My American friend Kevin came to visit me in my new home of Czechia and together we explored the best of it. Our first trip was to Kutna Hora and all about that incredible adventure is explained in Exploring Czechia with an American: Kutna Hora edition. The next trip leads us to the spectacular castle fairly close to Prague called Karlstejn.
Let me take you to this Karlstejn castle tour with us.
Day number 2 of our Czechia exploration was quite busy for us. Once again we started early in the morning and spend most of the day on trains or train stations. Train ticket from Prague to small-town Karlstej where the Karlstejn castle is located cost us like 40Kc. It took us around 40 minutes to get there.
We got off at a really small station with one other couple of American tourists. I was expecting very few tourists as it was a normal workday, but the total lack of people really surprised me.
Based on the research we did beforehand we knew we were supposed to turn right, left, and then right again. But that knowledge was not necessary. The whole place is very clearly marked and right from the train station you can follow a little castle sigh that’s pointing you right to the castle.
Prepare for a little hike.
Obviously, you got to walk up the hill as all of the castles had to be built up high.
Well, that’s something obvious to me since I grew up in the middle of Europe, full of castles I regularly visited since I was a kid.
It took us around 20 minutes to get to the castle from the train station. The whole road there was surrounded by tons of cute small cottages selling souvenirs or food stands. Much more souvenir shops than an actual tourist.
The sight was like no other.
You could see the Karlstejn castle right above you. It was early October and autumn was just starting and beautiful bohemian nature was radiating vivid colors. At that moment I honestly appreciated we were all alone.
When we got up we found ourselves on a small castle square surrounded by tall towers and walls in really great condition.
Most of the castles I visited so far were ruins but this one was just like you imagine a castle would look like.
There was an information sight with all of the tour options and prices. The sign said there were 3 options. But when we went to purchase the tour we chose the lady at the counter informed us that that particular one we choose is unavailable. Only during summer, I guess.
So we wanted to go to the next one available. It started in 10 minutes but it was in the Czech language. Since we had really strict time schedule that day we wanted to do that and I would translate for Kevin. The lady at a cash register quickly informed me that I’m not allowed to do that.
To be fair I was kinda glad. The last time I tried to translate a tour for someone, things got pretty messy. It was on my trip to Poland on a Quick trip to Salt Mine Wieliczka in Poland or Auschwitz concentration camp and the dilemma of selfies. I tried to translate an English tour to my native tongue for my parents. I just couldn’t keep up. Most of the time I was just summarizing the key information for them.
So the Czech tour was out of the window. Eventually, we got the next English one for around 200kc that started in 20minutes.
Meanwhile, we explored the square with a beautiful view and ate some breakfast.
There were like 10 people altogether on our tour and most of them Americans judging by their accents. Our tour guide was a young boy who looked even younger than me. He confessed that this was his first English tour ever so he apologizes in advance for any mispronounced words.
Obviously he was nervous but he was super cute and nice and in my opinion, his English was great.
I asked later Kevin what did he thought of his English and he said it was easy to understand but he added lots of hmms in his speech.
There was one moment that made me sympathize with him so much. It was when he couldn’t think of a proper word when describing some old portraits and it was so relatable moment.
Everyone who speaks more than one language can relate to how frustrating it is to forget the one word that would fit perfectly into your sentence. You can either spend horrid time trying to remember or you need to restructure the whole sentence and use some other word. The second option leaves you both happy you were able to turn things around and incredibly angry at that one forgotten word.
It’s a terrible feeling.
You feel so stupid. Which is ridiculous cuz you’re doing so great speaking multiple languages and you shouldn’t beat yourself up because you forgot one word. But still. It makes me mad.
During the whole trip, I spoke with Kevin in English, obviously, but I was switching to Czech in communication with others.
Switching languages is so strange to me. I’m Slovak but at work, I speak Czech which is fairly almost the same. But then some patients from Slovakia come and go: “You can speak Slovak I’m from there too” and I’m actually left speechless. I’m on a roll in Czech and I just can’t fluently switch to my native tongue anymore. It’s like I don’t even speak my own language.
It’s a mess I’m sure every bilingual can relate to.
The whole tour over the Karlstejn castle took around one hour and we were shown several rooms and towers, lots of crown jewels (sadly just copies), castle models, old-time toilets, furniture, wardrobe and more.
I feel like Kevin, as a true American, was more excited about this castle than I was. True, it was one of the nices ones I ever saw but it wasn’t anything new for me. New for me was all of the information about Czechia I found out on a tour.
By the time we were leaving we met many more tourists than on our way up.
So if you’re looking for a private tour I’d definitely recommend visiting Karlstejn castle in the morning hours.
We were in a bit of a hurry to catch a train to Prague, so we catch a train to our other exploration destination. But I’m gonna tell you all about it later on.
For now, I’m gonna leave you with a recommendation to visit Karlstejn castle when you’ll have a chance and our last selfie.