Popelka is the Czech version of Cindarella, screened every year around Christmas time (she’s also quite popular in Germany and Russia, I’ve heard). Fairytales are popular in Czech Republic; they are on TV all the time.
Well, this past weekend I felt a bit like Popelka because I spent the whole weekend on my hands and knees cleaning somebody else’s mess. My husband has an apartment in Brno which he has been renting out, and the tenants recently moved out and into a house, so we went to Brno this weekend to do some repairs and clean up the apartment a bit as well as have an open house viewing for potential new tenants. Unfortunately the previous tenants didn’t clean up before moving out and the place was full of well-ingrained dirt and grime that took ages to clean. Even better, every single room had paint drops everywhere, especially on the siding board, as they had painted and not cleaned the mess from dripping paint. I scrubbed so hard that I came to appreciate the terms “back-breaking work” and afterwards not only my back but also knees and wrist tendons were aching. Just like Popelka’s, I’m sure. The place did look a thousand times better afterwards though. And afterwards Popelka and the prince rewarded themselves with well-earned dinner and cocktails, so at least we got to see a bit of Brno.
For dinner we went to a local Brno brewery, Pegas, that also serves food, as my husband doesn’t miss any chance to try a new beer. He had pork ribs served with bread, mustard and horseradish and I had duck with bread dumplings and red cabbage.
Afterwards we went for cocktails at a great local bar called Bar Ktery Neexistuje. I really liked the original cocktails, which had unique components such as rooibos tea, earl grey, butterscotch vodka, cedar, bergamot and chocolate. Rooibos, originally from South Africa, seems to have become popular in recent times in Czech Republic, as we also came across red espresso and red cappuccino (made from rooibos) in a small town in the mountains last year. My favourite cocktail was Zovialny, which had flavours of chocolate, mint, bergamot and blueberry. It sounds like an odd mix, but it was just perfect.
In between eating and drinking we also got to take a look at the centre of Brno and visit the famous horse statue. The statue is famous because if you stand underneath it you get a different view to expected (I won’t spoil the surprise).
The next day it was back to cleaning and repairing. It took longer than expected, so all we had time for afterwards was an early dinner before heading back to Berlin. We stopped at a restaurant (Dřevěná růže) that had a delicious svíčková (a Czech dish of meat served with a special sauce, berry sauce accompaniment and bread dumplings). We were so hungry we ate it all before even thinking to take a photo, but I have a photo of svíčková from another time (actually this was also the main meal at our wedding, since it’s a classic favourite). Brno is in Moravia, which is a wine area, so I also tried some local white wine (my husband couldn’t as he had to drive). After that it was time for the 6 hour drive back to Berlin.
Despite or perhaps because of the hard work, it was quite a rewarding weekend. The apartment looked really lovely after we’d finished cleaning it and fixing up the kitchen, and I even felt reluctant to hand over the keys. Cleaning can also be quite meditative – I didn’t think about work the whole weekend! But hopefully next time we’ll get to see a little more of Brno.