a first taste of southern moravia
of all the belated trips, a visit to the southern moravian region of the czech republic (southeast, north of the vienna-area austrian border) was the one that has been pushed off for much too long. i mean, how did we just only now go there? well, i can tell you it likely will not be the last time, because i found moravia just lovely. everyone from over here in south bohemia often says that the people from southern moravia are the most friendly, and this has got to be my experience as well, just from a short weekend away at the end of october. not only that, but the scenery is awe-inspiring, making you wonder if you may be in the tuscan hills or right here in central europe.
we took a comfortable (albeit, long) train journey and arrived on the most lovely of sunny, clear afternoons to mikulov, a small city in the heart of the pálava hills and only a kilometer or two from the austrian border. gosh, what a lovely city – everywhere you turn, there’s something enchanting to see. i think we walked all of the city center streets over and over again, each time staring at the holy hill and the churches on it, towering above.
for dinner the first night, we wandered into a tiny restaurant of only a few tables and was greeted warmly by the kind and friendly owner – they had a variety of seasonal (pumpkin!) specialties available, and i went with a tangine that was just out of this world, one of the best meals i’ve eaten at a restaurant in the czech republic! not to mention extremely good and friendly service. i was a bit frustrated that there isn’t much information online about the restaurants in mikulov, so your best bet is to wander in wherever looks the coziest. before dinner, we had a wander around the gorgeous castle grounds of the mikulov zamek.
above, view from our apartment’s patio during a quick kava pick-me-up.
the next morning, we feasted on crepes at french-style cafe pala in a courtyard just off the square (that played help-era beatles songs the whole time) to gather up energy necessary to climb holy hill. at the top of the hill is the st. sebastian’s church and fourteen chapels depicting the passion of christ leading up to it, a “stations of the cross”, may be the best english translation here. what gorgeous views you can find from the top – possibly best in the region?
we also toured the dietrichstein tomb and climbed the little kozi hradek (goat castle hill) which is much smaller than the holy hill, but still provides climb-worthy views. you can also pop in the fortress – if the flag is flying, that means it’s open. straight-forward policy – i like it!
(there was šipek, or rose hips, everywhere on the hill!)
of course, we could not in good conscience leave southern moravia without trying the wines that it is famous for. as this region enjoys the warmest climate of the country, vineyards cover much of the land and is a fantastic place to go wine-tasting. mikulov itself does not have any large vineyards within city limits (you should go to smaller towns for that), but there are plenty of wine cellars to choose from, or vinný skelp.
we booked a table at barta sklep near kozi hradek and i was so pleased to see how it was exactly the atmosphere i’d pictured at a true czech sklep – the traditional curved brick cellar ceilings that were literally dripping with water from the rain the night before. (perfect!) the wine was delicious (with a very pleasing price tag) and the snacks flowed freely. i could get used to spending more time in a czech wine cellar, for sure.
one thing that surprised me about this region was how i heard no other english being spoken around town at all, only some austrian tourists, but mostly czech tourists were there. some younger people spoke to us in english, but most didn’t, which gave us excellent opportunities to practice our czech. (and after a couple glasses of wine, the courage to practice our czech)
southern moravia, i will see you again! na viděnou!
this post is a part of wanderful wednesday.