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Winetoberfest in Znojmo

By Sarah Russell, Indiana University

While the majority of the program was in Munich celebrating Oktoberfest, my friend Molly and I decided to celebrate our own ‘Winetoberfest’ in Moravia.  Moravia is the southern part of the Czech Republic, famous for its many vineyards and excellent wine. 

Znojmo vines

We took a day trip to Znojmo, a town south of Brno and close to the Austrian border.  We took a bus early in the morning, travelling through rolling hills and small farm towns.  We knew we wanted to go to a winery in Znojmo, but neither of us had actually planned out anything going into this trip.  It turned out to be quite the adventure.

Once we were dropped off at the main train station in Znojmo, we went immediately to find lunch.  We wandered into a small café and grabbed lunch.  We were able to get English menus, which made us think that someone in the restaurant would be able to point us to the nearest vineyard.  However, after saying ‘vino’ over and over, we realized that our minimal amount of Czech may not be useful at all.  As we began to wander down the street, the waitress ran after us and gave us a business card of Znovin, a local winery.  We headed back to the train station and after speaking broken Czech with a worker, I attempted to call a taxi.  My Czech was definitely not good enough and the guy hung up on me.  The Czech worker was nice enough to call us a taxi, and we jumped in giving him the Znovin business card.. 

Znojmo cellar

Once we were at the winery we were surprised to walk right into a Burcak (young wine) festival.  There were large, metal vats that held different types of Burcak.  They had food stands and even a band playing. The winery’s cellars and vineyard’s were completely open to the public.  While absolutely no one spoke English, we were able to tour the deep cellars and see the art gallery that featured modern art with a wine theme.  We wandered around the area, met a wandering goat, and relaxed in the sun. 

About 45 minutes before our bus left for Prague, we decided we could easily walk back to the train station without relying on a taxi.  We walked in the direction that people were coming from, finding a gorgeous viewpoint overlooking the town and river.  However, we were totally lost.  Luckily, we found the train tracks and knew which direction led into town, and decided to walk on the tracks to find the station.  With about 15 minutes until the bus left, we were starting to look for hostels or hotels to stay in for the night, thinking we were nowhere near the station.  We stopped in an inn and found a man who spoke English (thank goodness!) and found out that we were right behind the station and just had to take a bridge across the train tracks to find the bus.  With only a couple of minutes to spare we made it on the bus and slept the whole way home.

Znojmo Overlook

Znojmo was a true local Czech experience.  The fact that hardly anyone spoke English really made the trip an adventure and made me appreciate Prague as a large, international city. 




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