Cultural recap: Trip to Moravia

February 19, 2010

Deviating my from social commentary regarding the sheneanigans of me and my Euro Friends (no idea why I just labeled you guys my “Euro Friends” but I’m going with it) I’ve decided to recap two weeks ago at a different city in the Czech Republic – the state of Moravia, and specifically the city of Brno, the second largest city in the CZK.

This is one of the trips that our fantastic program, AIFS, planned for us before classes started. They believe that we should see more of the Czech Republic than Prague during our orientation time, so they plan this trip for every group that goes. However, no one really knew what to expect from this trip or from Moravia.

After a three-hour bus ride into Brno – and I really couldn’t tell you about the landscape we passed, as I’ve become exceptionally talented at passing out on coach buses, I will tell you that I saw a lot of snow-covered fields and a lot of small towns and a lot of trees – we stopped at a church (a common theme in my European adventures, much to my chagrin) called Tisnov. This was actually the most beautiful church I’ve seen since I’ve been in Europe, the interior was just ridiculously intricate and awesome.

The best part was when we went to a legit wine cellar. 65-something of AIFS Prague students boarded onto our beloved coach bus in the evening and we drove the one hour to outside of Brno to the Templar Order Restaurant in Čejkovice.
Like my new favorite wine bar in Prague, U Sudu, this Templar Order wine cellar can be described as an “underground labyrinth” of brick tunnels filled with huge HUGE barrels of wine, some dating back to 1288 (ahem).

This wasn’t just any wine cellar. The Order of the Templar created this! It was very Da Vinci Code. See?

So after exploring the wine cellar, we all ate the meal that AIFS provided us (thanks!) which was very delicious indeed, when word spread throughout the chamber we were in that the meal also included free bottles of wine. BOTTLES. As in, ONE PER PERSON.

Before it got out of hand:

While it was getting out of hand:

After it got out of hand:

This was for sure the most brilliant marketing strategy those Moravians had ever thought of. So as we are all jovially toasting (“Nastravi!”) and cheering on AIFS, the owners of the restaurant/wine cellar ask, “So, who wants to buy some really good wine at cheap prices compared to USA?”
I came back with three bottles.

The next day, we explored Moravia further and went to Austerlitz, where a Napoleonic battle had taken place. However, as it is February and Europe is having a record bad winter, there were a lot of electric/technology problems in the Austerlitz museum as we discovered when none of the educational videos worked.

We ended the trip in Moravia with going to the Gregory Mendel (father of genetics) museum, which was actually pretty fun. I ended up buying this shirt:

So worth it. They also had fun activities with giant X and Ys, pea plants, and giant peas hanging from the ceiling everywhere. Needless to say, I’m pretty sure everyone loved it.

From here, we traveled to go to famous caves of Moravian Karst.
Let me just say that I would have enjoyed the caves even more had we not had to trek about a mile in a half from our buses to the caves themselves. This wouldn’t have been bad if it were, say, May, but as it had freshly snowed the night before over a nice thick layer of ice, we AIFS students quickly realized we should have stayed inside the warmth of the bus. Everyone was slipping, and at first it was funny when my friends Alex and Walt were frolicking about, jumping into each other’s arms attempting to ice skate and do triple axels until they fell on the ice, until of course I was the next casualty. I definitely fell straight onto my bad knee, bruising it badly – it’s still nasty colors and has a huge bump on it, 2 weeks later here – and we even saw the corpse of a deer on the way.

Clearly not the highlight of the trip. But the caves themselves were insanely cool. We walked into the complex underground caves for a while, admiring all the stalactites and stalagmites, and then took a boat ride through the rest of it.

Thus ended our trip to Moravia!

currently listening to: “vanilla twilight”, owl city


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