We enter through one of the more spectacular gates into any town I have ever seen.
We cross over a wooden bridge.
As we look down into the Vltava river Mirek says: “Last time I was here, I took a canoe on the river with a friend. Man, it was fun, we went under on those rapids over there.”
That was about 50 years ago. He has never taken me to Česky Krumlov. Why would we have not visited this picture postcard perfect, romantic, medieval fairytale town, when we have explored pretty much any castle ruin and half decent village the breadth and width of the country?
Because yearly 2 million selfie stick yielding tourists cram into the tiny town and about 16,000 tourist buses fight for parking. It is a postcard perfect case of over tourism. Or let me say, it was.
Because today there is nobody there. Not a soul.
Actually, I exaggerate. But indeed, when all is said and done, we meet less than a dozen people in the whole afternoon.
The streets are abandoned. It is eerily quiet. The town looks like a movie set after the end of a film shoot.
Everything is shut down.
are closed until further notice.
With the bizarre exception of
The one place we are really sorry to see closed is the Austrian painter Egon Schiele’s museum.
He lived in the town as a young man for a little bit, scandalizing the conservative society with his art and relationships.
On the riverbank in the only open coffee-to-go place we order two cappuccinos and chat with the proprietor. “Even in the dead of winter, it has never been like this,” he says.
It is a gorgeous spring day in April. Some of the early trees are in full bloom.
It is a photographer’s paradise.
No one to jostle with at the panorama points,
on the narrow cobbled streets,
Anywhere you look something colorful and charming is vying for your attention:
For once I am not interested in the history of the nobility or clergy or the burghers. I am perfectly content to just wander around.
We are surprised to find the door to the church open
As we climb higher and higher we are even more surprised that the gates to the four successive courtyards of the enormous castle sitting above the town, are wide open as well.
There might be no exposition but we don’t mind one bit. And yes, we do have our face masks!
We will just take some more pictures, thank you very much.
Peek through a few windows
Wow, what a spectacular, expansive view!
And then for contrast a sweet little courtyard.
Above the castle are vast renaissance gardens to stroll through.
If your feet are not hurting yet.
Ours are… so:
Goodbye beautiful, little fairytale town! May the sun shine over you.
We couldn’t have been happier to have visited, face masks and all!