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Bohemian Rhapsody

As night closed in we found ourselves, as I described at the beginning, alone with the falling snow in the town square. We lingered until we couldn’t ignore the cold any more, then we went looking for a pub. Instead we came to a barn-like door. It was vibrating to the unlikely sound of a heavy bass groove. The sign said this was a hostel, and peeking inside, we were surprised to see a good-looking party going on. A covered courtyard was nearly full, mostly with travelers like ourselves, and while you might have thought chamber music was as hard as this town rocked, a Czech funk band was ripping out some classics. The lead singer, wearing tight leather pants and a shirt open to his belt, was singing short bursts of moans and groans until he could stretch the mike far enough to bum a smoke or a drink from the crowd. Some guys who were drunk past the point of shame were doing the Can-Can on a table, and some other moves of their own invention.

Our first instinct was to run away. Just moments from the serenity of the old town square, the contrast was too much to bear. So Cesky Krumlov wasn’t quite as empty as it had seemed. And after a quiet weekend, did we really want to throw ourselves into this scene? But why not? We realized we wanted to talk to these people. And they looked like they wanted to talk to us. Indeed, those smiles brought home the best reason to visit Cesky Krumlov in the winter, one we’d felt since Ingrid picked us up at the train station. Travel feels warmest in the cold. The country, Cesky Krumlov and Czechs themselves come into their own in the winter. So we snuggled in at a lively bench, clinked pints with our neighbours with a “Nazdravie!” (Cheers!), thumped the base of the glass against the table as you’re supposed to, took a satisfying draught, and settled in to the tunes and conversation. It was going to be a long, warm, winter night.

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