"Incognito in Olomouc" Olomouc by CatherineReichardt
Olomouc Travel Guide: 253 reviews and 842 photos
I escaped to Olomouc in an attempt to avoid conversation.
I had been at a conference in Karlovy Vary the previous week, and had spent a long weekend in Prague prior to that, where I had caught up with my parents and brother and rendezvoused with my oldest schoolfriend for the first time in over 20 years. By this point, I was all talked out (people who know me well would be staggered at the mere suggestion that this was possible!) and so I chose a destination which I had never heard of and where I knew nobody.
I liked Olomouc even before I got there - for a start, its pronounciation ('Oh-la-mootz') is unexpected, and simply added to its appeal. As soon as I boarded the train, I slipped into neutral gear and let my mind wander as Renoir cornfields studded with bright red poppies slipped peacefully by. And then, despite my best intentions, I got drawn into an amicable exchange with a delightful elderly Polish couple who were returning over the border to meet their grandchild for the first time which involved much smiling, gesticulation and broken German - so much for avoiding conversation!
Olomouc is a university town in Moravia and the Czech Republic's fourth biggest city - more importantly it offers the bonus of not seeming to feature significantly on the well-trodden Czech tourist trail. After the wall-to-wall tourists of Prague, it is a relief to arrive somewhere in which you feel inconspicuous and it's easy to blend into this pleasantly attractive town. It's a good place just to 'be' and to watch people getting on with their lives - one of my favourite activities, especially when it involves establishing myself in an al fresco cafe on a Saturday morning and watching impossibly young-looking girls with Big Hair and lads in shiny suits emerging from the Town Hall as man and wife!
If you feel more active, there are lots of tourist attractions in Olomouc to keep you gainfully occupied, from the hulking and truly monstrous Holy Trinity plague column to the much more aesthetically pleasing Wencelas Cathedral and the archdiocese museum in Olomouc Castle. However, for me the biggest drawcard by far is the 15th century astronomical clock which was redesigned in the socialist-realist style in the 1950s and is one of the most bizarre pieces of political propaganda that you're ever likely to come across - absolutely riviting, and (at least to my mind) worth visiting Olomouc for just by itself!
I should mention that the reason that Olomouc first appeared on my radar was because I read that it was the nearest big town to Moravsky Krumlov, the village in which the artist Alphonse Mucha's Slavic Epic is displayed. I fell in love with Mucha's gorgeously romantic Art Deco artwork when I first visited Prague in the early 90s (see my travel tip on the Mucha Museum in Prague), and the prospect of viewing this monumental patriotic opus was thrilling. By the sounds of it, the Epic is indeed epic, and the culmination of Mucha's life's work: a cycle of 20 enormous paintings depicting the history of the Czech and Slav people. This work was donated to the city of Prague in 1928, but spent 25 years rolled up because there wasn't a suitable space for its display (a condition of Mucha's donation) and it has been displayed in this relative backwater for nearly 40 years.
As it turned out, getting to Moravsky Krumlov turned out to be just a little too hard for someone who was by now thoroughly enjoying cruising in low gear, and I didn't feel so bad about this when I discovered that the Epic was due to be transferred to Prague in 2010 (a city I tend to pass through from time to time). However I see that there is currently a legal battle over the ownership of the Epic and the conditions of transfer/display, so it looks like I may just have to have another go at getting to Moravsky Krumlov - if you get there before me, let me know what it's like!
- Pros:Small, neat, unpretentious and comfortably accessible
- Cons:A touch too much baroque for my tastes! ;)
- In a nutshell:The ideal antidote to Prague's tourist hoards!
This charming family group of glazed pottery figures were my contribution to our family Christmas tree from... more travel advice
Call me macabre, but I have a huge interest in the plague epidemics which ravaged Europe in the Middle Ages and the way... more travel advice
CatherineReichardt's Related Pages
Olomouc Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "more than a smelly cheese !!!"
- "Olomouc- the hidden jewel of the Czech Republic"
- "Few days in Olomouc"
- "hund's Olomouc page for uncommon tourists"
- "Incognito in Olomouc"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Olomouc
- Hotels in Olomouc
- Transportation in Olomouc
- Nightlife in Olomouc
- Restaurants in Olomouc
- Shopping in Olomouc
- Warnings and Dangers in Olomouc
- See All...
Explore the World
Badges & Stats in Olomouc
- 9 Reviews
- 11 Photos
- 1 Forum posts
- 8 Comments
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (75)
Have you been to Olomouc?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Olomouc
- Posted in Miscellaneous Forum "Re: feels like spam everytime I..."
- Wrote a Review Pottery figures for the Christmas tree in Olomouc Shopping
- Commented on one of CatherineReichardt's Olomouc travel pages
- Uploaded a Photo to "Olomouc's Orthodox church"
- updated a Olomouc Travel Page "Incognito in Olomouc"
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination Johannesburg Intro, 208 reviews, 285 photos, 2 travelogues
- Cape Town Intro, 85 reviews, 107 photos, 1 travelogue
- Top 5 Page for this destination Pretoria Intro, 69 reviews, 112 photos, 2 travelogues
- Paris Intro, 69 reviews, 89 photos, 1 travelogue
- New York City Intro, 72 reviews, 83 photos
- London Intro, 57 reviews, 76 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Lesotho Intro, 58 reviews, 69 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Tallinn Intro, 41 reviews, 71 photos, 2 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Durban Intro, 48 reviews, 50 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Avignon Intro, 38 reviews, 60 photos, 3 travelogues
FriendsSee All Friends (82)
Latest Olomouc hotel reviews
- Poets Corner Hostel
- 53 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Feb 25, 2013
- Hotel Flora
- 17 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Mar 16, 2013
- Pension Na HradE
- 23 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 29, 2013
- Hotel Sigma Olomouc
- 8 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Oct 6, 2011
- Narodni Dum
- 7 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jan 23, 2010
- Hotel Arigone
- 15 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 3, 2013
- BEST Hotel Garni Olomouc
- 5 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 6, 2011
- Hotel Gemo
- 26 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 24, 2012