We don’t want you here

We don’t want you here,” the protestors told us after we’d spent an hour engaged in an unpleasant conflict with local residents right after arriving in Krumlov and trying to unpack our “travelling circus.” Two cars, four adults, six kids, and a pile of junk for several weeks of life. If you don’t have kids, you have no idea.

Instead of sending out the welcome wagon, the first thing the local residents did was photograph our license plates and threaten to call the police because we’re not allowed to drive into the city center. They didn’t care that we had the proper permits – they were upset that they are not allowed to drive there, so why should we? And if they have to pay fines, we do, too. It was only logical and fair. Their logic and their fairness.

Subsequently, us two dads spent about an hour carrying our things from the cars up the winding stairs to our new homes. I mean literally an hour, not just figuratively. The local “haters” jeered us on from the bar across the street, sipping their tall drinks just a few steps away and showering us with all manner of insulting and hateful comments. I was close to getting physical, but fortunately my compatriots held me back and in the end we managed the whole thing without police intervention. After unloading our things, we moved the cars to their proper parking spots outside the center.

It’s about a kilometer from the house. Luckily, we had convinced the organizers to reconsider their original plan – that we would unload our things on the edge of the center and transport them through the city streets using hand carts. Who knows how many days we would’ve spent traveling back and forth?

The building in which we are living is fantastic. I can’t imagine us ever again living in such a location, so we are enjoying is as much as we can. The units are not renovated, but unless you’re really picky you won’t even notice. The building is full of complicated stairways leading in unexpected directions, and it offers many mysterious and secret corners and short-cuts, so the kids are enjoying it as much as we are. The views from the windows are unforgettable. 

The town itself is absolutely fantastic and definitely deserves to be seen by the whole world. In this regard, I’m not surprised that its main role is to be the Czech Republic’s tourist Mecca. I’m proud that we have it in our country. I probably like it even more than Prague. It has a “cosy” atmosphere. However, this strange attempt to bring “normal life” to the city may end up showing that “normal life” – even if it is visually more pleasing than the hordes of tourists – is simply incompatible with a place like this. In today’s day and age, it is nearly impossible to live in a place you can’t access with your own car, but cars winding their way through tourists in a pedestrian zone feel out of place and dangerous for both drivers and tourists. Streets full of enticing products, but with prices too high that you can enjoy them once a year while on vacation. Buildings with fairy-tale architecture, but that fail to meet the practicalities and needs of contemporary life (a baby carriage is another form of transport that is not suited to these streets and these houses). All this and many other things create an environment that is probably relatively inhospitable to normal life.

Does “normal life” belong on the streets of places that are on the UNESCO list? I’m curious myself as to how our time here will answer these questions.