Highlights: Czech Republic

OlomoucPoet's Corner Hostel: Pretty much the cosiest, friendliest, most helpful hostel around. It feels like an apartment and they have info and recommendations for loads of things within about a five country radius. They also directed us to nearly all of the Olomouc highlights listed here.

Svatováclavský Pivovar: A microbrewery offering the best hefeweizen of my (eli) beerdrinking career, as well as the place we (casey) discovered Czech white wine. Also featuring a menu with an incredible deliciousness-to-budget ratio.

Olomouc Muzeum of Art: We went because there was an exhibit by a Polish sculptor, but found ourselves quite please with the rest of the collection as well: chair design from the past 200 or so years and a section on the Czech art nouveau movement including a couple pieces by a new personal favorite, Vojteč Preissig.

Kavarna Cafe Bar Piccolo: Warm raspberries with ice cream are something of a Czech favorite when it comes to dessert and the Piccolo Cafe was, across the board, recommended as the place for it. And rightfully so.

Street art: Hard to explain this, exactly, except to say that there was just really cool street art, much of it quite small, seemingly everywhere around town. Stencils, the tetris sidewalk (see the Olomouc. Olla-moats. post for photo), and even some cool 3D foam-core.

Prague Mamacoffee: A cafe/coffeeshop right in the downtown area that's comfortable and atmospheric enough to sit and read or write or chat, with a staff that's kind enough to allow it and a menu that's tasty enough to encourage it. Also featuring lots of info on what's going on around town, as well as a small selection of totally hip but awesome paper products from...

Papelote: Simple paper products for journals and sketchbooks and whatever else you feel like attaching them to or putting in them. Felt sleeves, cloth pencils rolls, elastic pen clips. Check. Check. Check. Like I said, totally hip, but also really awesome.

Futura Project: An exhibition space and art center on Prague's west side. Unfortunately, we didn't actually get to see anything here, as mentioned in the Prague post, but it's clear from their website that they have their noses in all sorts of good happenings.

Petřín Hill: Also covered in the Prague post!

Malý Buddha: A vegetarian restaurant on between the castle and Petřín Hill with the most refreshing ginger salad this side of...somewhere very far away. Delicious.

De-sign: A little handmade/local craft boutique shop that we found out about from one of the aforementioned pamphlets in Mamacoffee. They largely sell beautifully painted and designed porcelain wares, as that's where their interests lie, but that's just it - the owners actually make all nearly everything in the store, and know and work closely with the people who made the rest.

The public transportation system: Efficient, easy to use, and best of all, on time. Thanks, Prague.

In General Kamenice swimming hole: I'm not even sure exactly where this was, except that it was near the town of Kamenice in eastern Bohemia. Our Workaway hosts shared it with us. What it is is the most perfect quarry swimming hole with pure clean water that's deep enough to jump in anywhere around it but still manages to be warm enough. It also has a cliff wall with about eight or ten different jumping heights so if one meter isn't high enough for you, Mr. or Mrs. Thrillseeker, you can go for something more like ten or twelve meters.

Czech Wine: Already sort of covered but in short, it's delicious and, at least within the country, cheap. We stayed mostly in the white category, as it was pretty hot while we were there, and of those found particular favorites in the Müller-Thurgau and Veltlínské Zelené varieties.

Learning basket weaving and spoon whittling: Part of our after-hours activities while at our Workaway, picked up under the tutelage of and alongside our co-workers. Who knew Tetrapaks had such a second life waiting?

Conversation and idea sharing over ridiculously good meals at Nový Mlýn: Hard to put the value of this into words, though I guess I already tried in the Nový Mlýn post. Nothing beats a brain stimulating conversation shared over an amazing home-cooked dinner.

Location:Budapest, Hungary