Olomouc. Population 102,004. There is a tourism attempt in this town, but it's on the sleepy second tier of importance behind university life, which made it the perfect place, in retrospect, for us to spend a few days decompressing from City Visiting before heading on to our next Workaway. To be honest, it was kind of luck that led us to this place from Krakow, throwing our digital dart at the digital map. Originally, we had been planning on going from Krakow to Prague but decided to scale back, instead taking the southern route to Černovice through Brno. Then we scaled back once more in the search for something resembling more of a regular life town. Enter: Olomouc.
It's easy to get swept up from major city to major city, attraction to attraction, but it's also easy to get burnt out on this after a bit; our minds overloaded with input but without enough downtime to digest it all. Our excellent hostel in Olomouc, Poet's Corner, also played a big part in helping to slow things down during the three days we spent there. Armed with the information from their many homemade reference binders, as well as the most friendly staff around, we covered most of the town: the main square featuring the UNESCO listed Holy Trinity Column and the Czech Republic's second largest astronomical clock*, the several baroque cathedrals, the Czech specialty dessert of warm raspberries with ice cream (a real challenge for me...*cough*), and the contemporary art museum. The latter of which was particularly interesting in the way it connected where we'd come from - a show by Polish sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz that was in part based on events from WWII - to where we had just started to explore, complete with Czech artists like my personal favorite: Vojtěc Preissig.
In between all this, we managed to complete the Poet's Corner treasure hunt for nine random sights and teeny details around town and discovered the beauty of South Moravian white wines and the best hefeweizen I've ever had at the St. Wenceclas microbrewery.
It's also worth noting how much small yet impressive street art can be found around Olomouc. Maybe it's the university influence? Regardless, it reinforces the notion that it doesn't have to be big (or in a big city) to hold rank with the best:
Olomouc was, in short, a perfect introduction to our time in the Czech Republic. One of those places that came out of the blue at the right time to set us up on the right foot for our three train, four kilometer walk to Nový Mlýn, 70 miles south of Prague. Workaway number three.
* The astronomical clock has one entirely lackluster and peculiar presentation every day at noon. In general, a pretty large crowd gathers to hear the three traditional Czech songs played out on bells, witness the slow rotation of content proletariat men and women, and leave the premises wondering what it was exactly they just saw. You can hear it HERE. That said, it did have some impressive tile work thanks to Karel Svolinský.
Location:Vodičkova, Prague 1, Czech Republic