Thursday, June 14, 2012

Our Trip to Olomouc

My first trip to Olomouc, Czech Republic was this winter with a visiting friend. We had such a great time and could not stop talking about it! When some friends wanted to go this spring, I was more than happy to join along. We made the trip in early May and the weather was perfect for us, sunshine the entire trip! Here are a few of the photos I took along the way!

Olomouc is a city in the eastern region of the Czech Republic and is located in Moravia. It dates back to the at leas the 10th century. It is the historical capital of Moravia. During the 30 years war, Olomouc was occupied by the Swedish, who left the city in ruins. Therefore, the capital of Moravia was moved to Brno, where it remains today. Olomouc is a city of about 100,000 people. It is a university city,  home to Palack√Ĺ University which was founded in 1573, and its students makeup a quarter of the cities population.

The train was very full, we had to sit in the hallway the entire three hour ride there. Matthew tried to be productive and study Czech. Though, the study conditions were less than ideal.

Olomouc has six famous baroque fountains: five depicting roman gods and one depicting Julius Caesar (the founder of the city according to legend). Additionally, there is one contemporary fountain that stands in the main square. 

In the main square stands the famous astronomical clock, which dates back to 1420. The clock has been worked on throughout its history. During the Second World War, it was almost completely destroyed as retreating Nazi soldiers fired shots at the structure. The only remaining pieces of the original structure can be seen at a local museum. It was re-done in the socialist-realist style and depicts members of the proletariat on its facade (workers, farmers, athletes, and scientists). The clock strikes every day at noon and leaves a lot to be desired (video). 

We spent Saturday afternoon walking through the park, Smetanovy sady. It was such a lovely day and a really nice park. We saw two black swans and a man feeding them from his mouth! Also, these new parents and their ducklings were too cute.

Since Olomouc is a student town, there is a very vibrant nightlife. We managed to find a few fun bars to check out. The first was Klub Vertigo, we spent the evening enjoying blueberry beer and playing cards. Its name and decor are all centered around Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. The second was Bar Letka, whose seedy clientele are forgiven by the fact that you are in an airplane. The bar is inside of an old Soviet airplane, which was brought to Olomouc as a high end restaurant for the leaders of the communist party in the area. Needless to say, it is one of the strangest places I have encountered in my travels. 

This is a view of the bar from the outside. It is strange to stumble upon an airplane on the side of the road and adds a lot of character to the city. 

On our last last morning in Olomouc, we visited the Archdiocese museum, the only one of its kind in the Czech Republic, which neighbors Saint Wenceslas Cathedral, pictured above. It is a lovely neo-gothic cathedral from 1131. 

Afternoon Coffee at Cafe 87

Overall, the trip to Olomouc was a huge success. I highly recommend a trip to this city if you are in the Czech Republic. Despite its small size, it is full of fun and lively places. If you are in the area during the winter, the Christmas Market is a must see. 

<3 Amy

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