Day Six B R N O C H U R C H
Again, no action in the bathroom. We packed up and checked out and took off by foot to the nearest Metro station. It was about a mile and a half from the hostel, on the other side of the Danube. Ota mapped out our route and directed me while we walked as quickly as we could. It was another gorgeous day. We walked quickly enough that we had time to shop a little bit. I was looking for postcards because my vacation time was running short. Unfortunately, at least on Saturday, most of the shops don’t open for two more hours, at 10:00. We did pop into an open market where we bought a loaf of fresh bread.
We rode Metro to the station nearest the planetarium and found the bus waiting for us. The ride home was uneventful. We made a couple extra rest stops because the toilet was broken. The bus was fully occupied. This time I noticed that we traveled past many wind farms like we had seen in surrounding countries. The propellers, though, were always still when I observed them. When we reached Brno, Czech Republic, we stopped for 15 minutes at a satellite bus station. It was relatively close to our main station destination. If we knew how close we were, we would have walked over and caught the 14:24 train home. But instead, we had about a two-hour layover before catching our train connection. Ota proudly showed me Brno’s very modern, Western looking shopping mall, Galerie Vanˇkovka. It is one of the few and the newest in Moravia. It Office of Finance boasts having 131 retailers under one roof. I was particularly interested in buying postcards but found none for sale. We ate ice cream (mine was pistachio) as we window-shopped. We discovered another Student Agency office in the mall. Prices of bus trips and airplane trips to all over Europe were posted, from Brno. Even the airplane prices seemed phenomenally cheap to me. Later, at a newsstand near the train station, Ota pointed out to me that I could purchase postcards. He bought them for me. He explained that most newsstands and also post offices sell picture postcards. While we strolled the streets of Brno, I demonstrated to Ota that I remembered nearly everything he had shown me before. This time, he introduced me to the Brno headquarters of the Ministry of the Treasury where he sometimes comes to work. Ota is the Computer System Administrator for the information network of the Treasury of Czech Republic. It was closed for the weekend.
On our route back to the train station we traveled past many churches. Brno is filled with beautiful churches. In fact, there seem to be three times more churches than casinos in any given tract within the Centrum. This was my third visit to Brno and I still have not toured the great Basilica high atop the castle hill. Next time. We boarded the 16:24 train to Světla nad Sázavou. When we reached Světla nad Sázavou we enjoyed Czech hotdogs on an outside platform at the rear of the station while we waited for the connection home. Ota knows that I am a hotdog snob. He knows that I made a big fuss about those incredible Vienna hotdogs. He called these “Czech junk dogs”, with tongue in cheek. I did, however love them along with the whole experience of train travel. Our connecting train to Ledeč nad Sázavou came within 15 minutes. In the refreshing evening air, we walked up the last mountain home at 19:00. Jirko and his family had invited us to a family barbeque. Ota’s family also planned a party on that night. We had to choose from an abundance of riches so we apologized to Jirko and family. Hana and Badje drove from the Kozlov cottage to pick us up and brought us back to Kozlov. We experienced another spectacular sunset along the route. Waiting for us at the cottage were six people, Otto who was attending the grill, Grandparents Hana and Karel, Karel’s son, “Charlie” who is Ota’s uncle, Grandma Hana’s son-inlaw, Kamil and Kamil’s son David. I met David on our Badje in Kozlov visit to Leštinka. David’s little sister Kamila wasn’t feeling well so her mommy stayed with her in Leštinka. While we adults enjoyed conversation (Charlie and Kamil both speak English), David played with Badje and Badje’s sister and with the fire. This was my second Dvořak cookout. We seem to have started a tradition that could be described as “Get Larry Drunk”. Czech Republic has the appellation of inventor of the modern beer brewing process. Specifically, Pilsen is the city. Czech Republic produces more than beer though. There are regional wines, the national plum wine slivovice, and herbal liquors such as the Becherovka I described earlier. Hana and Otto are bent on fulfilling my desire to know all things Czech, by feeding me too much traditional food and pouring too much local and traditional drink. I love it! Hana made the food preparations but Otto handled the grill. We had pork loin that Hana seasoned with the New Orleans Cajun spice that I had sent as a gift. We also ate wurst (a sausage), apple quarters and tomato wedges, all grilled on the brazier. There was a platter of cucumber and of those magnificent garden-fresh tomato slices whose red goes so deep that the seeds are lost in the juicy crimson gel which surrounds them. Plus, I devoured apples and red currents from the trees and bushes around us. It was a beautiful family gathering. I felt like a real part of it and I am honored and grateful.
When we reached Brno, Czech Republic, we stopped for 15 minutes at a satellite bus station. It was relatively close to our main station dest...