The Czech Tourism website is top-rate. Easy-to-navigate event calendars and electronic newsletters filled with upcoming events make it a snap to plan a day outing or quick overnight. The Austrian Tourism website, in contrast, is dreadful. No event calendar, and the newsletter is aimed at the occasional visitor, not someone who is genuinely interested in exploring the country. Hence, we spend more time exploring and enjoying the Czech Republic.
Znojmo, CZ is a destination we have visited previously
, and being an hours’ drive from the house made it the ideal stopover en route to Ostrava, our destination for the night. The Znojmo “Slavnosti Okurek,” Cucumber Festival was underway, a charming low-key event in the main square, and a plus.
Fresh dill. Can you smell it?
Garlicky, savory pickles to be sampled at every other stall. And they were all good.
Cukes by the kilo for those into canning.
Whatever does one do with jumbo jars of lard?
Why, fry potato pancakes and kolbasa in it! Too bad we had eaten lunch before we arrived.
Cucumber syrup. Not a color found in nature, but it made darned good lemonade.
Not into cucumber syrup? Lots of other indecipherable choices for your lemonade were available.
Pickles consumed, and a small shopping tote filled with cucumber marmalade and Czech grilling spices later, we aimed for Ostrava. The Brno blockade of construction turned our 2 hour drive into 3.5, and the not-in-the-forecast rain dampened spirits, but we were cheered almost immediately with the view from our hotel in Ostrava of mist-shrouded Communist era buildings. The perfect setting for a night in a former Eastern Bloc industrial city.
We missed the one and only local bus into the city center by 2 minutes; with little desire to wait another 18 minutes for the next transport we gamely set out in the car in search of dinner, finding a “Moravian Cottage” offering excellent hospitality, food, and wine. We love the Czechs. And their food.
The “Cottage Plate” of ham and smoked beef tongue, anyone? The tongue was mild and smooth and paired wonderfully with the mustard and horseradish, as suggested by the server.
And for me? Zander, of course. I am programmed to stop reading a menu when I spy my favorite Central European fish on a menu.
Cucumbers, the dreary drive, dinner, and the “mocktail” took its toll on the youngest traveler. As for the Foxhound, he never passes up a comfy spot to snooze.