Living under, or on, the medieval thumb

Somewhere, way back in history, a guy on a horse stumbled across a bend in the Vltava river, in what’s now the southern Czech Republic. Or not a bend — a whole series of bends, so that a little thumb of land was surrounded almost wholly by the river. He scratched his head for a second, and then decided, hell, why not build the most beautiful town in the world here?

Which, allowing for some Budvar-inspired exaggeration, is roughly the case for ÄŒeský Krumlov. With Aimee’s mother, we spent the last few days there, after a few days in Prague, wandering around the medieval streets, eating dumplings and goulash, drinking lovely, lovely beer. It’s fall there, and red-gold maples and oaks dot the hillsides. The air has that perfect crisp smoky scent, and the town itself sits on the thumb, lined with buildings hundreds of years old, in streets that curve and merge like the whorls of a fingerprint. Across the river is the massive castle that climbs directly out of the cliff face, so that it looks in places like the stone is now growing crystalline over the walls.
The centerpiece is a tower, renovated in the Rennaisance, but more whimsical than any other I’ve seen. Painted in pastels, built in little climbing concentric circles, almost pagodalike, but dotted with little arches and spires, it belongs on a cake, or in a cartoon.

Aimee and I tried to go on the tour of the 16th century brewery, but failed, instead finding the brewery pub peopled by a handful of locals and one extremely drunk man who couldn’t get over Aimee’s radiant beauty, and who bought her a shot of strange root beer liquor before wandering off to dance by himself, shoot Napoleon Dynamite-style karate kicks at the other heckling drinkers, and fall over on his bum.

Pics later, once I weed out the junk.

Now back to Berlin, where we are getting ready to do battle with the Auslanderbehörde. Our moment of visa truth has come at last. Or again. We’ll see what happens this time.