We started the trip leaving from our apartment at 7:30 in the morning on Friday. We then began the journey to Moravia, the wine section of the country, with a few stops on the way. We drove in the small van/bus with a group of 19 USAC students and let me tell you that this bus was not built to carry this much weight. On the drive up to Moravia the temperature outside of the car was around -18 Degrees Celsius. For those of you who don't know what that equates to, it means really damn cold. How cold you might ask? Well for starters, when we were driving the windshield began to freeze over to the point where our driver had to spray liquid alcohol on the glass to try and remove as much ice as he could
. I for one had never seen nor thought possible for a windshield to freeze over while driving, let alone see it happen extremely quickly in front of my eyes. Another testament to the sheer Antarctican like coldness was the fact that our van/bus began to show to and creep to a crawl because the engine could not get enough diesel because it was beginning to freeze while inside the engine. I know I am reiterating this but once more I would like to say that it was insanely cold.
We had our first stop about 2 hours in to the drive at a McDonald's along the highway. They really are everywhere around here. I think I have seen more McDonald's here than I do in the United States. On a side note, KFC is extremely popular here and it is very good. There are almost more KFC's here than in the US as well.
The first real stop on the trip was to the town of Mikulov, this place was in an amazing setting of a valley surrounded by ag land, and in the center of the town on a hill overlooking all of the beauty was a gorgeous castle. We stopped and ate lunch here at a local restaurant which served the typical Czech cuisine, and as always it was tasty. After lunch we proceeded to hike up the Holy Hill which provided us with breathtaking views of the entire valley. It is called holy hill because of the stations of the cross that lead up to the now abandoned church that lays atop the small mountain. Once getting to the top of the hill I got one of those feelings when you know that you will probably never been in that certain place ever again in your life so you try and take as much in as you can while still appreciating it while you are there, all the while living in the moment.
After the Mikulov we continued on our way to the chateau which was beyond awesome
. Chateau Lednice was insanely beautiful despite the freezing temperatures. This was one of the nicest buildings I have ever seen, and to think that I am only seeing it after it has been severely weathered is somewhat depressing and thought provoking at the same time. I only wish that I could have been around to see the place when it was in its prime. The lake behind the Chateau was fairly large in size and would definitely have been a nice view for the royalty that lived there. Wait, I forgot to mention one thing, this was the lake that was completely frozen over! It was literally awe inspiring. I had never seen anything remotely close to this before in my life; but it was amazing with out a doubt. We walked on the lake for a good distance until we reached an Islamic mosque type building, which was also awesome, although I am not quite sure it went well in terms of matching with the Chateau, but they were quite a good distance away from each other. This was an amazing place to visit and I have been told that during the summer the gardens of the Chateau are immaculate and perfectly manicured. That would with a doubt be a place I would like to see again in my lifetime, preferably in the summer when I wont get frostbite from being outside too long.
After the Chateau we were finally off to our destination of the winery in Moravia. We arrived there at about 5 or 6 at night and went to put our belongings into the hostel/hotel/ski resort we would be staying in for the night
. After unpacking our things we headed over to the winery and began the wine tasting. We tried 9 different wines from all over the Czech Republic, ranging from whites to reds; and yes they were all very potent and tasty. After the initial tasting we went upstairs where they had food waiting for us as well as an unlimited supply of our favorite wines from the tasting. The whole group ate, drank, talked, and laughed until the late hours of the night; it really was nothing but the best of times. In the morning we had the option of sleeping in or going snowboarding on the very dinky looking mountain with man made snow. Of course I woke up fresher than ever and decided I would like to snowboard. Kinsey and I went downstairs and got our ancient snowboards and equipment. I am pretty sure I had the first ever snow board made, it still had the square backing to it. Lets just say that it made things very interesting. The mountain did not have one person working on the entire hill and everything was pretty much do it yourself, nothing that would ever be possible in the US. There was only one run and it had one of those old rope tow things to pull you up the mountain. Kinsey was never able to get all the way up the mountain due to difficulties with the contraption, but I was able to make a few runs before we had to leave. It was not the best boarding I have ever had, but it was an awesome experience. The best part about the whole thing, and something my dad would really appreciate as well, was that the whole set up only cost about 15 dollars. Not to say that it was worth much more though, but none the less the experience was amazing and it was something that I will never forget.
Moravia was amazing and it is only the beginning to what should be an awesome semester.
This weekend I went on the trip to Moravia, let me start the description of this trip as the coldest I have ever been in my entire life. I did not know it was possible for the diesel in cars to freeze nor did I know that it was possible for very large lakes to be completely frozen to the point that they were playing games of ice hockey all over the lake.