On a couple of occasions recently we have gone to Lake Lipno to eat at the restaurants along the shore and look out across the lake as the sun sets. One of the things that really strikes you is how in contrast to Cesky Krumlov and even Ceske Budejovice this part of Czecho, only a few miles away, is not geared to the English-speaking tourist.
This is Dutch or German territory. The Dutch have arrived here in their droves – camping in tents and campervans at the various local campsites, or even buying up local properties. The reason I am told for the latter is that they are investing in a part of the world that is sufficiently high above sea level not to be threatened by global warming. Last night we were sitting around a fire in the garden of some Czech neighbours drinking pear schnapps and the subject got on to the Dutch. It would appear that they are not all together popular around here – the comment was made that you would never see Dutch people sitting by a fire with the Czechs. This is probably a problem more with the fact that the Dutch “colony” here is sufficiently large that it can keep to itself (as happens with the Brits elsewhere) than with the Dutch themselves.
Anyway back to the Lipno restaurants the menus were in Czech, German and sometimes Dutch and fortunately I speak enough German to get by and if that fails have a Czech phrasebook with a convenient menu section. The second restaurant we went to was a fish restaurant. Unlike fish restaurants at home Czech fish restaurants of course specialise in freshwater fish – especially the ubiquitous carp (which the Czechs eat for Christmas lunch by the way and which you buy from large tanks set up in town squares from November onwards). Our conversation with our waiter was not good, and he arrived with two portions of butter fried pike which we had not ordered and which was of course more expensive than the trout that we had. We could not work out if he was pulling a fast one, or if he was particularly thick – we had accompanied our order (made in both German and Czech) with much pointing at the relevant menu item. Either way he didn't get a tip at the end of the meal and we will not be going back there again.
As we came out of the restaurant the sun was setting. All along the shore line there were solitary fishermen with rod and line catching a free meal. The lake was like glass in the twilight and the Sumava mountains rose out of mist on the other side. Our tempers calmed, we took some photos and came home.