Well, my first guided tour of South Bohemia is over. My guests departed on Sunday. Since then I have slept a lot, scythed part of the orchard, gone shopping, cleaned the house, washed a week's worth of clothes etc and generally re-emerged into real life.
"And how did it go?" I hear you ask.
The answer is really well. After weeks of rain and cold the sun shone, the temperature shot up to 30+ degrees and South Bohemia put on its best clothes for my visitors. Before their arrival I had worried that they would not like it, that my plans would go astray, that we would arrive somewhere and they would have forgotten that we were coming. Now looking back I ask myself why I put myself through so much angst. Of course my visitors loved South Bohemia - it is a wonderful country. The sites we were visiting were the best I could find. The days were carefully balanced so that there was something of interest for everyone. Hadn't I always said that the educated Brits would love this part of the world if they only found it? And I was right.
What I hadn't really expected was the welcome my visitors would receive from the Czechs. At nearly every site we were warmly welcomed and told that this was the first group of Brits they had had and how much they wanted more Brits to come. In the hotel (Hotel Budweis, Ceske Budejovice) the receptionist would search the web for information for the British guests. It was interesting to see that the warmth was reciprocated - the coach driver commented on how lovely my guests were and a number of other Czechs also spoke with admiration of the British guests, in particular their genuine interest in what they were seeing.
I have always thought that there was some common bond between our two peoples and this visit seems to confirm it. I suppose my previous fears were not just about failure on my part, but about being wrong about this. Well, I needn't have worried.