It was the forecast last day of summer. The high blue skies, daytime temperatures of more than 30 degrees and the late harvesting of fields could no longer last.
Our drive in hot sunshine to Český Krumlov was punctuated by roadworks, slow moving farming machinery and, for the first time since the Baltic Coast, seeing other motorhomes travelling south.
Český Krumlov was Simon’s trip destination, in the way that Gdansk was mine. For several years of travel across Europe we have been advised by others to visit before the town becomes too well known.
Voices waxed lyrical about a Middle Ages fortress turned medieval chateau on a steep rocky bluff over the river Vltava, from where it watches over a cobble-stoned and steeply winding town.
We found parking for motorhomes, eventually given poor signage and climbed up the steep stone steps to the castle.
Views from its ramparts showed the original medieval town that still retains its original street pattern, now home to bohemian artists, artisans and jewellers.
The old town is cut through by the gently flowing Vltava River which hosts swarms of canoes, rafts and dinghies down its shallow way. This gorgeous riverside town is now a plaything of adventure seekers, albeit with a tame paddling view of a thrill, and another stop on the tour of the ubiquitous Asian coach groups.
To illustrate the point at the top of the castle ramparts, a stunning view was to be enjoyed. But in a hopelessly modern sense the thrill was narcissistic.
A host of Chinese took their own selfie photos in a bid to proclaim ‘I am the view, I am the view’. It was comical, but it felt shallow.
Bypassing the hiked prices of the old town’s traditional lunch menus, advertising in Chinese, we ate cheaply on chicken kebabs by the riverside with a view of the steeply imposing castle, hewn it seemed out of the very rock.
We were waved at by superfluously life-jacket wearing teenagers and middle aged men. It felt as though we had truly arrived a few years too late.
Heading slightly north, we found a Dutch-owned campsite at Chvalšiny, around a small pond and ancient town square in which to enjoy the last red sunset of summer.
Bertha had clocked up two thousand miles and it was most likely our mid-trip point as, from today, we would be heading west towards home.
With predicted rains breaking across the region overnight we had an unexpectedly dry day at the comfortable camp to read, catch up on writing the blog and relax before the heavens did indeed open…. and for the next 48 hours as we headed towards Austria.