We took a quick trip to Český Krumlov this week. We’d been there before, during our tour in Prague. When we visited, it was kind of a backwater, with mostly Russian tourists on day trips from Prague.
Wow has it changed. It’s much more of a party/tourist town now, and most of the crumbling old buildings have been renovated. Kind of sad in one way, but the Czechs are very good at renovation. In fact, I’d say they are better than the Austrians, because they don’t overdo it and wipe out all the character. This could be because they aren’t as rich, but I also think they have a bit more respect for history.
And it’s so crowded! I didn’t see or hear any Russians this time. All Germans, Japanese and Chinese on day trips. At night, there seemed to be more English-speakers around, for some reason. Maybe Americans don’t go so much for the package tours. It is an easy place for us to visit, because everyone seems to speak English–at least now they do.
As always, we enjoyed dusting off a little Czech just to surprise people. And were a bit wistful for the shabbier post-Communist days.
We came, we saw, we toured the castle, we enjoyed the beer, we went on a night-time photography tour of the old town, we ate well, slept well, and then left after a yummy (vegetarian!) lunch.
I wrote up a review for our community site if you are interested in visiting Český Krumlov yourself and would like more details. Meanwhile, here’s my set of color photos. Click for a slideshow. A black and white set will follow…
The castle looms over the town, as castles tend to do…
The Vltava river meanders through the town, with houses, hotels, and restaurants on both sides.
Neat old building with “sgraffito” decorations.
View from inside our hotel room.
Tons of souvenir shops–with tons of witches, not sure why.
I cannot explain the name of this shop. The owner was Vietnamese. Maybe a relative who worked for Texaco helped her buy the shop?
All your tourist needs including arms and defenses.
Very, very old and slightly spooky street art.
I LOVE these wrought iron windows.
One of the few remaining unrenovated buildings. This is what most of the town looked like the first time we visited in about 2002.
Love this stuff.
The castle at night.
In every Czech town of any size, there will be a pub dedicated to Sargent Svejk.
Tractors are a thing.
Plague column in the town square.
Drama on the plague column.
Is that the Tardis?
Creepy wax museum.
The street has officially been rolled up.
OK, one more shot of the tower.
I thought this was funny because the guy on the right looks so annoyed.
Bells in the tower.
View from the tower.
Medieval in the foreground, apartment blocks in the background.
The castle museum had a big exhibit of gifts given to the Schwarzenbergs. I feel this puts some of our office gifts into perspective.
Kind of cool paperweight thing.
They dug this poor saint up from the Roman catacombs, shipped him to Cesky Krumlov, and then made a convent full of nuns decorate his bones.
Another reliquary….there are always reliquaries.
Down by the riverside.
Didgeridoo player on the bridge by our hotel. Thankfully, he stopped about 9 pm.
Island in the river. The part on the left is a millrace.
The waterwheel at the mill.