Someone who looked at our itinerary before we left Melbourne wondered what we were going to do for four days in Cesky Krumlov. My reply was "nothing". I figured that after three and a half weeks of fairly intensive sightseeing in big cities, we would need a breather in somewhere small. We are also about at the halfway point in our trip, so it's time to regroup.
Cesky Krumlov turns out to work perfectly as a place for some R & R, even better than I expect. For a start, it's a lot bigger than I thought it would be, so it is easy to find places to walk that aren't awash with other tourists. Many of these are here on a day trip, so the evenings and early mornings aren't too congested. Secondly, it is very beautiful, with a castle that is no 2 in size after Prague. It is on an S bend in the Vltava, with the castle, old cloisters and a shopping street in one loop, and the main part of town with town square and a network of streets in the other loop. The loop is so tight that a narrow channel was cut through centuries ago creating a millrace. Channel and mill building are still there, although the latter is now a hotel.
We have a lovely spacious apartment with a great view of river and the tower of the castle. For the first couple of days we just relax in the apartment or walk around town. As usual we gravitate toward the riverside and spend some time watching people rafting down sluices beside each weir (there are two in the city). After a while we gather our strength, climb up to the castle and walk through the courtyards and gardens. We even get up early to return there for a tour of the Baroque Theatre. It is one of only two in the world in working order, and we went to the other one in Drottningholm, Sweden, about 25 years ago. This one is just as wonderful.
Our second early start is to go rafting ourselves on our last morning before we leave. We are driven upriver and shoot five weirs successfully on our way back into town. It's great fun, quite exciting and we have one nasty moment when our raft catches on the side of the sluice at the bottom of the last weir and threatens to tip over, but we manage to get it balanced again and safely into the pool below the weir.
On our way back from rafting to pick up our bags, we even manage to visit a great music shop recommended by a friend and make a couple of purchases. All round, Cesky Krumlov gets a big tick from us.