Thursday, 22 March 2007

More About Sitting in Cafes - a plea for slow tourism

In my last post I talked about sitting outside a cafe in Cesky Krumlov, I was drinking a latte and eating Czech honey cake, reading a book and watching the world go by. I can do that for hours. Cesky Krumlov is a great place for slow tourism.

And as I sit I watch the other tourists and what are they doing? Rushing about - they are "doing" Cesky Krumlov. Many of the tourists are on day trips from Prague (3 hrs away). They get off the coach run round the castle, have lunch in one of the hundreds of restaurants and catch a few minutes wandering around the shops, before piling back on to the coach exhausted. Meanwhile I might have finished my latte.

Then there is the other type of tourist - the backpacker. You will find dozens of blogs from them with entries eulogising the town, its beer, its atmosphere. Often the blog entry will say stopped for a night in Cesky Krumlov on the way from Vienna to Prague, Krakow to Berlin or whatever. They are "doing" Europe. We see them in England - "doing" Oxford where I work, "doing" Stratford Upon Avon. Good for them, at least they stay longer than the daytrippers. But they haven't done anywhere, not really. It takes time to get to know a place like Cesky Krumlov or a nation as complex as the Czechs. It takes time and lots of sitting in cafes and watching. In fact it takes years and probably it takes living here, but I will come back to that. This blog is perhaps my attempt to communicate what I have learnt and to explore that - indeed to share that.

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