This year’s big trip

I’ve been fortunate over the past few years to visit a number of interesting places. Many of those have been short stay, primarily work-related trips.  But by tacking on a day or two of vacation I’ve been able to see some interesting things and have some wonderful experiences that I cherish.  With that said, there’s nothing that compares to a “big trip”.  For us, that’s usually a once a year thing when our work and vacation schedules can be aligned for a two week escape.  Last year it was a four country tour of Scandinavia, the year before had us wandering around Switzerland and down to Milan.  This year our big trip is a two week jaunt to the Czech Republic with an ambitious 40 hour side trip to Vienna thrown in because we’ll be “in the neighbourhood”.

The Czech Republic has been high on our must visit list for a while.  We’ve rented an apartment in Prague for two weeks and will be exploring the city at a leisurely pace.  What’s on our itinerary?  A couple of day trips –  one to Terezín to learn about its horrific history during WWII, another one (perhaps more of a pilgrimage for me) to Plzeň, the birthplace of pilsner beer.  An AC Sparta Praha soccer match gets us to our first game after all our previous trips failed to align with European soccer schedules.  There’s a night at the opera, some castles, a few museums, and a lot of leisurely exploring, hanging out in parks and cafes, and drinking in what will be spectacularly beautiful surroundings.

Our last couple of big trips were less about food and drink than normal.  This one will be very different.  I’m excited to try some traditional Czech cuisine – in particular, pork knee, roast goose, goulash, dumplings and the pungent domestic cheese, Olomoucké tvarůžky.    As a beer lover, my travel map is littered with pins for hopeful visits to many tankovna pubs so I can sample the finest Czech beer at its unpasteurized and unfiltered best.  In Vienna I hope to try some of the world’s best coffee, have a piece (or 3) of sachertorte, and spend an evening at a heuriger on the outskirts of the city sampling the young, fresh white wines produced on the hills of the Danube.

Here’s to this year’s big trip which can’t get here fast enough!

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