The clock started to tick and I realized it was time to visit the caves so I went to the closest ones to Prague: Koneprusy. I ordered the chauffeur fot 11:00 am I told him we might go to Karlstejn after the caves which he seemed to agree but wasn’t too pleased.
The ride to the caves was very nice and the reason why I went by car is because the nearest bus stop is 8 km away. When we got there, it looked like we were in the middle of nowhere, and if I hadn’t seen the Caves sign, I would have wondered where I was, and if I was at the right place. So the driver told me this was the place and that I had to walk up the hill to the entrance. I couldn’t see anything, and I was starting to have doubts about idea but as I got further, I started seeing some signs of life. It wasn’t a very nice day, it was cold and raining lightly. I was the only one there, until a bus arrived, parking in the special bus parking which was a bit closer to the entrance.
There was about 50 boys chain smoking before heading to the caves. I tried to take the next tour but I would have had to wait another 30 minutes and since I was paying for the car, I decided to go ahead and I had to go now. I paid the extra 40Kc to take pictures, and took the description sheet for a deposit, and made my way behind the boys.
Just before going in, I noticed a man who spoke very good English and asked him if he was going in the caves and he said he wasn’t sure and he told me he was the bus driver for the Danish farmer students. I told him I was by myself and I needed somebody to accompany me so he gladly agreed and down the stairs we went.
There were maybe only 3 girls in the group and they weren’t in very good shape. They all had a hard time going up the many stairs which I found fairly easy. The smell of the air was awful. Imagine a smoker’s breath times 50! There was definitely a lack of oxygen in there.
The caves were absolutely amazing. It was so fascinating to be there, and I wish I could have spent more time there, just like we would if we wouldn’t have been accompanied; pack a lunch with a flashlight and just sit there and imagine what it meant for people who discovered them before us, centuries ago.
The colors and textures were so beautiful. I would put my hand out and feel drops of water, telling myself it was amazing that the stalactites and stalagmites were the result of zillions of droplets like these ones. At our first sight of a stalagmite, our guide asked the young crowd what they thought that was and of course the first answer that came out was a dildo. I couldn’t help saying, as I got ready to take a picture “It’s definitely bigger than yours” and those close enough to me to understand laughed and started pushing the guy and from then on, my rank in the pack went up a notch!
The bus driver was never too far and I kept an eye on him when we went up or down the stairs and he told me not to worry, that he was an old athlete. We passed through different sections including one that was used by 15th century counterfeiters. Also was shown replicas of bones excavated in the caves, belonging to human, rhinoceros and a horse.
After 45 minutes the visit was over and I thought it was too short. As I got in the car and told the driver our next stop would be the Karlstejn Castle, he told me he couldn’t go because he was finishing at 3. We started arguing and I told him if he didn’t want to go he should have said so before we left. He tried to convinced me to go another day, and I told him it was my vacation and that I was leaving Monday and that I didn’t have time to come back, and that this was my only chance to see the castle because I didn’t know when I would return to Czech Republic. After more arguing, I said “I am the princess today, and I am going to the castle! You drive me there and if you don’t want to stay, you call your boss and you ask him to send somebody else but I am going to the Castle!” So the Princess went to the castle and Mr. driver waited 2 hours in his car texting his wife while I visited the famous Karlstejn Castle!
From the parking lot at the bottom of the village, there was a fast 20 minute steep walk. The smells were amazing and the sounds and sights seemed like we were in another time. The views of the castle from below were amazing and every new turn was reveling a new angle.
I got there just in time for the English tour. We were not allowed to film inside the castle but were able to do so when we stepped outside between towers. At the end of the tour there was a souvenir shop where I bought a guide to Charles Bridge in Prague and one of the Karlstejn Castle.
I made it in just 2 hours to the car and the driver was happy his long day was almost over. I asked him a few questions otherwise there wouldn’t have been much conversation. He kept to himself and concentrated on the road. I learned that he was working 12 hour shifts like many Czech people and that he was earning a poor lean salary of 1000Kc, the equivalent of about 55$ Canadian or 4.62 per hour. I felt so sorry for the guy but then his attitude doesn’t help because he must not get lots of tips with his negative vibe. I gave him 100Kc tip and he seemed happy with that and I saw him smile a sincere one for the first time; he was the same one who drove me from Alice to Hotel 16 and he wasn’t pleased with my rounding of 270Kc to 300Kc.
What a day that was! I was proud of myself for insisting going to the castle but I felt sorry for the driver. I just care, it’s the way I am because in the big scheme of things, we are all the same.