Kicking Quarantine with Colour – Part 2

As lockdown measures in the Czech Republic and much of the rest of the world are increasing through Autumn, it is time to find something positive where we can.

In spring, I shared with you photos of the colours of the season from walks I took around my neighbourhood and adjacent ones in Brno.

Now that Autumn has arrived, I’m happy to give you the colours of this season to brighten your lockdown.

Stay safe and stay healthy.

The Czech Republic and the Second Wave of COVID

National State of Emergency Declared

From October 5, the Czech Republic will be under a 30 day state of national emergency.

This measure has been put in place due to the record number of COVID cases the country has seen during the second wave of the virus outbreak.

The state of emergency has also been declared so the usual legislative process can be circumvented if the government decides any new measures beyond what is already in place need to be instituted quickly.

These links will take you recent news stories about the new state of emergency and some of the restrictions and regulations in place:

Link to article at Expats.cz

Link to article at Expats.cz

Link at Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs

If you’re living in the Czech Republic, particularly if you’re in Brno or the South Moravian regions, this website will give you a lot of information about resources available to you to help cope with COVID and the restrictions in place because of it:

Link to coronahelp.cz

A Walk in the Wine Country

It’s Autumn and in the south east of the Czech Republic that means the wine harvest is at hand and there are celebrations all around the region. There are all kinds of opportunities to try local wines and take in the atmosphere of the wine country.

Not too long ago, we took a day trip to Bořetice, a small village about 20 kilometres south east of Brno. The village is surrounded by vineyards and has a group of wine cellars to visit. Each cellar is uniquely decorated by the owner; some with traditional folklore motifs, while others just more a reflection of the owner’s personal tastes.

Here’s a small gallery of what we saw on our visit there:

Back to School – Back to Quarantine

For the summer months, people in the Czech Republic have been leading happily mask free lives in a country that has been weathering the COVID-19 pandemic quite well compared to many other nations.

Despite a recent uptick in COVID cases in the country, it still is doing quite well all things considered. Part of that, no doubt, was related to the very quick reaction the Czech government had in spring and universal quarantine measures that were instituted.

However, on September 1 Czech kids are going back to school and some quarantine measures are coming back into place with them.

These two articles will give you the basics of the new quarantine regulations:

https://english.radio.cz/schools-open-czech-republic-amid-surge-coronavirus-cases-8690725

https://english.radio.cz/face-masks-return-czech-republic-schools-reopening-8689548

In a peculiar move, the United Kingdom removed the Czech Republic from their list of “safe” countries. While it’s said this move was due to the recent increase in COVID cases in the Czech Republic, it must be said there are still substantially fewer cases in the Czech Republic than in Britain.

This article will tell you more about that move and the implications it has for people traveling between the Czech Republic and the UK:

https://english.radio.cz/it-was-quite-a-surprise-us-uk-government-removes-czech-republic-safe-travel-list-8690511

Vintage Weekend in Brno

Old buses and new wordpress

This weekend, the Brno Technical Museum is rolling their vintage public transportation fleet around town.

This post is to show you some of the technical museum’s public transport fleet and for me to play around a bit with the new WordPress editor functions.

I’ve decided to try out the tiled gallery function and not put any captions on the pictures.

Enjoy.

Kyjovsko – Southeastern Sojourn

Wine and Wonderment 

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Milotice chateau, a Baroque gem in the Kyjovsko region.

Kyjovsko is a small area in the larger Slovácko region that makes up the far south east of the Czech Republic. It takes its name from Kyjov, the main town in the area.

As with the larger Slovácko area it’s part of, Kyjovsko is known for agricultural vistas. Most notable of these are the many vineyards in the region. This is part of the expansive South Moravian wine country, so there are many cellars to visit and sample local wine at. Also in Kyjovsko you will find an area known as Moravské Toskánsko, which translates as Moravian Tuscany. It’s an area of picturesque rolling hills that reminds many people of the Tuscany region of Italy.

Aside of the wine and scenery, Kyjovsko and Slovácko market themselves strongly on folklore and related cultural traditions. It’s not unusual to see wine cellars and other folk architecture decorated with local folk art motifs.

In August of 2020, we spent a few days in Kyjovsko. Here’s a small taste of what you can find there:

Day 1: Arriving in Kyjov 

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Section of Kyjov’s main square.

We travelled to Kyjov from Brno by train. It was a direct train ride of a little more than an hour.

Once settled into our hotel, we took a walk around the town to get a feel for the place. Kyjov is a decidedly non-touristy place with a relaxed atmosphere.

The town dates to the early 1100s and has a population of around 11,000 people. It’s a very walkable town and the local tourist information office can provide you with a map of the town’s sites so you can take your own self-guided tour.

Most things in Kyjov seemed to close between 19:00 and 20:00, so the town won’t give you much of a nightlife. However, with both a train station and a coach bus terminal, it is a regional transportation hub and makes a good base for trips around the area.

As Kyjov is a smaller town and we communicated mostly in Czech, it’s difficult to say how much linguistic flexibility you’ll find there if you don’t speak Czech. You can find information in the tourist information office in a variety of languages and one of the staff members who assisted us spoke quite good English.

Day 2: Čejkovice

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Inside the Templar Cellars in Čejkovice.

Our first full day in the region saw us visiting the village of Čejkovice, to the south west of Kyjov.

Čejkovice is most well known as the home of the Templar cellars-Templářské sklepy. While the modern winery today has existed in its current form since 1992, it takes its name from the extensive winery and cellars the Knights Templar built when they were active in the area in the early to mid 1200s.

It’s possible to take a tour of the cellars and sample some wine if you’d like. Regular tours in Czech take place at pre determined times during the day and don’t require a reservation to join in. Tours in English or German can be arranged, but require a reservation.

Another point of interest in Čejkovice is the Czech operations of the Sonnentor herb and spice company. Sonnentor was founded in Austria in 1988 and set up operations in the Czech Republic in 1992.

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Some of the vineyards local to Čejkovice.

At the Sonnentor location in Čejkovice you can tour the facility, buy gifts at the well stocked giftshop as well as enjoy a cup of their own tea in their café.

You can also get a good view around the area of Čejkovice from the viewing tower that’s part of the Sonnentor building.

We travelled to Čejkovice by bus from Kyjov. It’s not a direct bus and required a transfer to another bus in the village of Čejč, a bit north of Čejkovice.

As Čejkovice is a small village, a car may be a better way of accessing it depending on where you’re travelling from.

Bicycle tourism is strongly promoted in this area of the country, so that could be another option open to you for accessing the village depending on where you’re travelling from and your level of fitness.

Day 3: Windmills and Wellness 

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Restaurant and viewing tower at Bukovanský Mlýn.

We spent the morning of our third day in the village of Bukovany, a bit north of Kyjov.

Bukovany is a small village and home to the Bukovanský mlýn (Bukovany mill) hotel and viewing tower.

The viewing tower is modelled after a historic windmill. Inside, you will find a gift shop and a small museum. From the viewing deck at the top, you can see a good distance in all directions. The weather wasn’t great when we visited, but the hotel’s website claims that you can see for more than 100 kilometres on a clear day.

While we didn’t stay to have lunch at the retaurant there, their website says they specialise in traditional cuisine from the Slovácko region.

We travelled to Bukovany by direct bus from Kyjov. The bus trip is less than half an hour, but there is an extra 10 to 15 minutes of walking from the bus stop to the mill.

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Tubs of hops infused water just waiting to be enjoyed.

The afternoon of our third day was spent enjoying our hotel’s wellness facilities.

Our hotel was Kyjvoský pivovar; a hotel, microbrewery and wellness centre all in one. Their beer spa is the heart of their wellness services and we spent about an hour soaking in tubs of hops infused water and enjoying a pint of the hotel’s own beer straight from a tap between the lovely wooden tubs.

Among its benefits, the hops infused water had nerve calming qualities. Given the slow motion train wreck that 2020 has been for most everyone so far, we weren’t going to say no to a bit of nerve calming.

We relaxed a bit on our hotel room after that and then enjoyed an early evening walk around Kyjov.

Day 4: Renting Royalty 

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At Milotice chateau in some Baroque threads.

Our final day in Kyjovsko included a trip to the Baroque chateau in Milotice, a short bus ride south of Kyjov.

Mainly, we went there to partake in the chateau’s offer to rent historic style clothing and walk around the chateau gardens and grounds.

It was a good bit of fun walking around in late Baroque style clothes for half an hour and looking like we owned the place.

If you wish to visit Milotice and rent historical clothes, you will need to make a reservation for the clothes ahead of time through the chateau website.

Even if walking around in vintage attire isn’t for you, a visit to this chateau should certainly go on your itinerary if you’re at all interested in Baroque or Rococo styles and are travelling to the Kyjovsko area.

Paying a Visit and Learning More 

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Dishes and cups decorated with folk motifs typical to the Kyjovsko and Slovácko regions on display at Bukovanský mlýn.

If you are travelling from Brno, Kyjov is not difficult to reach by train. With a respectable selection of accomodation for the town’s size, as well as bus and train stations along with places to rent bicycles, Kyjov is a good place to use as your base if you are visiting the area.

Tourism in Kyjovsko and the larger Slovácko region is very closely tied to the area’s viticultural and folk heritage. The region is full of vineyards and dotted with cellars where you can try wine from many regional wineries.

The folk art, costumes and traditions of Kyjovsko and the wider Slovácko region are some of the most distinctive and recognised in the Czech Republic. Events to showcase these aspects of regional culture are not unusual in the region.

Bicycle tourism is strongly promoted through the region and there are a number of well established and maintained cycling trails. If cycling is a method you’d like to try for seeing the area, I would recommend a good sunscreen and insect repellent specified against ticks as “must have” items for you. Summers can be hot and sunny and tick borne encephalitis is a serious health concern for anyone going into nature or rural areas in this part of Europe.

To take full advantage of the viticultural aspect of the area, planning your trip for late summer or early autumn might be best. September is traditionally the time of wine festivals across the South Moravian wine growing regions and is a good opportunity to try the wine and see a lot of regional folk traditions in action at the same time.

This link will take you to the official website of Kyjov. There you will find a lot of information about what you can do in Kyjov and the surrounding area:

Official Kyjov website

 

Other Voices – A Word from Chlohemian

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Village of Rakové. (photo: C.Skye “Chlohemian”)

Echoes

This week, I’m giving some space to a great post by a fellow Czech blogger, Chloe, who runs the Chlohemian blog.

Chloe currently lives in Denmark, but she spent some time living in the Czech Republic and got taken into a Czech family.

Very recently, she wrote a piece about how the Communist regime that fell over 30 years ago still affects the Czech psyche today. It makes for some fascinating and absorbing reading:

Link to article at Chlohemian.com

So, I was Interviewed about the Czech Republic!

An Interview with Alexandra Kid News Interviews

Not so very long ago, I sat down to a Skype interview with Alexandra, the energetic young lady behind the Alexandra Kid News Interviews channel on Youtube.

Her interview with me is the 13th in a series of interviews she has done with people around the world.

In our interview, we covered the Czech reaction to the COVID-19 crisis as well as some general details about life in the country.

Here’s the interview. Make sure you take a look at the other interviews on her channel and spread the word about them: