Thursday, September 16, 2010

Brno, Czech Republic

Brno, the second largest Czech city, is located in south of the country, quite close to Austrian & Slovak borders. It's also a city where I spent one wonderful year. I went there as an Erasmus student, but in the end did not go too often to university since I was working on-line every morning.

But it was not my 1st visit there, the 1st time was in summer 2003, I visited my Czech penpal who was living in a village nearby and we got to spend one full day in Brno and I just loved it, actually I just loved CZ so much that I decided to learn Czech and go and live there... and I did (well I had planned to stay longer than 1 year but life ain't always easy). In summer 2007, I was attending summer classes near Prague and spent one week end in Brno and loved it much... February 2008, went there again, still loved it and I moved in in Sept 08.

Stara Radnice
Brno is very nice city, Petrov, the cathedral, is shaping the city's skyline and had always pleased my view when I came back to Brno from a trip, either by train or bus. The Castle, up a hill, is also worth a visit and from there you got a pretty view on the whole city. You also got to see Stara Radnice, the old City Hall, where hangs Brno Dragon, actually a crocodile, which is one of the city symbols. There you can also find the Brno Wheel, it is said that a carriage maker from a village around 50km away from Brno made a bet he could make a wheel so big it could drive alone to Brno... and he won his bet, but people then thought he got Evil's help and he ended up alone & in misery... On the other side, on a wall, you can see a head picking out, the story tells this man was a betrayer to Brno city and was buried alive into this wall.
There is also Namesti Svobody, Liberty Square, the main square, it is shaped in triangle and there used to be a church standing there, but still remain the Plague Statue, those kinds of statue are common in Czech Republic and are tribute to the victims of the Big Plague which happened a few centuries ago.
There are also a few nice parks in the cities, like Luzanky, close to city center, very nice to walk in, play petanque, pic-nic,... Or Kravy Hora, to get there you need to take a tram but it's pretty big and in summer time the swimming pool opens its open air part, very nice.
Why not also visit a vegetable & fruit market? Then go to Zelny Trh, or Cabbage Market, in the city center and taste local products.

Moravsky Kras
While you are in Brno, you can visit some other places around, the nature there is so wonderful. You can find nice forests all around the city. You can also go to Moravsky Kras : the Moravian Karst, there you can visit wonderful caves and walk through nice forests. It's easier to go by car but you can still catch a train to Blansko and from there take a bus to the caves. Oh and I advice you to book your cave visits.

You can also go to Slavkov-u-Brna, that you might better know as Austerlitz, you can visit the castle, walk and relax in its park. And if you got a car go and see the battle fields, which is something I could never do.

And for sure you won't wanna miss the night life... Brno is pretty active there. Pubs are everywhere, if you like beer, ask for a pivo (Czech word for Beer, the essential to know ^^), if you like strong stuff ask for a slivovice, plump alcohol, delicious!  As for food, try Gulash with knedlicky, bramborak (kind of potatoe pancake) or Smazeny Syr (Breaded cheese).
Zelny Trh with Petrov in the background
A few pubs I enjoyed there: Aloha & Silingrak for cocktail bars, Formanka, and the best of it: Clubwash! Clubwash is a concept in itself it's a laundry bar, you can wash your clothes and have a beer, enjoying free wifi, attending a concert or all kind of events, do check it out. The 1st time you might find it creepy but after a few hours you'll just wanna go back!

And clubs? Hum, there are a few ones. Two Faces can be cool, it has a small swimming pool but generally very young for the age of customers. Livingstone is very nice, can be any kind of music, I had more than a great night there. Metro is the good choice if you enjoy rock music, and there are many more places of course!

Give it a try and you'll be sure to live a great experience!

==Greetings from Dublin== 

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