Saturday was our day of traveling. We went from Ostrava to Prague and then from Prague to České Budějovice by train. I think everyone tried to use this time to catch up some sleep. The rest of the evening was a nice relaxing evening walking around the town and spending some quality time together at the house.
Sunday was full of sight seeing around the area. I can not decide what was better...everything we saw or getting to sleep in some. We spent the day in Český Krumlov, Lipno Lake, doing a little hiking through the woods and visiting Dívčí Kámen.
Český Krumlov is an amazing town in the Southern Bohemian region of the country and is home to the second largest castle in the country. In addition, the old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town is amazing. We heard from everyone before coming that this was a must visit place and now I see why. If you ever get to the Czech Republic, make a stop here.
Lipno Lake and the visit to Dívčí Kámen were a great change in scenery. I think the entire team has enjoyed the days we have been able to get outside and enjoy some fresh air in the woods.
While most of you were celebrating Memorial Day back in the US, we went back to work on Monday (a very hard job). We spent the morning visiting the monastery in Milevsko, dodged the storm while visiting Zvíkov Castle, and then spent some time visiting Písek.
The first mention of Milevsko was in 1184. Several years later the monastery was built. It is one of only a few left in the country and the spaces are still used today for weddings and funerals.
Zvíkov Castle dates back to before 1250 and sits on the Vltava and Otava rivers. The castle is beautiful, but the best image of it is an arial image that shows the entire terrain.
Písek is a very nice small town. Several people in other places in the country responded to us, when we told them we were going to Písek, that it was sandy there. Apparently the name means sand. As luck would have it, they actually had a sand sculpture display up celebrating international films that had been filmed in the town. We spent some time touring the town, met with their mayor briefly, and had a chance to spend some time with some of the exchange students from Mexico, Canada, and Oregon while we were there. After that we attend our first of three Rotary meetings in the area.
Tuesday was a fascinating day. I think everyone was looking forward to it. We had the unique chance, thanks to Jan's father Vladimir, to spend the morning touring the Tremelin Nuclear Power Plant. It was a first for the entire team. We had a great tour in the morning, had lunch at the facility, and then sat in on a presentation about nuclear power in Europe and the future of the nuclear facilities. I do not think we were prepared for the security on this place....we thought the embassy in Bratislava was bad, but this was much more involved. Only Vladimir was able to take a camera into the facility. Once we see some photos I will get the, posted.
We spent the afternoon touring Hulboka Castle. The castle is beautiful and sits on top of a hill. All though the original castle dates back to before 1300, the current look of the castle is inspired by the design of several castles in England, especially Windsor.
We finished our day with the Rotary Club of Hulboka. It was a fun evening. Our most popular questions from those watching the presentation...
Does Winchester VA (Andrea's home) have anything to do with Winchester guns?
What have we liked the best about the trip?
What things have surprised us on the trip?
And some of the random ones...
Why does Tennessee have three stars in the flag?
Why does Jack Daniels have two empty chairs on his grave?
And finally....can we please end discrimination of Czech's in the US...so many places have "No Checks Accepted".
Wednesday was our vocational day and the tour of the Budweiser/Budvar plant. I spent the day with the staff at the University of South Bohemia. It is a fairly new school, just celebrated the 20 year anniversary, with about 13,000 students. The campus had a great feel to it...felt like many of our campuses back home in the US. I spent the morning with the former and current vice rector and then the rest of the day with some f the staff members in the international studies program. I wish I could find a copy of their pr video online. It was great and shows a lot of info about the school.
This afternoon we spent time touring the Budvar plant, the original Budweiser. It was a great tour and the tasting was also fun. They actually do export the main beer to the US, but because of current litigation over the name, it is sold as Czechvar beer in the US.
Ok...I think that is all for now. Tomorrow we are heading to Pilsen and then on to Prague for the final few days of the trip.