After a day caving the bedrock of the vast Monravian Karst caverns, including the 452-foot deep gorge that is the Macocha Abyss, head for nearby Brno, the Czech Republic’s second largest city. Once home to more than 12,000 Jews prior to World War Two, today Brno is the only active Jewish community in South Moravia. The small Brno Jewish community maintains its own synagogue as well as raising funds, restoring and caring for seven synagogues and 14 cemeteries in the region.
After walking through Brno’s synagogue, the historic Old Jewish cemetery and the Jewish Museum in Brno’s Education and Culture Centre, head for the city’s charming downtown area and some much-needed Eastern European winter warmth.
If you’re in town during the holiday season, grab a glass of the spiced mulled wine sold at the outdoor kiosks and stalls around town. Nothing really warms the toes quite like a hot toddy before noon. Later in the day, linger over a mug of hot chocolate served Czech style, with dark or milk chocolate melted and stirred with steamed and frothed milk, making it more like chocolate soup than hot cocoa. The hit of caffeine and sugar will keep you toasty until dinner.
If you’re seeking something a bit more intense, try ko’ka na rozpálené st’eše, roughly translated as ‘A Cat on a Hot Roof,’ or, warm pear juice mixed with slivovitz. The plum brandy that most of us drink just on Passover packs a potent punch with an alcohol content of some 51%, enough to keep you warm throughout a cold winter night.