Following a strangely fascinating start to the day at Kutna Hora’s Human Bone Church (if you haven’t already read my post on this then trust me when I say…you need to see it to believe it!), we set off for the historically beautiful Moravian city of Olomouc.
After dropping our bags off at the extremely smart and friendly Hotel Flora, we let our Busabout guide do what he did best and guide us through the best sights of the city, followed nicely by a spot of local wine tasting…of course!
Olomouc is a without doubt a truly captivating city and an awe-inspiring spiritual metropolis. So, if you love European churches then this is an excellent place to be! Home to more than 15 different cathedrals and churches, this city is at the heart of Moravian religion and has been for more than a thousand years.
That said, if I’m completely honest…at the time, the thought of walking around churches on an incredibly hot afternoon didn’t exactly strike me as fun! But this is what a tour group is all about. As well as seeing all the main sights, you’re encouraged to do things you perhaps wouldn’t normally do, and on this occasion I’m glad I went along for the walk.
Our first historical sight of the afternoon was at Olomouc’s main town square. Here we found the impressive 35m tall baroque structure called The Holy Trinity Column, and Olomouc’s City Hall complete with an Astronomical Clock. It’s the second of two Astronomical Clocks in Czech Republic (second after Prague), and is as complex in design as it is in history. After the original 14th century clock was destroyed at the end of World War II, the Astronomical Clock we see today was reconstructed in the style of social realism. It stands there offering a rare insight into the communist era, depicting large mosaics of workers, farmers and scientists. By no means is this clock an ordinary…erm clock. As well as showing the usual minutes and hours, it also shows the week, month, the phase of the moon and a star map. You could literally stand there all day trying to figure it out!
As the walk continued, we ventured past the St. Wenceslas Cathedral boasting the second tallest spire in the country and the Neo-baroque styled Chapel of St. John Sarkander and St Michaels Church. Each uniquely beautiful in their own way! There was one thing that stood out to me compared to any other church, cathedral or chapel I’ve visited in Europe though…the total lack of tourists (except for us of course). The few people in and around these places of worship were in fact locals and when you’re used to seeing tourists getting snap-happy all around you, this made an incredibly pleasant change. It also really emphasised the wonderful, tranquil atmosphere this city can offer its guests.
Fear not though, if you’re looking for a lively time, Olomouc can certainly offer that too. Along with the rest of our Busabout group, we began the evening sampling some Moravian wine. Although we tried our best to take the ‘wine tasting’ seriously, it inevitably turned into a bit of a social event, which might I add, was a lot of fun. The wine was lovely though, and it definitely gave us the confidence to go on and try more local delicacies that evening.
Continuing with the theme of alcohol, we ventured onto the next bar to discover why Czech beer is so famous! Recommended by our Slovakian born bus driver, we opted for a glass of light beer and dark beer mixed together – amazing! After a few of these, we were more than ready to try some Czech foodie delights.
Eastern Europe is renowned for its hearty and wholesome dishes, so after whittling down the menu to a select few I finally chose beef goulash in a bread bowl – I don’t think you can get more hearty than that! Jam-packed full of delicious meat, sausages, veg and a gravy like sauce, it was the perfect way to fill up after a boozy night in Olomouc.
And that was Day 2 done and dusted, as my Mother would say! We had seen and experienced so much already on this Eastern Europe Trek, and I’m loving reliving all these incredible memories as I write these posts. To read about day 3 featuring my moving experience of Auschwitz and Birkenau, click here.
Have you ever visited Olomouc? What was your experience of this Moravian city like? Let’s get chatting!