Český Krumlov

Sorry for the lack of posts over the last few days. I’ve been quite busy with colleagues visiting from Toronto and Sydney, as well as any number of other tasks on the job. Add that to a nice long weekend in Český Krumlov and it makes for few posts in the last few days.

Český Krumlov has rebounded from last year’s floods in grand style. There are still plenty of signs of the damage – there’s still flood debris stuck on the wooden bridge across the Vltava River, but there’s also a determination to get back on track. Most buildings damaged display pictures of the flooding partly as a memorial, but partly as a sign of how much progress they’ve made getting back to normal.

One sign of normalcy: I rented a raft and floated down the Vltava to Zlatá Koruna, which was excellent. It reminded me of happy times growing up in central California, rafting on hot Saturdays down the great California rivers – the American River in Sacramento, the Fresno River in, um, Fresno, and the Stanislaus, which runs near Modesto. The rafting was great down the Vltava too, although one thing that still has to be improved is the whole idea of putting an ice chest in an inner tube and floating down the river with a case of beer. Maybe this is due to the fact that the Czechs aren’t ice-obsessed like the Americans?

I don’t know what it is about Krumlov, but it holds such a special place in my heart. Yes, it’s touristy, but something tells me it’s been touristy in various ways forever. Tell me that the bears in the castle moat or its rotating theatre – where the bleachers rotate 360 degrees around the scenery in its garden – aren’t tourist attractions.

What endears the place to me is the absolute absence of right angles; nothing in that town is completely straight. And everywhere you look, every angle, seems to have been composed. What’s wonderful after your second day in Krumlov is that the beauty seems to have a cumulative effect, and every new beautiful thing you see compounds the beauty of the last beautiful thing. The pleasure this leads to is immense.

On the way back, we managed to stop in Protivin, home of my favorite beer, Platan. We stopped in a four-fingered, one-eyed pub for a quick one, but it was great. I could have stayed for hours there, but we were on a schedule, so there was a pressing need for a speedy return.

One tip for drivers headed to Český Krumlov from Prague: consider heading there via Písek, which looks longer on the map, but is a lot less crowded.

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