which the Jews were limited to live in this area. However, you won't feel the narrow street these days as all of the building but couple historic building were torn down in early 20 century to clear out the slum. We wondered around it and tried to avoid the crowd which take us to the riverfront, overlooking the castle up above the hill.

The sun sets early in the fall, the overcast cloud restored every pigment to its natural state; layered red tile, chrome leaves and blue river in order and ready for the night.

Prague Castle From River Vltava 

Prague Castle From River Vltava 

Prague#1 - Eastern Europe Trip - Exertion

In 2011, I was planning a 10 days trip to visit Eastern/ middle Europe. This all initiated by two little instances in my daily life, a recommendation from a colleague to check out a UNESCO town in Czech and a growing popular scene set ink-pop drama. 'Český Krumlov' and 'Hallstatt'. The rest of the trip kind of built around figuring how and where to go around these two charming towns, it's also adding additional challenge if you don't want to do the round trip flight (because I really hate losing a day just to catch the return flight) with a tight budget. After evaluating couple scenarios, we set the itinerary. Our first stop? The city of hundred spires - Prague.

Prague Castle from across Vltava River

Prague Castle from across Vltava River


To be fair, Prague isn't some place you visit just to kill the time in between, and I don't mean to make it sounds not important. This is a charming city has a lot to explore - part of mid-century super power Habsburg family, King of Bohemian- the reign of the region and left a legacy of oldest castle complex of the world. Plus, one of my favorite artist - Alphonse Mucha, devoted last 20 years of his life on artwork admired by his nation. And those towers, yes, if you have endless energy don't mind climbing up and down - this can also be your parkour playground.

Mucha's Mural 

Mucha's Mural 

 We took a usual red eye flight straight to Prague from New York. From the airport, you need a train to connect the closest metro stop, which you need to time quite precisely cause the bus doesn't come that frequent. We had endless debate whether to take a bus or a taxi in exchange for time. Short answer to this, if you aren't traveling alone, any option don't initiate a fight is a good answer, you truly don't want this to spoil your mood on the first day of the journey.

Tangent of traffic

While constant inspired by the infrastructure in the city, the terminal is always an interest focus. It records, documents and carries people's activity ; illustrate a beautiful yet interesting interactive activity patterns. This photo was taken near Amsterdam train station. Where a  ferry terminal intersect a new bus terminal intersect. The curve bridge marked a poised moment of all the motion which I think complement well with this busy terminal 

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Ollanytaytombo - Alien Giant with old chief

The big giant “god” figure is the most astonishing image in the guide-book long before my trip. Quite frankly, I was sort of disappointed when I saw the real figure since I thought it can be carved out of a mountain.However, these giant steps to the Sun Temple at its top marked me an unforgettable memory. It’s 2,792 m (9,160 ft), and jumping and shouting is a sure not to do when you still not adjust well to high altitude. (However, when I had arrived Amantani of Lake Titicaca later climbing somewhat at 3800m, I feel very near to collapse) I like the view from top of mountain seeing Valley River intertwined and change its curve in front the sculpted mountain, I suppose it should be fairly dramatic when the river flooded. The so call “Inca” chief face right at the silhouette profile of mountain capture the 1st light at winter solstice at is eye, sound mysterious but poetic, isn’t it? Afterward…it’s the time for the train ride…Machu Picchu —WE ARE COMING!!!

the scale of rock Ollantaytambo_09-24-10_17

valley with agriculture Ollantaytambo_09-24-10_62

the big chief Ollantaytambo_09-24-10_76

the giant Ollantaytambo_09-24-10_77

overall view of valley Ollantaytambo_09-24-10_74

Bazaar.. I had been bugging to buy a book for 50 sole here and not be able to cut it down to 40. I gave up, but regret afterward since nowhere else again during my trip I can get this book. After all I knew, this book had been only sold in Cusco(weird). If you would buy in Amazon now, it’s 100 USD. Should got a stack when I had chance~ Ollantaytambo_09-24-10_93

before the train ride Ollantaytambo_09-24-10_174

Pisac Ruin

All I know about this place before my visit is a fact that there is a great bargain market below the mountain. However, the terrace over here is quite dramatic and apparently they are still using it as today (to see terrace on this altitude is very abnormal as well). The valley river- Urubamba is completed draught since we visit here at the end of dry season. Because of its strategic location; this is a spot known for its military / agriculture / religious. I don’t feel having much connection to this landscape and due to the sky is overcast w/ dull and flat light with the chill wind around me, I just feel simply a sorrow and memorable glory of the Inca past. Pisac_09-24-10_48




Zoo, Farm and the Factory

Or a Textile manufacturingToday we descend to Sacred Valley, it actually feel a lot better physiologically since I’ll be in lower elevation. The very first stop is a place called Awanacancha, where we see a variety of camelids (llamas, alpacas, vicunas). This is a place dedicate to traditional textile art. The part I enjoy the most is the dying process of the wool, all the dye are natural. In my photo, the red ink is actually from an egg of insect that parasite on a cactus plant.



I'm sweating already farm_09-24-10_147




Food and Night

Jack’s café right next to my lodging place is really good!! However, it’s almost like you go to a very good brunch place here in New York.As we want to try some real Peruvian food as taking advice from our afternoon tour guide. This little adventure proofed to be a huge mistake two days after. It cost me money (70 sole = 23 dollars, very expensive in Peru) and time (I eventually get sick in Cusco and can’t leave hotel for a full day)!!

I had a guinea pig for dinner …..Wrong decision…

Plaza de Armas night scene is quite pretty, and I got the chance to test my tripod. So my conclusion is - an empty restaurant get to try your tripod is never ever a good sign!!

Plaza de Armas_09-23-10_04

jacks cafe_09-23-10_15

Plaza de Armas_09-23-10_14

Plaza de Armas_09-23-10_03

Sacsayhuamán or Saksaq Waman, Sacsahuaman or Saxahuaman – you call whatever you want, just not like the way we did – Sexy Women

Sacsayhuamán or Saksaq Waman, Sacsahuaman or Saxahuaman – you call whatever you want, just not like the way we did – Sexy Women We were at 3700 masl (meter above sea level)- close to the tip of Yuhshan Mountain; this stone work complex was completed during early-Inca (Killke Period). Currently this place host festival during the winter solstice (our summer solstice in north hemisphere). The stone work with abstract figure continues throughout three terrace wall around the plaza. I was still amazed with the stone work that interlocks with keyed in only even I had seen tons of photos of it.

Unfortunately the tour guide seems lack of interest in showing us the whole site so we never get the chance to go to the upper terrace. It was said the Saksaq Waman represent the 3 winkle of the puma’s head – like the picture below. What do you say? Saksaq Waman_09-23-10_32

Can you spot a fish out of this photo? Saksaq Waman_09-23-10_01 Meet the Team!! Saksaq Waman_09-23-10_13 View Over the city Saksaq Waman_09-23-10_50

My first sight of Cusco City

Just two days before we arrive, Cusco was “hosting” a strike started from Espinar against Majes-Siguas project - (an infrastructure project that brings water from Andes Mountain to its capital Lima). Protesters are mainly farmers from Espinar far south. The train to Machu Picchu was suspended for two days and trapped a lot of tourists. With all the negative chances we might encounter, the strike eventually stopped on the day we arrived. The road represents an aftermath of such event, covered with road block and stone debris. After we enter the city, the road is paved with cobblestone – probably limestone? The road is really bumpy but somehow I’m not car sick –just yet. Most of the cars are all relative small and a lot of them are second hand Japanese car, our Minivan seems quite luxury compare to those. Not soon after arrive hotel, the high altitude sickness kick in. My head start blowing up gradually and eventually I went all collapse two day after.

I caught a shot of Llama right outside of hotel. And…it was not until later of my trip that I realized I should pay for the right to take a photo of Llama … say one sole. So…the city’s economic is heavily rely on tourist, Cusco”er” dress up their traditional clothes with Llama posing around tourist spot. You can see now the strike probably hurt us tourist, but down the line – hurt them the most. cusco_09-23-10_37 cusco_09-23-10_32

Landing in Cusco

It was Sep. 23, 2010.My first trip to South America is - Peru. I believe this is a trip fulfill my dream as an “archeologist”. Our overnight flight land around 7 AM in Lima and a transfer flight get us to Cusco. I’m getting all excited and looking forward my first engages with the Inca.

So here are some beautiful clouds.. it must be pretty windy? ….with my CPL filter. Huh? The result is Rainbowish!

arrivecusco_09-23-10_25 arrivecusco_09-23-10_49 cusco_09-23-10_46