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Published: November 16th 2009
The view of the castle from the village below.
I have been meaning for a while to write about our recent trip to the Czech Republic as well as to Southern Germany. My cousin Hana lives in Moravske Budejovice, a city in the Southern Moravia region of the Czech Republic. Sylvia's best friend Janka and her husband Fred live north of Stuttgart (the home of Porsche and Mercedes cars) in a city called Ludwigsburg.
Our first stop on the trip was to visit my relatives in Moravia. This region is from where many of my relatives on both my father and mothers' sides of the family emigrated. My dad's family came from near Brno while my mother's family came from farther west, near where my cousin Hana lives today. Last summer, Sylvia and I visited Hana and I was able to take her to several interesting towns nearby. On this visit, I was able to show here the rest of my favorite places to see around Budejovice, which has many nice castles and historic towns. We visited both Bitov and Vranov castles. The last day of our visit was St. Wenceslaus Day, which is a national holiday in the Czech Republic. In honor of the holiday, the mayor of Budejovice
Vranov Castle Bridge
Walking toward Vranov Castle.
hired a famous Brass Band "Borsicanka" to play in the garden of the chateau. I really enjoy Czech and Slovak brass and folk music, so this was an excellent way to spend the afternoon. The band played many well-known polkas and waltzes and the crowd really enjoyed the music. Of course, the experience wouldn't be complete without good food and Cerna Hora beer, which comes from a brewery that was founded in 1298...711 years ago.
The next day, we left for Germany. On the way, I wanted to show Sylvia the town of Ceske Budejovice, which is a famous Czech town for its architecture and culture, as well as its beer. The town's German name is "Budweis" and the beer that is made there is known as "Budweiser." There is another beer sold in the United States that kind of "borrowed" this name, but the original Budweiser beer comes from Ceske Budejovice and they are not related in any way (especially taste). After this, we stopped in the famous town of Cesky Krumlov, which is reputed to be the most beautiful town in all of the Czech Republic. Sylvia and I found this to be very true. It still maintains
Vravov nad Dyji
The view of Vranov nad Dyji from Vranov Castle hill.
its medieval architecture and is made up of narrow streets, bridges, and cobblestones. The castle and church sit high on a hill in the middle of the town and are surrounded by a large bend in the Vltava River (the same that runs through Prague).
Finally, we arrived in Ludwigsburg, Germany to visit Janka, Fred, and their new daughter, Julianka. We enjoyed spending time with them once again and enjoying this region of Germany. One of my main goals for this year abroad was to be in Germany during Oktoberfest time. Luckily, Stuttgart hosts the second largest fall festival in Germany, behind Munich. Volksfest in Stuttgart is essentially the same type of festival as Oktoberfest in Munich, though fewer foreign tourists attend. It is truly a festival for Germans. The festival lasts for several weeks and features a huge carnival and many large beer tents, each seating around 10,000 people. The four of us spent an afternoon at the festival, miraculously found a good place in a tent, and enjoyed some good German food and beer. The local Stuttgart breweries make excellent styles of beer, especially wheat beer. The band featured excellent traditional German brass music and we enjoyed a
The entrance to Bitov Castle in Moravia,.
few dances. Overall, it was an excellent trip and fun to see our friends and family.
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