Thursday, December 01, 2005


I had a looong weekend (4 days) beginning after school on November 16th, so I took the opportunity to visit Beth, Pamela, and Gina in Znojmo. Znojmo is in the southern part of the Czech Republic, near the Austrian border. I hear it's only about a 90 minute bus-ride away from Vienna. I was happy to see the girls, as usual, and to see another part of the country.

The bus trip to Znojmo was from Hell!!!! [So was the trip home, btw. To keep a long story short: I tried to be smart and buy a return ticket early, but was trumped by snow, a bus no-show, and hours' delay, but there--again--was Ondra to save me=)] I have been used to getting on the bus and buying my ticket from the driver. But while I was waiting at the station in Prague, I noticed that many people already had a ticket in hand. I figured I should buy one, but I was told that the bus was already full. No tickets, and NO further explanation. But I was determined to get there on the Wednesday night. It was Beth's birthday, AND I didn't want to have to go back to Zatec and start over the next day. I found out (NOT from a station EMPLOYEE!) that I could buy a ticket to stand up on the bus. Yikes, but anything to get me there. It was supposed to be a three-hour trip. It was a four and a half hour trip. In the end, I couldn't take it anymore. I sat on the floor. Not fun, but I made it. Yay for me! Although I was starving, I was actually glad that I didn't eat or drink before I left because the one saving grace of the bus ride was that I didn't have to go to the restroom! =)

It's not knowing how to complete simple transactions like buying a bus ticket that creates personal stress for someone in a new environment. It's an easy thing that makes one feel foolish for not knowing to do it--or HOW to do it. It hadn't occurred to me to even try because as I said, on the bus trips I had taken before, I always bought the ticket from the driver, which I did this time as well--eventually. This strategy worked fine getting me from Zatec to Prague, but afterward...

Part of the problem, I realize is that it was a holiday, and a lot of people were going home from Prague to be with their families. (Many people here work in Prague and commute to their home towns on either a daily or weekly basis.) However, I still wouldn't know how to buy a ticket from Prague to another city in CZ (or out of it) from here in Zatec! The only bus stops I have seen here are unmanned. These are the things I must figure out I guess. Perhaps I can buy it online and pick it up at the station in Prague?? Who knows?

Anyway, the actual visit was grand! The day after I arrived, we all went on a wine tasting tour in the Znojmo area. Apparently this area is known for its wines. And there were some pretty good ones too! If I could remember what they are! =) I have a paper that lists them, but I thought we were in one winery when we were really in another, so some of the ratings are a bit mixed up!

Tree carving at our first winery. I don't really know what it is, but I liked the way it looked. Kind of like a mushroom.

Me and Gina on the bus. The bus took us from winery to winery, as they are in pretty close proximity, but not centrally located.

Wine and cheese. This was the best! We got to sit down here, AND we had cheese! Lots of cheese!

In a cellar. Every time I entered a cellar, I was thinking "Cask of Amontillado," minus the dead bodies, of course.

"Yes, for the love of God."

OK, random literary quote, unless you know Poe, are one of my former students, or are a current Kvarta student. =) No walled up niches here that I could see!

Chink! Na zdravi

Znojmo tower

First snow! These pictures are not bad considering I took them through the bus window while we were moving. =)

Snow too! We were on our way to Brno, the second largest city in CZ, for some shopping...

A GOOOOD day of shopping!! Hmmm, all I saw of Brno was the bus station, the mall across the street, and the bus station again. I was so excited to find clothes I liked that actually fit me--even pants! I will just say that the pants I normally see here are not cut for women who have more to them than skin and bones. (And I am noticing more and more that not all the Czech people are so skinny, so what's up?) Normally no accommodations for things like...hips. thighs, bottoms--the things that women are made of! So I was very happy to be able to buy--not one, but--THREE pairs of pants! And they weren't the biggest ones in the store!!

Now, I am not anywhere near fat, so it's a little disheartening when I spend hours shopping and can fit only the biggest pants in the store (Levi's store in Prague) or none at all (every other store I went to in Prague and in Brno until I struck gold). Now I LOVE Peek & Cloppenburg (the goldmine). I could even buy JEANS there! Some Euro jeans with the big cuff that I never even liked until I found a pair and could fit them. I tried them on only because they came in my size, and now I think they're cute!

Demokracie! It was interesting to see this graffiti on the wall in Znojmo. Now I have seen a lot of graffiti in CZ--A LOT, but when I arrived in Znojmo, I was told by a Czech man with excellent English that Znojmo was the seat of Communism in CZ. A real stronghold. Many people there, I hear, still think it would be preferable to current government/politics/ economy in CZ. He was explaining the poor condition of some of the buildings, which are slowly being privatized and then renovated. If you know me, you know I was fascinated because I LOVE renovation!! OK, maybe I don't do it myself (since I don't OWN anything), but I love to see things being improved. =)

Znojmo is 2-3 times bigger than my town, and something that I found very interesting when we were tasting the wines was that underneath Znojmo, there are a network of tunnels!! Many wine cellars connect to these tunnels, and they go all the way to Austria--or maybe just to the border??? They (the winery people) said people used them for some kind of escape...from Nazis?? Communists?? Both?? Could one escape Nazis by going to Austria??? Probably not. Hmmm. I was "tasting" a LOT of wine--so sorry for the sketchy details. Use your imagination. HAHA.

ANYWAY, the cool thing was that in the warmer seasons, there are some kind of walking tours we can take through these tunnels. I am SO up for that! I just hope there is nothing that will be crawling on me! That could be a deal-breaker.

=) KM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A nice post Znojmo has changed a lot since your visit I think you would really like it now

5:04 AM  

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