Been here before

Trip Start Nov 15, 2005
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Trip End Aug 15, 2008


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Saturday, June 10, 2006

So I actually came here about two months earlier, but liked it enough that I felt it worthy of a return visit. It also helps to have a friend working here acting as a tour guide :)

Olomouc is a quiet (and I do mean quiet) little town with a surprising amount around it, though it may only seem this way because of the incredible job the people at the Poet's Corner hostel do. I don't think I've ever had a half hour chat on what to do and where to go with the owner of a hostel immediately on arrival before; unfortunately, the first time I came here it was 10:30 in the evening, the whole trip had been a bit spontaneous (I only had my toothbrush and a cd player with me) following a very long night and all I wanted to do was collapse and relax somewhere that wasn't Prague for a while. Fortunately, I was in a better state on the return visit, and able to take some of it in.

Walking around Olomouc during the weekend is a surreal experience, especially coming from Prague. Picturesque, mostly lined with old cobbled streets, and with two old squares of reasonable size, it's quite disconcerting to see them almost deserted. Definately preferable to having to fight your way around Prague old town, but it doesn't seem quite right, somehow. Still, the peace and quiet was a welcome relief. Plenty of towers to climb about town as well. Too many, one might say (thanks Karen!). Thankfully, to make up for all that expended energy, there are plenty of sinful cafes in which to recover. The Olomouc-renowned chocolate pie was an experience.
Another odd thing about Olomouc, given it's size and the general lack of people around on the wekends, is the sheer quantity of bars around the place :) The hostel has an A-Z, listing places under every letter (even Q and X, I think), to give you some idea. I was disappointed not to make it to the aeroplane bar (in an old aeroplane, obviously) but I don't think I've ever been to a bar with a climbing wall before. Great idea, especially after a few beers!

Roznov, not far from Olomouc, is home to an open air museum of the traditional aspects of Moravian life, from the wooden village to the old farming methods used. They really were quite ingenious when it came to using the local streams to power all sorts of labour saving devices. Quite interesting in itself, and a relaxing way to spend a sunday, but there was also a cultural festival of sorts going on while we were there. Touristy, but Czech touristy, so that's okay ;) Lots of people running around in costume and doing traditional dances, made all the more fun by the fact that we had no idea what any of it was actually about, and had to interpret it for ourselves. I particularly enjoyed the 'Dance of the Goat Molester'.

A shame I wasn't able to spend more time here, as it's a great place to unwind for a while, to sit back and do nothing even though there's plenty around. Maybe on the way back through :)
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