Into the backwoods of Moravia

Trip Start Oct 18, 2006
Trip End Nov 13, 2006

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Eggenberg Brewery tour was something unique. They haven't changed their process a whole lot since the 1700's. They can't change any of the equipment much as if they do they'll have to comply with EU regulations which means absolutley everything would have to be changed. The place is almost falling apart, but is held together with tender loving care.

Everywhere you see rusted pipes, old wires hanging loose, decay and long underground passages you dare not walk down. You half expect to see one of the umpa lumpa's pop out from somewhere and when we peered into one of the big brass heating pots a small man look up who was cleaning it out and say hello, or something similar? Great stuff! At the end of the tour we got to taste the finished product and it was very kind beer. Creamy and satisfying. No preservatives or additives of any kind are added and you can tell. I choose the dark one, and it might be the best beer I've ever tried. Pity it's only available in that region alone. We met a few loud American lads during the tour which we drank with for a while but the day outside was to bright to sit in a smokey pub for long.

The rest of our free day was spent lazily as we fed ourselves and wandered about. We went up the tall castle town to overlook the town at sunset and let the beautiful image soak in, hopefully to last a lifetime. Clare banged her head again on the way up so she was a bit dizzy unfortunatley. We ate a great fest again followed by visiting a fancy cocktail bar before turing in for the night. Strange to see a modern bar in such an old town.

Overall I loved Chesky Krumlov. I'd reccomend it in Autumn, and would hate to see it in peak Summer. The town had a populattion of 15 thousand but it swells to 65 thousand in June/July. The locals are trying to regulate the amount of tourists that come in, but it's not easy. It's a small place and can only hold so many. Overall though they are happy to take in the tourist dollar. The local remember not to long ago in 89 at the end of Communism when the place was a ghost town, all decayed and falling apart. Now it's had almost all been restored thanks to the magic of capatist dollars. Of course there has to be some balance as the town will just be a disneyland of Bohemia if it gets out of hand. At the moment there are still old streets just as they've always been just behind the freshly painted facards.

Next morning 5.30am start. Ouch! A very bleared eyed group made their was accross country changing buses twice before arriving in Milukov at 12:30. A long morning in other words, and the wost Intrepid journey in Europe according to the guide. It was grey and raining too, but as soon as we arrived it cleared to turn into another lovely afternoon.
No time to rest as after lunch we were to walk up the holy hill just behind the town, an ancient pilgrimage site. It didn't take long for me to fall in love with this little town. It's just right, not to big or small, and no toursits at all virtually, at least no English speaking ones. Intrepid are finally living up to their reputaion of getting us out of the main toursit areas.

So, it's a chalming place, and right in the middle to the wine district. Wine tastings beckoned but not until the next day. For the rest of the afternoon a walking tour with a local was on offer and we all went for it. The best way of letting the history lesson soak in, is hearing it from the mouth of someone who lived through it. Barbara had been exiled from her country and returned after communism. She had such happiness and love for life despite having gone through hard times. The Jews did take up most of the population of this town, but now there are exactly zero. We wandered though the old Jewish cemetery at sunset which stretched on on an on. I normaly don't like cemetery's but this was about the most beautiful I've ever seen. The fading leaves brought a melancoly feel, but uplifting at the same time. Hopefully my photo's come out as it was a sea of golden light and I was moved.

Yesterday read like a real holiday. Get up, take a short train ride to quaint little European town, have a look at and old Chateau get go for a stroll in the vinyards, do a wine tasting, get a taxi to another pretty little town, go for a walk around some absolutley jaw droppingly beautiful parkland around a lake, do another wine tasting, have dinner, and drink even more wine. That's what I call a great day. I can't say more, expcept this trip just gets better and better. It was our last night as a group, and we have just had time to get to know one another. Short, but sweet. I'd do another Intrepid anyday. It didn't feel like a tour group, and if you'd seen us walking arounf you'd never guess it as we're all the the same, dressed more of less the same. I was a few years older than the our leader. I would have loved more time in each place, but the pace wasn't that rushed. The coin our Kiwi saying 'It's all good'.

Until next time..
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