We wake up go to breakfast and are still considering our day’s options over coffee. Finally, we decide on a trip to Karlstejn Castle, only a 40 minute train ride from Prague. It will allow us to see a bit of countryside and a cool old castle. Other day trips seem much farther away and as it’s already getting late, we opt for the closest choice.
Unfortunately, once we finally decide, we have to rush to the train station because the 1once per hour train is leaving in 30 minutes. The station is only a 10 minute walk from the hotel but once inside, we have a hard time figuring our where to go.
The clock is ticking and the train is leaving in less than 10 minutes. Finally, I manage to purchase two round trip tickets for 122kr.
Five minutes to go and we are wondering which track. Karlstejn is not the final destination of the train, so it’s hard to tell from the signs. Finally, I see a sign with “Karlstejn” on it and we step on board with only 3 minutes to spare.
The train is packed. We walk from car to car, trying to find two seats together. There are none. By the time we get to the last car, it is standing room only.
It’s Sunday, where is everyone going? People on the train are very friendly, want to know where we’re going, and eventually will even tell us when to get off the train. There are also electronic signs in each car which scroll the next stop and final stop.
I strike up a conversation with a woman who says she’s going "to country cottage" to go fishing. It’s an absolutely beautiful day and the scenery is really beautiful as it rolls by. Gradually we get out into the countryside and we can see these teeny-tiny cottages. Each look to be about 15 feet by 15 feet with a little plot of land and a garden. There are many riverside fishing spots along the train’s route as well. People are out and about, enjoying the first warmish Spring day of the year.
Once we arrive at the train station, it’s a 10 min walk to town, across a bridge. We just followed all the other day trippers.
Since it appears to be quite a long walk uphill to the castle, we needed fortification and stop for coffee about midway through town. Inside they have some baked goods in a case and right there on the counter, a plate of apple strudel. I order a piece (only 9kr!) because it looked fresh. Who knew it would be the best strudel in 3 countries? It’s light and flaky and fresh out of the oven. Not refrigerated and microwaved. It’s so amazing, I have to order another piece because I don’t leave enough for my mom to share. The coffee is decent too.
Later, I confirm with the woman inside that they indeed do bake it right there (you have to pass through the kitchen to get to the restrooms upstairs) and I do my best to convey to her how excellent it is. I don't know the name of the place, but it has a striped awning with "Cukrarna-Kavarna" printed on it and it's on the left as you walk up toward the castle.