Thursday, 5 June 2014

Czech-land (1)

The Freelance column in today's Times Lit Supplement is me writing from my 'retreat' in Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. Here are some photos to go with that (the next post will show Prague). I hadn’t been out of the UK, and rarely out of London, for more than three years.

Krumlov is almost too picturesque for its own good, but doesn’t insist on it. A photo of the apartment I was in is in the previous post; below is Egon Schiele's painting of the building, from a century ago:

Frequent rain, and once a hailstorm. Japanese tourists with colourful umbrellas and pac-a-macs:

Walk for less than 20 minutes and I was into the forest. Walk through the forest and I’d find a small village. En route, hidden by trees, the occasional tiny chapel, often with candles left burning by an invisible pilgrim:

Time passed. Reading was done, sleeping was done, I began to take even the bears for granted.

On one of the rare hot days I took a bus to a lake to go swimming: an hour to get there in a bus that took detours, then two buses on the way back. All the buses were driven by the same driver.

I came home last night. Last Saturday, while I was away, May-Lan Tan's Things to Make and Break was named runner-up in the short story collection category in the Saboteur Awards. I'm feeling mellow and still a little detached.

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