If Prague is proclaimed to be “the jewel in the crown of Central Europe”, surely Cesky Krumlov is the crown itself! A tiny, delicate town on a sharp bend of the river Vltava, it is held together by a number of small bridges, and boasts a picture worthy view with every turn of one’s head. An artist’s paradise, this protected UNESCO heritage site provides eye candy to those creatively bent. The leaves are just beginning to turn with the fall color; the river provides a series of small cascades whose banks are alternately cobbled by the rock walls then softened by the yellowing weeping willows. Views from on-high show the colored roofs of the buildings as if a quilt thrown over the town which in turn gives rise to the numerous chimneys, church spires, and the castle’s extraordinary trompe l’oeil tower. At one turn, an old man with a colorful palette of oils; crossing a bridge, another elderly man with a set of watercolors; two women, each sketching a church spire that had caught their fancy; people with numerous tripods and cameras…all hoping to take home with them a little piece of the undeniable fairy-tale essence of Cesky Krumlov.
Our little red penzion is directly on the river and from the window we can see the spire of the St. Vitus Cathedral and the Cesky Krumlov Castle tower. The walk to town is short and provides plenty of interest as the streets are narrow and heavily cobbled, and many of them are undulating as well. A real challenge after a long night on the town, we thought, and as we ventured into the town center with its many eating and drinking establishments, we wondered if perhaps it was a cruel trick for those who over imbibed at one place or another. The illusionary art used for the Castle tower is only the beginning of the exquisite painting that is found on many of the buildings in the center of town, providing a three-dimensional look to their facades with cornerstones, arches, and window boxes that are only real in your imagination.