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Olomouc: Czech rep is not only Prague…

olomCzech rep is not only Prague. This is what you will understand visiting Olomouc. Actually the best part of this country is outside the (beautiful) capital.

The city contains several large squares -the main one is adorned with the Holy Trinity Column, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site; an astronomical clock in an uncommon Socialist Realist style; six baroque fountains and much more.

Other reasons to discover this city are listed below:

olom3– Beers. Small breweries are growing a lot in Czech land. This is only a good thing for beer lovers, they are ruling the market and big corporations have to follow them, have increased the quality, adapted the way they produce beers to, more naturally to able to compete with small-family run breweries. This is an important lesson to be learnt. A better economy, run from below and not dictated from above is very possible. Support small beers, don’t be afraid to try unknown labels, avoid big names such pilsner urquell, staropramen, gambrinus. You can drink a MUCH better product if you only want, at least in Czech rep. Litovel, Holba, Bernard, … In Olomouc try the small brewery and pub Moritz, Svatováclavský pivovar and Měšťanský pivovar

olom4– Hostel Poet’s corner. This small, cozy and genuine hostel has a nice story behind. You will have good time, meeting the owners of the hostel and its staff, they will give you all the useful info to discover Olomouc. You might join them for a beer and have good memories about Olomouc. The rooms are big, beds are comfortable and everything is quiet and kept clean. I liked the way it is decorated, the common room has old-style chairs and couches. You will also meet good and real travellers, for a laid back conversation and hang out time

olom9– A visit to Olomouc is a perfect day trip. Use the high class service company Student Agency, for a cheap but incredibly comfortable journey. Hostess, will provide you with free water, newspaper and hot drinks… Their prices are the best in the whole country. From Prague it takes not more than 2 and half hours and it costs (only) 7 Euro! Olomouc is a compact city, no need to use bus or tram to move around, from train station catch the tram, ticket is 14 czk – something like 0,50€

olom1– Park, botanic garden and…beer gardens. Enjoy the summer and the good seasons being outside in the city. There is a nice city park just outside the historical surrounded by medieval walls. Try to search for the ”hidden garden”. Is possible to visit a nice botanical garden, too.

– Olomouc will now be competing in the Extra League Hockey (the highest league
in the country) after a great season in first divison in 2013/14

The stadium is just around the corner from the Poet’s corner hostel. The Olomouc ‘Roosters’ have a strong following in Hockey mad Czech Republic.

olom2– Olomouc is a University city, with almost the 20% of its population formed by students. It is the second oldest university in Czech rep, with all the good and dark sides: empty during weekend and festivities, crowded during week-days. Parties, bars, clubs, unconventional arts are there for you.

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Prague in 5 budget tips

pr 1 (jeden): Prague’s transportation works perfectly, use it! 30 minutes ticket costs 24czk (Czech Crowns – around  26 czk are 1€), 90 minutes costs 32czk, 24hrs ticket costs 110czk, 72hrs ticket costs 310czk.  Try to avoid getting a taxi on the street (it´s cheaper to reserve it by phone).Check out Prague transportation website for all the information you might need. At the airport the cheapest way to get to the city is by public bus 119 that goes to its terminus (Dejvická, Metro A), from there go downstairs to the metro station and catch the subway train (with the same ticket), alternately take bus 100 to subway station Zličín (Metro B). At night, bus 510 takes you to the “Jiráskovo náměstí” or “I.P.Pavlova” stop close to the centre. Be sure to have some local currency ready. Buy a ticket from the kiosk called Public Transport in both (Terminal 1, 2) the arrivals halls (07:00-21:00, credit cards accepted) or the vending machine, next to the bus stop. You can also buy the ticket from the driver, it is slightly more expensive.

useit 2 (dvě): If you are a young traveller or an independent explorer, are you bored with classic tours and touristic guides? Then you shouldn’t miss the best city guide!

Use-it is not commercial, no-nonsense, free, useful, up-to-date and made by young locals. Only best info and tips! Practical info, a small useful vocabulary, small public transportation plan, tips about czech food and local habits and much much more.

Prague is not only a wonderful city full of tourists, you can discover hidden gems by following suggestions written by young locals.

The map is available in several hostels (list here), @ the Use-IT info centre (open only in summer, so far, in Trojanova ), @Prague City Tourism, Old Town Hall, @ Prague City Tourism, Rytířská 31, @Prague City Tourism, Václav Havel Airport Prague, Terminal 2

pr1 3(tři): In a cold/rainy/lazy day have a WONDERFUL city tour by public tram nr. 22 – it goes from the alternative zones of the cities to the upper part, very close to the castle, where you can enjoy a stunning view.

Tram 22, is a public transportation tram, no extra fee (with a 90 minutes ticket/32czk you can see everything). It follows one of Prague’s most scenic routes, passing by the National Theater to Staroměstská and Malostranská metro stations, and continuing up to the Belvedere, royal garden, Prague Castle and Pohořelec, with some stunning views along the way. If you have time to explore more, take a chance to visit ‘Novy svet‘ area, no tourists around, only small houses and cobblestone streets. Same applies for the return route, try to go back until the modern part of the city, to understand the real Prague. Do NOT miss Tram 22!!!!!

 

prpub 4(čtyři): Czech Pub (in Czech “hospoda” or ”pivnice“ ) is the best place to meet locals for a chat and, of course, a drink.  The exact brand of beer usually vary from pub to pub, and is usually shown at the sign outside nearby the pub name. Currently the best beers are the ones from small and local breweries, if possible prefer those to the usual pilsner urquell, gambrinus and staropramenGo local! Try Kofola, a coke-like drink, very popular, and some Czechs say it is the best thing the communists gave them.  Instead of the globalized coke drinking brands drink Kofola, it’s tastier and cheaper! 

Hungry? Check the daily menu (‘denni menu ) and go for it during every weekday between 11am and 2pm, almost every restaurant in Prague has it, usually is displayed on a blackboard at the entrance, with price as well. Generally it consists in a soup and a main dish and it costs less than 5 euro.  Quality and quantity are both very good.

cye5 (pět ): Where to sleep? Stay at Czech INN hostel.

It is located a few metro stops from the centre, in a young and alternative area of Prague, few metres from Krymska street and Zizkov district, where the REAL local nightlife is going on. The hostel is well-organized. Rooms are kept clean and beds are really comfortable. The hostel has its own bar/pub to warm up for the night …

Not far from the hostel (in the same street, Francouzska, direction to centre) there are 2 nice places where to eat: Marthy’s kitchen (a small and cozy bistro with BIO food) and U Bulinu, a big restaurant with good service and food

Not only Prague

Prague, capital of Czech Republic (aka CR), is one of the most visited and beautiful city in the whole world, this is a fact, however only few travellers were (and are) ‘brave’ enough to discover the rest of the country, which is so far to be compared to its biggest and most important city.

Czech Republic is not Prague, at all, feel free to decide whether in a good way or not…

Below few pictures of my last visit in Czech Republic (not in Prague…).

2013-05-04 19.45.01Let’s start from my arrival at Brno, the second largest city in CR, on Saturday at around 1930…well, this picture says a lot, I guess.

The church up the hill is called ‘Petrov’, one of the main attraction and this is the core of the city centre, almost no one around. This doesn’t mean that Brno is a boring city, not at all!!!!Actually Brno is a vibrant university city. There are around 89,000 university students within a total 380,000 inhabitants.

Easily by that time people are having dinner at home, in restaurants or already started their intense weekend…

The pictures below says a lot about the city and the rest of the country too…food and hospitality!

On the left Sunday lunch, as tradition families prepare a tipical czech meal (roasted duck with stuffed cabbages and potatos dumpling), included soup; on the right picture, a dinner at another friend’s home, ingredients are similar and note that the ‘evergreen’ and always present is the beer: Starobrno!!! 🙂

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Beer that can be found in abboundance in the whole country and this is again another difference with Prague.

Quality of beer is much more appreciated and cared outside the capital city. Tourists and travellers are happy with the commercial brands offered them in prague pubs.

Czech people DO care about beer, a lot, as they consume the highest amount of beer in Europe, and czech people rather prefer small local breweries that offer highest quality and taste instead of industrial and commercial brands…As I have many local friends (I used to visit and live in Brno for several years) I follow their advises and I have to say, I enjoy the pure pleasure of good beers.

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These last pictures had been taken when I was in Trebic (I spent there a week, after being the weekend in Brno), at one of my best czech friend’s home.

Trebic, with its jew area rewarded by UNESCO in its World Heritage list, is a small city in vysocina region, just in the middle of CR, 100 km far from Prague and almost the same from Brno.

Visocina is a beautiful region, with cozy small towns, like Zdar nad Sazavou, rewarded by UNESCO in its World Heritage list, Telč, with a perfectly preserved Renaissance town centre surrounded by shallow man-made lakes, rewarded by UNESCO in its World Heritage list and Jihlava (the main city of the region), forests and lakes.

If you like hiking, fishing in relaxed small lakes, if you like peaceful natural environment, well, this is the place in Czech Republic you should go.

 

Eventually is not a coincidence that my long trip ended here, in my beloved Brno. I feel very close to this city and this part of CR, Moravia and Vysocina.

It means a lot for me, good friends, love (well, yes, I had a few stories here and almost all of them were with deep and sincere feelings), good life, fun, outdoor activities and relax and much, much more. Thanks to Brno and my czech friends!

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