Thank you note from the always gallant French
This is what the French students wrote on their way back home:
We liked the whole week, but the activity we preferred was the photo rallye. In mixed German-French teams of 5 or 6, we had to take pictures of various places in the city, and of ourselves. The rallye ended on the top of the Way of the Cross hill, where we met our Czech correspondents. We enjoyed taking pictures, especially the creative or odd, or funny ones, and talking with the German partners. This was one of the highlights of the week. It made us see Krumlov in a different light and we got to know the city much better. (See also the pictures below)
What we noticed about the impact of overtourism
Krumlov is a beautiful city with varied architecture and nice (but rather impractical) cobble-stone streets. We found Czech people quite welcoming in general.
There are too many tourists, totally outnumbering the locals. Many of them are Asians and we noticed that they mostly took selfies without paying attention too much to the customs of the country. A lot of tourists visit the castle, but not the museums and art galleries. When we visited the Egon Schiele Arts Centre, there were very few people apart from our Erasmus+ group.
The shopkeepers seem quite satisfied because they have a lot of foreign customers and make a lot of money. Some of us noticed big differences in price from one shop to the next (one magnet was 40 CZK in one shop and only 25 in another). There are a number of luxury shops such as Coach, Fendi, Swarovski, Longchampt and others , which are very expensive, and aimed at tourists. There are also many gift shops and cafés and restaurants, and beauty product shops, but no bakery. (We only saw one in the Handicraft Workshop area of the monastery.)
There are very few local shops: a grocer’s and a drugstore. We were told that all the supermarkets and other stores are at the periphery. There are lots of exchange offices, where you can get Czech Koruna.
Things we liked about Krumlov
· The lively atmosphere in the streets with the buskers.
· The green and hilly landscape around the city.
· There are great specialties, such as trdelnik.
· We liked the spacious high school with its decorations.
· We all liked the castle and garden, of course, and other activities on offer in Krumlov, like the Mirror Maze.
· We liked the food, and the Czech specialties that our families cooked for us.
Things we liked less than the ones above
· It is colder than in France.
· We got the impression that the Krumlov inhabitants do not mind having so many tourists in their city.
· Local people are dependent on tourism. The town economy and the livelihood (40% of the locals) depend on the tourist industry.
We would like to thank you for welcoming us in your school, your families and in your town.
Chloé, Noah and Omaya, Athenais, Aurore, David, Eva, LéoL., Léo S, and Lou-Anne.