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Czech / German border, a cultural no man's land

43 posts in this topic

 

They sound like they are in need of a good waxing

Last time I went across the border, quite a few of the girls were underage. I am talking 12 to 16ish. I wouldn't call them ugly, but they were painted up like whore clowns. Some of legal age actually advertise on the net as a two for one deal. Business must be good for them which leads to the question of why do guys need to go to prostitutes when there are so many women looking for a good man?

Think about it girls!

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Two years ago I visited CZ. Absolutely disliked the place. From the prostitution along the German border, the miserable people (they have forgotten how to smile), the crappy Asian markets. The service in hotels and restaurants was substandard. Restaurants rip-off foreigners most of the time. (How can one hide the fact if one only speaks English and German?) On top of it, the pick-pockets everywhere. (Victim!)

There is prostitution in CZ and it is very much in your face in the border areas. Then again there is prostitution in every German city, just more discrete.

My advice to anyone going to an Asian market, don't bother. Look in the towns where the Czechs go shopping.

 

Same with restaurants, look for places where Czechs go and eat rather than the fanciest places aiming for the tourist Euro.

Restuarant rip off stories abound but most I've ever heard are groundless.

A very few places operate a flat cover charge, on fish dishes particular sometimes the price is per weight.

The most common "issue" is that is common in CZ and SK that menus are strictly a la carte.

So if it says 150g schnitzel that is what you get. Potatoes and salad are all extras.

 

Pickpockets operate in places where there are crowds and tourists EVERYWHERE, its not a particuarly Czech problem.

 

I've been a regular visitor to the Czech Rep for a number of years now and I can't agree with most of what Kalle wrote.

Yes, some Czechs do look down on their neighbours in Slovakia as peasants. This happens all over the world as well.

 

From day trips to long weekends to longer holidays I think Czech Rep and Slovakia are great places to visit.

There are so many different things to do and see, not just Prague.

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I visited Karlovy Vary and found it to be quite nice, with none of the bad stuff described in earlier posts. The train did pass through some pretty dodgy looking places like Cheb and Sokolov though.

 

I've also hiked to the top of Grosser Rachel and Grosser Arber, the highest peaks right on the border -- it is quiet and peaceful with not too many roads, villages or other people around.

 

So it is not all bad in that part of the world...

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Cheb does have a not totally undeserved reputation for dodginess.

But the main square is lovely, there's some cute gothic houses, the castle ruins and interesting churches.

And the legacy of last years joint garden show with Bavarian Marktdredwitz is that the parks and the area around the River Ohre are improved.

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@MonksTown - you said something about going in the off season. I've been thinking of doing just that -- going to cesky krumlov or olomouc (i also have a soft spot for that city, and for the poets corner hostel, which i've stayed at on 3 visits, it's a great hostel) for a slightly extended period of maybe a month or so in the winter. I think I would enjoy the relative solitude that these picturesque cities would offer in the winter, especially in cesky krumlov. any suggestions on renting an apartment or a room at a good rate? There is a little hostel on the river in krumlov, might be perfect ... or I might want a place to myself if there are actually many people there at that time of year. Suggestions?

 

I don't know about the previous posts from those who disliked the czech republic. It's my favorite place in Europe that I've been to. I saw a lot of impressive czech art there. I have a degree in art history, and the experience broadened my mind significantly because absolutely none of the czech artists were ever mentioned in my American AH courses.. Then there's the Prag Biennale, as well. Plus, I've actually never eaten so well as when I was there ... i mean, for about 7-10 euro you can get a huge meal with dessert and a couple of beers..., and I find the czech food to be really good ... potato pancakes, yeah!!... I met some nice, laid back locals who took me out drinking with them, too, luck of the draw I guess.

 

I thought Bratislava was a really cool city, actually liked it more than Prag... and went on a nice hike up to the top of, I believe, Velky Krivan (?) outside Zilina. Sort of like Switzerland, minus all the banks.

 

Brno was a little sketchy for me, though. Just seemed to be either dirty and urban or super touristy, and I stayed in a crappy hostel there. So much of what makes a good stay for me ends up having to do with where I sleep, and that seems so random... and of course, one only sees a little sliver of any city in just one visit.

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Sorry, no idea on an apartment rental in Cesky Krumlov but I'm sure its possible for a month. Google?

Brno is trying to market itself as the "new Prague" but for me so far it is at best a brief wake up on a night train to and from Slovakia.

Southern Moravia is the one region in the two countries that I have never been to. :huh:

 

It's on my "to do" list. B)

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We were there a year or so ago when we went to Prague (amazing city - see the film The Unbearable Lightness of Being for its atmosphere).

 

Jeremy.

Jeremy, Jeremy. Mate you cant start a thread like this without photos.

 

 

Saw exactly that with Foxy, Hellcat and Pao when we went to Prague in February - an incredible shift from Merc E-classes and BMW 535i's to brothels and shit fake football shirts. Prague was nice tho!

See above attached note.

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Two of my favorite places are Olomouc and Cesky Krumlov ... Where 'Hostel' was filmed!

If you are looking for apartments in Cesky Krumlov - try Athanor Apartments - http://www.ckrumlov.info/docs/en/uby246.xml We have stayed there several times and loved it. The owner always goes that extra mile to make you feel at home and she speaks perfect English (lived in London for 30 years).

 

We have also stayed in Winter - it is very special then, totally magical, stripped of the day-trippers you really get a feel for the old town.

 

Don't pay attention to all the negative posts on this forum - we have always had excellent service and no problems!

 

Enjoy!

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I go over the border @ Cheb probably about Once a Month - we have a house that's circa 1 hour away.

 

The area has actually improved over the last years but is still not to pleasant..

 

The Vietnamese markets are slowly disappearing as the Czech govt tries to clamp down - the prostitution and the "non-stop" nightclubs are still a feature but what are you going to do .. supply and demand

 

The Border controls are a pain in the arse and I hope they do disappear and it took us over 1 hour to get over the Border last time.

 

 

I travel in this area a LOT.

 

The reason that the Bavarian villages look "so nice" is that until very recently ie until April they got regional / structural funding from the EU due to their *) Poor industrial base *) Poor Infrastructure and *) marginal position next to the border when it was largely closed.

I'd love to see your source on that

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This thread is not very fair, sure the very first towns on the way in Czehia can look bad, but go just a bit further east and there are lots of hidden gems to see there:

OMG, this building looks unreal!

Stříbro

Klatovy's medieval tower

 

^You know a country rocks when tiny towns in the poorest region look like that! I don't think there are that nice buildings in towns in the poor areas of many countries that look like that! I cannot believe how beautiful some old buildings are in that area (and whole of Czech Republic but this area is undeservedly treated as a step child as it was where Sudetenland Germans lived). Pilsen itself looks so good (much better than Brno!). But Cheb isn't half bad and Klatovy's city center is like out of a fairy tale. Imo Karlovy Vary looks better than Monaco (sure, it doesn't have a sea but the buildings are better). Marianske Lazne's nice, too.

 

I'd much rather live near the Czech border (preferably the parts next to Bavaria and not Saxony) rather than next to the Belgian, Dutch, Danish or Polish borders where the climate's worse and I cant fin such beautiful architecture next door that close.

 

Quote

(unlike Poland for example where the Rynek´s always have restaurants)

Yes, but Polish ryneks are how to put it nice - bland and even dull, save for maybe Krakow but we're talking small towns in not so well-off border areas. Poland could never match the beauty of architecture of Bohemia even before the WWII destruction as it was never as wealthy or industrialized. Just compare Zelezna Ruda to Ruda Slaska. With the invasion from the 3rd world in Germany where rapes and knifings have boomed working in Germany but living across the border in the Czech Republic looks not so bad.

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I imagine the comments from more than a dozen years ago are no longer valid, Czechia has caught up, even overtaken some places in the BRD.

 

But what about Poland? I hope to do some day trips there soon.

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This thread is also not very recent..

I'm not saying it's not accurate, or that it is accurate, but the last post before today was from 2007..

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11 hours ago, bytex said:

 

Yes, but Polish ryneks are how to put it nice - bland and even dull, save for maybe Krakow but we're talking small towns in not so well-off border areas. Poland could never match the beauty of architecture of Bohemia even before the WWII destruction as it was never as wealthy or industrialized. 


Poland is a great place to take a short trip, but outside of Bad Muskau and Zgorzelec, the border towns are not that interesting.  

 

Some of the historical buildings in Krakow and Lviv clearly reflect their time under the Austro-Hungarian empire, and are similar in style to those in Czechia.   

 

<rant>

Outside of "people watching", i don't understand the fixation with restoring the old market squares and making them a highlight of tourism.    While there will be a few restaurants on the square offering local food, i have found more pizza / pasta restaurants, espresso and latte style coffees which have nothing to do with local tradition, and the opportunity to sit under a canopy/tent plastered with the name of a beer brand from a large multinational.    In other words, it is more instructive about the effects of globalization than local culture. 

</rant> 

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@balticus I guess it's a way for small towns to bring in tourist revenue while feeding them what they're used to eating.  I've rarely eaten at one of those cafes while travelling expressly because I don't want to eat the same stuff I can get anywhere.  So we probe a little deeper past the purely touristic areas and find something more "authentic."  But, truth is, without the pretty squares and restored historic districts, we wouldn't have visited in the first place.  As long as the tourists and their money are drawn there in the first place, it doesn't matter that much which type of food exactly is served on the square.  I don't think bland tourist restaurants are really taking away business from local restaurants because those same types of people might not be able or willing to bring their whole family on vacation if they didn't know they'd always be able to find chicken fingers and pizza for the ones who aren't interested in trying different things.

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4 hours ago, dessa_dangerous said:

@balticus I guess it's a way for small towns to bring in tourist revenue while feeding them what they're used to eating.  I've rarely eaten at one of those cafes while travelling expressly because I don't want to eat the same stuff I can get anywhere.  So we probe a little deeper past the purely touristic areas and find something more "authentic."  But, truth is, without the pretty squares and restored historic districts, we wouldn't have visited in the first place.  As long as the tourists and their money are drawn there in the first place, it doesn't matter that much which type of food exactly is served on the square.  I don't think bland tourist restaurants are really taking away business from local restaurants because those same types of people might not be able or willing to bring their whole family on vacation if they didn't know they'd always be able to find chicken fingers and pizza for the ones who aren't interested in trying different things.

 

With respect to market squares, my comments were directed more towards bigger cities, e.g. Krakow, Warsaw, Wroclaw, Olomouc.    The types of restaurants / cafes on the perimeters of these squares could easily be interchanged with the same areas in Tallinn or Riga.   I enjoy sitting and drinking a large Carlsberg beer on a hot day and watching the crowd go by in any of these places, but at some point, this devolves into Disneyland like tourism and has little to do with understanding the history and culture of these cities.

 

That said, people take trips for many reasons, and just seeing a new place for a change of scenes whether to take in the local culture and tradition or not is a matter of personal choice.   Whether the European Union should finance the renovation of multiple market squares all through central Europe or not is a different question.

 

 

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That's why I always make sure to visit restaurants on the outskirts and in residential areas. They tell you more about locals' life. I also visit supermarkets. They often carry typically local favorites you cannot buy easily in other countries (Kofola, a TV dinner version of knedliky, Treska v majoneze/Cod in mayo salad etc.).

 

Anyway back to topic - I agree Czech customer service needs improvement. As for the people, small-town Czechs are nicer and friendlier than Prague locals.

 

I like the hills in those parts of Czechia next to Bavaria and Saxony. Btw while the Bohemian/German border is one of the oldest in Europe, for animals & nature country borders do not exist, I love both sides equally - from Nuremberg to Pilsen it's all interesting besides a few border towns that have too many casinos. ;) Klatovy, Stříbro, Karlivy Vary, Marianske Lazne, Pilsen are all nice to visit.

 

It took me one glance at Karlovy Vary and the black tower in Klatovy to fall in love with the area.;) Austria's also near with huge mounts but I prefer smaller hills & find the Bohemian architecture richer than that of Austria. Rolling hills sure beat completely flat landscapes. Living close to a border is good - you get access to several cultures at once.

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Krumlov is very nice to visit. It's also a world heritage site.

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Believe me I used to be a huge fan of Poland, but even on street view I couldn't like their cities and towns.

Sure, they have Krakow, but let's compare small towns with small towns near the hilly areas (as I hate flat lands) and close to the border with other countries, i.e. Slovakia/Czechia or Germany:

 

On one side you get places like Wadowice, Krosno and Sanok in Poland and on the other hand in Czechia there are Cheb, Stříbro or Klatovy (let's ignore Pilsen and the spa towns).

 

I chose them at random. Do a street view on those and you'd soon realize that somehow the smaller Czech towns are more beautiful and have more wealth of classical architecture in their market squares while Polish ones are more industrial-looking or their old houses are not as flashy. Both areas can be enjoyed from the other country, but living in Germany/Czechia/Slovakia I see not much reason to pass the border to Poland aside from Krakow while there are so many nice-looking towns in the Czech republic near the German border.

 

Ok, Rozvadov right after the border's not nice, it's all about casinos and nothing much to see but go a little further in Bor and especially Stříbro and wow. Stříbro's bridge is actually the only other bridge in the Czech Republic with a gate aside from the Charle's one in Prague.

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