Znojmo Surprises Us

As soon as we knew that we were leaving Warsaw early, we started planning trips for our last year in Europe. For this summer, we debated another hiking vacation in the U.K., as well as a trip to Sweden. Because, in August it makes sense to go north, right?

Guess what? We’re back in Italy. In late summer. Because we love it so. And, despite the heat, we have no regrets! (Anyway, there’s gelato everywhere here, you know…)

Our Epic Italian Road Trip consists of a loop through the Czech Republic, Austria, four cities in northern Italy, and then back up to Warsaw. Our first stop, halfway to Bolzano, was Znojmo, on the Czech/Austrian border. It was a nice surprise!

We’ve driven past Znojmo several times on other road trips. The Znojmo you see from the freeway is a massive outlet mall and truck stop. It’s a hot mess!

A spectacular duty-free mall on the Czech side of the border. (This was a shoot-on-sight no man's land in Communist times.) Giant dragons, dinosaurs, wizards, Vikings, hookers, and a restaurant inside a full-sized parked airplane. Awesome, in its way.
A spectacular duty-free mall on the Czech side of the border. (This was a shoot-on-sight no man’s land in Communist times.) Giant dragons, dinosaurs, wizards, Vikings, hookers, and a restaurant inside a full-sized parked airplane. Awesome, in its way.

So, while we assumed the town itself would not be populated with fiberglass dragons, we weren’t expecting it to be so darn nice. In fact, Znojmo is a lovely Moravian river town, with Austro-Hungarian architecture and vineyards sloping down to the river Dyje (Thaya in German).

Pretty view from our hotel terrace.
Pretty view from our hotel terrace.

It’s not a big town, so an overnight visit was plenty of time to explore.

Shrine on the street above our hotel.
Shrine on the street above our hotel.
Really cool pulpit in the cathedral.
Really cool pulpit in the cathedral.
You might be in a former Austrian province if there is a corpse lying resplendent in the church.
You might be in a former Austrian province if there is a corpse lying resplendent in the church.
Geraniums in every window are a trademark of both Austria and the Czech Republic.
Geraniums in every window–of course!
A bicycle shop has a typical Austrian-style sign.
A bicycle shop has a typical Austrian-style sign.
This is what every small Czech town looked like when we lived in Prague. Now, the one shabby house stands out on the street.
This is what every small Czech town looked like when we lived in Prague. Now, the one shabby house stands out on the street.
Medieval houses huddle together on the slope leading down to the river.
Medieval houses huddle together on the slope leading down to the river.
The Rotunda of Santa Katerina is a UNESCO World Heritage monument thanks to the medieval frescoes inside. No photos allowed, unfortunately.
The Rotunda of Santa Katerina is a UNESCO World Heritage monument thanks to the medieval frescoes inside. No photos allowed, unfortunately, but well worth a visit if you happen t be in Znojmo.
Wow.
Wow. Just wow.

We finished up the day with a yummy fish dinner on the terrace of our hotel (the Katerina). Great way to end our first day on the road!

There is no bad beer in the Czech Republic.
There is no bad beer in the Czech Republic. None.
Sundown from the terrace.
Sundown from the terrace.

Onward to Italy!

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