Friday, July 25, 2008

Cities in the Czech Republic that aren’t Prague

I have now been to three non-Prague cities in the Czech Republic: Plzeň, Brno, and Olomouc. You may remember that the main reason I've been traveling this summer is the month and a half of “free time” I had between the conference I attended in Tartu, Estonia (at the end of May) and summer school, which I just started this week in the town Olomouc in the Czech Republic.

Here’s a map of the Czech Republic again. Plzeň is southwest of Prague. Brno & Olomouc are much further east – in Moravia. Brno is the second biggest city in the Czech Republic after Prague, and Olomouc is well known for having a historical and prestigious university (where I have summer school!).

Before coming to Olomouc, I spent a few days in Brno. It’s a fun town. I met some locals… well sort of locals. Actually I met a few expats from western Europe, an American student, and a handful of Czechs. The expats own a launderette in Brno and after I washed my clothes, they showed me some Brno night life. It was a good time… until the next day when I was quite hung over. But Brno is pretty and if I hadn’t been so hung over I’m sure I could have seen all the main sights in a day.

I stopped drinking for a day or two when I came to Olomouc last Sunday for Czech summer school at Palacky University. Even though I don’t know Czech very well (yet!) they placed me in an advanced class (Russian helps me do well on Czech grammar tests… Russian unfortunately doesn’t help me much with speaking Czech!).

This is the sign for the main square in Olomouc. It means something like 'upper square' & not what you might be thinking!

I quite like visiting smaller Czech cities after my time in Prague. Though Prague is fun to explore, the summer tourists were really starting to get on my nerves. Here in Olomouc I have a purpose again (as a student and not just a traveler) and am finally seeing more of Czech - not tourist - culture and life.

I’m slowly easing into summer school mode. We have about four hours of morning classes, but (thankfully!) not too much homework. There are a lot of cultural lectures after classes on topics such as Czech history, film, literature, etc. I haven’t fully explored the city yet because of summer school, so I don’t have too many pictures yet. But you can catch a glimpse of me in the following clip from the Czech Tuesday night news. They came to our class and interviewed a couple of us – one American (not me - I managed to avoid being interviewed), a Norwegian girl and a Bulgarian girl. In the clip you can also see my teacher (the man with glasses) and I'm sitting behind him on the left side of the screen. I’m in a few other shots too - look for the brown short-sleeved shirt.


iwanagain said...

You're totally famous. At least I think you are because I have no idea what the story was about. Sounds like your summer just keeps getting better and better. It's probably fun to be around students again. BTW... What's granny's story?

Julia M. said...

I don't think a non-speaking role on the Moravian Tuesday evening news makes famous, but it's fun to pretend. The older couple are retirees from England who are studying Czech for fun. Cool, huh?