River rafting and delicious Czech beer? Yes please! The Editor introduces a story by the original Budweiser Budvar beer as they embark on a pilgrimage down the Vltava river into the heart of Bohemia…

One of my favourite childhood memories is kayaking on the Dordogne river in France. I remember being pretty peeved when my parents announced we were abandoning our traditional vacation on the French beaches of anywhere from Bretagne to Bordeaux to spend two weeks in the “boring” countryside, hundreds of miles away from the coast. No doubt I threw a teenage tantrum or two, but the parents were forgiven once I found myself drifting down the crystal clear shallows of this vast Gallic course, floating above pike fish chasing minnows, and paddling past kingfishers flexing their colourful feathers in the summer sun. Even at 14 or so years old so I realised I was enjoying a privileged moment of rural idyll. If I stretch my memory a little further I can also recall the weary shoulders I accrued (my kayaking partner Rob, aged 11, was a lazy so and so) and the sore skin between my fingers where the combination of river water and constant friction had rubbed them red and raw. But just like blisters on a hike, I came to understand that these small sufferings only serve to bring into higher contrast the grand pleasure of running wild in Mother Nature’s playground.

Stopping off for a swim on the Vltava
Stopping off for a swim on the Vltava

When one of my favourite beers – the original Czech Budweiser (not to be confused with that watery American stuff, which is in fact a separate brand) – got in touch to say they’d been rafting down, not the Dordogne, but the hallowed Vltava river into the heart of Bohemian beer country, it certainly triggered some wonderful memories. They spent two days rafting downstream from the village of Vyšší Brod to one of the Czech Republic‘s most beautiful towns: Český Krumlov.

They were hardly blazing a trail however, as this is something of a rite of passage amongst Czechs (and one or two adventurous foreigners!), some of whom return every year to revel in the wild forested countryside that the river winds through, dotted with waterside villages and splendid castles and monasteries. This particular trip takes two days, offering the chance for weary paddlers to camp out at night on the banks of the Vltava, singing songs, grilling sausages and sharing stories over a beer.

An overnight stop on the banks of the Vltava
An overnight stop on the banks of the Vltava

Sounds pretty wonderful, right? Anyway it’s probably best I turn over to them and let them tell their story for your first hand… you can read it on Czechstories.com, or watch the video below:

If you want to imitate the trip get in touch with Rafting Krumlov, and – for the full experience – remember to pack a crate of Budvar. Not far away, in the town of České Budějovice, is the Budweiser brewery for those keen to delve deeper into Bohemia’s beer legacy.

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