Since my plane leaves early Saturday, Derek and I are heading to Bratislava for the night so that the morning drive is much shorter. We got up a little later then usual and had a more relaxed morning before heading south. Derek had looked into the Venus of Dolni Vestonice which is a small female clay figure that was created some 29,000 years ago. We got to the small town of Dolni Vestonice to discover that things are pretty much closed for the winter. After a very quick stop we headed a long the lake towards Pavlov. We stopped shortly after leaving town when we came across the location of the Venus find. A plaque described the 1925 find and other subsequent finds. Everything is now covered up and its back to the farmers field. Much like the Viking finds in New Foundland. We continued through Pavlov (again with a very quick stop) and headed to the first of two Lichtenstein castles. The first was in the town of Mikulov. The land was given to the Lichtenstein family in 1250. The town is very small and probably was only there to serve the castle. After a little searching Derek and I would a open restaurant to have lunch. I had the schnitzel and Derek goulash. It is quite surprising to see such a large castle that was only rarely used by the family. Again because of winter most of the town was closed. So we definitely did not have to fight the crowds. After a look around the outside of the castle we headed to Mikulov’s twin in the town of Lednice. This again is a Lichtenstein castle. It is in much better condition then the previous castle. The Lednice castle was quite spectacular. Even in the early spring the gardens are impressive. There is a large variety of trees, many of them very old. They are numbered for identification. Some of the largest oak trees I have ever seen where on this property. Attached to the castle was a very large and operational greenhouse. It was open so Derek and I went for a tour. Inside the greenhouse was a tropical paradise, (see pictures).
By now it was getting late so we headed to Bratislava. Just before the boarder Derek and I ran into a large traffic jam consisting mostly of large 18 wheelers. It took us over an hour to cross the boarder. We later found out that it was some dispute between truckers at the Hungarian boarders that caused our backup. Once we checked into our hotel in Bratislava we headed by foot into town. Derek lived in Bratislava for a little while so I thought he new his was around town. We tried to find a number of restaurants but got quickly lost. After quite a bit of walking out in the cold we decided to stop for a quick beer. We found a small quaint place down a side street that was perfect for a couple of cold ones. I used my tablet to do some restaurant searching and found one that was highly rated. Derek said that he could find the place. He did not disappoint. The place was very large and very busy. Wow. I had pork ribs and Derek duck. Both were excellent. The beer was great as usual. After dinner we headed back for an early trip to Wein. Thanks again Derek for being a perfect host.