Those visiting Prague
and wanting a break from the chaos
of heavy tourism
and hazy air
may want to check out a quaint little town called Tabor
. Only an hour and a half south of Prague (and conveniently on the way to Ceske Budejovice
), this haven of nature
is often over-looked in favor of the nearer and over-run Karlstejn
, or the 5-hour train journey to Cesky Krumlov
. Absolutely a shame, because not only is the town surrounded by a lush forest, but it's also where most of the action went down when Jan Hus
stirred up the radical Taborites (they're pretty mellow these days). It's definitely worth a visit to the Hussite museum which will explain to you how the Hussite war started and will also provide you with a tour of a system of spooky underground corridors and catacombs
Other fun stuff to do there: canoeing in or camping by the Luznice river, hanging in grungy punk pubs and cheesey discos, shooting down a hair-raising waterslide into Jordan lake, lounging in Jazz clubs lapping up those fab Czech suds. This town even has one of the best Chinese restaurants in the country.
Well-marked hiking trails lead to various destinations such as Garnet Rock and the caves of Chynovske Jeskyne, a trifling 10km east of Tabor. The caves, rather than showing off boring old stalactites and stalagmites, have the distinguished honor of offering the unique: crystalline limestone and amphibolites.
The architecture of the town offers as much as or more than most European cities ranging from Gothic houses and town hall with a 24-hour clock to Sgraffito facades from the Renaissance period and folk art homes. The layout of the town itself is a stellar example of Medieval city defense planning.
People there are friendlier than the tourist-weary Praguers; youngsters are fairly proficient in English and the old folks will chat you up in German at the local bowling alley. If you're cruising through next summer, you might even see me there. I love the place so much I'm thinking of renting a plot of land behind the castle ruins for a garden next summer. Visit and enjoy!