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  • Hotel Ruze, Czech Republic

    Hotels We Love: Hotel Ruze in Czesky Krumlov

    <p>Visiting Eastern Europe is like taking a walk through a deep tome of history that stretches as far back as the Renaissance, maybe farther. In the big cities of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/prague/" target="_blank" title="Travel to Prague, Budapest and Vienna">Prague, Budapest and Vienna</a>, the ornate Romanesque and Gothic architecture of the Medieval period dominates the skyline, but it is the more-recent history of two World Wars and the Communist era that seem to dominate the conversation as you view and learn about the cities’ pasts. At day’s end, you’re all too happy to retire to a bright, sleek, modern 21st century hotel.<br><br><img alt="Hotel Ruze" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rnW" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>In the quaint countryside town—village, really—of Cesky Krumlov, there’s hardly an indication of the region’s “dark days.” The village, nestled in a crook of the Vlata River, emerged from World War II mostly unscathed, and before Communism took hold, the townspeople dedicated themselves to preserving its cultural and historic relics so that even today, it looks almost exactly like it did hundreds of years ago. In fact, its authenticity is so unspoiled, it almost feels like you’ve stumbled into the manufactured Epcot version of the Czech Republic at Disney World.<br> </p> <h3><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/prague/" target="_blank" title="Prague to Budapest cultural walking adventure">STEP BACK IN TIME ON AN 8 DAY/7 NIGHT CULTURAL WALKING ADVENTURE IN PRAGUE, BUDAPEST AND VIENNA.</a></h3> <p>At Classic Journeys, we’re all about truly immersive travel experiences. That’s why we chose the historic and charm-riddled <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/prague/" target="_blank" title="Visit Cesky Krumlov, Prague">Hotel Ruze as our home during our visit to Cesky Krumlov</a>. At the 16th century Jesuit dormitory, the staff dress in period costumes and the menu consists of whatever fresh delights are caught from the river each morning or gathered from the surrounding countryside. The Renaissance architecture of the hotel—its original dark-wood paneled walls and arched stone ceilings—and the surrounding structures of the town’s meticulously preserved castle complex make visitors feel like they’ve truly stepped back in time and into the page of a history book.<br><br><img alt="Hotel Ruze" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rnb" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>In addition to the amazing architecture and historic details throughout, the hotel also features a state-of-the-art spa with massage treatment rooms and unique peat baths in traditional wooden tubs. This is the perfect home base from which to explore the rich heritage of Bohemia, starting with its working glass factories right here in Cesky Krumlov and ending with a peaceful stroll through the working farm fields of the nearby countryside.</p>

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  • Family Jumping in the Mountains

    Take Your Celebration On the Road

    <h2>Record numbers of travelers are taking their milestone celebrations and reunions on the road – and coming home incredibly happy.</h2> <p> </p> <p>The Croatian language can be a bit of a challenge for <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/croatia-tours/" target="_blank" title="Croatia tours">visitors to this beautiful Adriatic country</a>. Just try wrapping your tongue around “Sretan 60th rodjendan, honey!” But one group of friends is at work on their accents now, anticipating next summer’s joint 60th birthday bash. When Grace, Carol, Kitty and Tom go cheek-to-cheek to blow out the candles on their cake, they’ll be marking the milestone on a landmark vacation. With a total of eight couples, they are traveling to Croatia and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/montenegro/" target="_blank" title="travel to Montenegro">Montenegro</a> to commemorate their cumulative 240 years.</p> <p>Way back when—let’s say when those folks turned 50—celebration vacations were relatively rare. Not so much these days. Among the 45+ crowd, more than three-quarters now say that a vacation is their preferred way to celebrate milestone occasions, according to no less an authority than AARP. Do a Google search for “25th anniversary vacation”, and prepare to toggle your way through about 397,000 results. So if the idea has occurred to you and yours, you’re not alone.</p> <h3><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/groups/" target="_blank" title="group travel adventure">FROM ANNIVERSARIES TO FAMILY REUNIONS, GIRLS’ GETAWAYS AND ANYTHING ELSE WORTH CELEBRATING, A SPECIAL TRIP WITH CLASSIC JOURNEYS MAKES THE OCCASION THAT MUCH MORE MEMORABLE. LEARN HOW WE’LL ACCOMMODATE YOUR CELEBRATION VACATION.</a></h3> <p>Fresh back from a major birthday trip, Classic Journeys’ guest, Larry Jacobs, cites a song by The Grass Roots from the ‘60s as his inspiration: “We take the ‘sha-la-la-la-la-lala, live for today’ approach. Big days are worth a big gesture. It’s not just about the odometer turning over. I look at that day on the calendar as the perfect excuse to have an experience we’ll always remember.”</p> <p>“I hear that sentiment over and over,” agrees Dave Van Hook, Senior Guest Services Coordinator at Classic Journeys. “I’ve arranged <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/glaciernationalpark/" target="_blank" title="Montana&#39;s Glacier National Park vacations">river-rafting parties in Montana</a>. A candlelit honeymoon dinner for two at Angkor Wat. A bar mitzvah <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/" target="_blank" title="travel to the Amalfi Coast">trip to the Amalfi Coast</a>. And a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos/" target="_blank" title="Galapagos Islands travel ">high school graduation celebration in the Galápagos</a>.” The common goal is to elevate what’s already a memorable moment into a truly unforgettable non-stop experience.</p> <p><a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/costarica-walking-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Group River Rafting" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mq&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9iA" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>And when a specific celebration is nowhere on the horizon, legions of travelers—whether family groups or circles of friends—now invent an occasion and theme their vacations as reunions. “At home, we just can never get everybody together,” says Dick and Barbara Enberg. Soccer practice. Business trips. Family members strewn around the country. The obstacles are endless. “But invite everybody to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costarica-walking-tours/" target="_blank" title="Costa Rica travel">come to Costa Rica for a family reunion</a>, and it’s amazing how those calendars clear. There were times on that trip when the kids were telling stories and enjoying each other. It’s what parents enjoy most of all.”</p> <p><br>The Knapp and Picon families are going for that effect next June. Grandparents, four adult children and eight grandchildren aged from 7 to 16 are headed off for a unique “grand tour” of Europe—from a scavenger hunt in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank" title="travel to London">London</a> to a gladiator training session in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italyfamily/" target="_blank" title="travel to Rome">Rome</a>. “We want to have these experiences together while we all can,” says Judi Knapp, guiding force behind the adventure. That trip seems highly likely to fuel at-home Thanksgiving reminiscences for decades to come.</p> <p>Marilyn Shockey and her husband just returned from a three-couple trip that included <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/prague/" target="_blank" title="cultural walking tour in Prague">Budapest, Vienna and other spots in the Danube Valley</a>. “Our husbands have all known each other since grade school. They could just sit on a porch and tell the same stories to each other over and over. On these vacations they still have time for that, but we create a lot of new memories. Traveling together means our relationship isn’t just about the past. It’s about the present and shared memories for the future too.”</p> <p>The chance for an uninterrupted celebration of friendship is also inspiring a growing number of groups of women to travel together. Ultima Morgan, an Orlando attorney, has now traveled with her sister and four friends to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany/" target="_blank" title="Tuscany trips">Tuscany</a>, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/provence/" target="_blank" title="Provence travel">Provence</a> and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/" target="_blank" title="Amalfi travel ">Amalfi</a>, each time with Classic Journeys. “If you’re married or you have kids, especially as you get older, it’s nice to have a chunk of time when you can reconnect with friends. Spending that kind of time together, you’re just bonded for life.”</p> <p>In fact, most celebration vacationers are at least as interested in renewing and strengthening personal bonds as they are in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/provence/" target="_blank" title="travel to Provence">partying in Provence</a> or <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos/" target="_blank" title="Galapagos Islands travel">reunion-ing in the Galápagos</a>. “Often, the milestone event is really just a happy incentive for people who love each other’s company to make time for each other,” Dave confirms. When they raise a glass to the Birthday Girl or the Anniversary Couple or the Class of ’77, they’re really saying, “Here’s to all of us!” Memorable, marquee moments that rare are definitely worth the trip.</p> <p><img alt="tips for booking Private Journeys" src="http://blog.classicjourneys.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/get-the-party.png" style="height: 666px; width: 555px;"></img></p> <p> </p>

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  • Hillside view in Czech Republic

    Discovering Venerable Treasures

    <h2>Europe’s Other Half – Exploring the Continent’s Eastern Cities of Prague, Budapest and Vienna</h2>   <p>You’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but let’s be honest: The ones that are most aged usually hold the best stories. And so it is with the countries of Eastern Europe. Historic treasures—medieval cathedrals and walled cities—are peppered with evidence of the more recent past. At first blush, it seems a shame such magnificent historic treasures have been mired by war. But it is through these tangible details that <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/past-is-present/" target="_blank" title="A vivid story unfolds">a vivid story unfolds</a>.</p> <p>Exploring the narrow alleyways and cobbled streets on foot, rather than from the seat of a motor coach, is truly the best way to understand the cities’ dynamics, but it’s the authentic first-person narratives you get from <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/local-tour-guides/" target="_blank" title="Classic Journeys local guides">Classic Journeys local guides </a>that truly bring these destinations into vivid Technicolor reality.</p> <h3><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/prague/" target="_blank" title="Learn more about our Prague to Budapest cultural walking adventure">LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR PRAGUE TO BUDAPEST CULTURAL WALKING ADVENTURE.</a></h3> <img alt="Prague - Cesky Krumlov" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7my&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002pWx" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>  <p>Classic Journeys guides Martin and Zsófi were born during the Cold War, when their hometowns Vienna and Budapest, respectively, were separated by the Berlin Wall. Martin grew up in the “free” West, while Zsófi knew only the isolated East. When the wall came down in 1989, their worlds collided and have been integrating ever since. Taken together, their <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/prague/" target="_blank" title="cultural tours through Vienna, Budapest and Prague">cultural tours through Vienna, Budapest, Prague</a> and the immaculately preserved medieval town of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/say-chess-key-kroom-loff/" target="_blank" title="Český Krumlov">Český Krumlov</a> deliver an immersive history lesson.</p> <p>Classic Journeys <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/prague/" target="_blank" title="Prague trip package">Prague trip package</a> includes all the sites and experiences you’d expect but it’s the unplanned detours and unexpected encounters— cruising the Danube, enjoying a lunch of homemade specialties with a local craftsman, and walking through vineyards to Durnstein Castle where Richard the Lionheart was held captive during the crusades — that give <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/world/" target="_blank" title="Classic Journeys vacations">Classic Journeys vacations</a> texture and detail. On a recent tour, for example, Martin’s group and a few dozen locals were invited into a small, historic theater in Český Krumlov for an impromptu opera performance.</p> <p>Veering off course and off itinerary isn’t just something we tolerate; it’s something we encourage to help our guests experience the special stories and characters that hide between the pages of the history books.</p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/between-prague-and-budapest-a-walk-in-the-wachau/" target="_blank" title="Read more about our Prague to Budapest walking tour">Read more about our Prague to Budapest Walking Tour.</a></p>

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