The beauty of the snow

Trip Start Sep 13, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Czech Republic  ,
Monday, November 12, 2007

I'm in Olomouc now, a lovely town in the Czech Republic. It's nice to come here after Prague. There are plenty of beautiful monuments and things of cultural import, but it's smaller, less touristy, and much more homey than I ever felt Prague to be.

I came here on the train yesterday, and I watched out the window as the countryside turned to snow. There were a few flurries in Prague, not even really worthy of that name. But a few miles outside of the city the countryside was dusted, and by the time I got to Olomouc the world was covered by a blanket of white. It was beautiful to watch from the warmth of the uncrowded train car, slightly less lovely to find my way to the hostel through when I finally arrived. The trams were diverted from their normal routes because of construction, so it was a very cold hour trying to find where I was going. An old woman helped me. She didn't speak a word of English, and I speak barely five words of Czech, but she got off the tram with me and walked me to the hostel door. Very sweet.

Once I'd warmed up a bit I ventured forth again, because I'd heard there was a concert at the art museum. It turned out to be an older Czech couple and a pianist singing songs from their youth to a mostly geriatric crowd. I was the only person under 50, but it was quite fun all the same. Afterwards I went to dinner at a Chinese restaurant with an amazing view of the main square, including the town hall and the astronomical clock. Then back to the hostel for tea and conversation until bedtime.

Today I walked around with an Australian girl to see the main sights of the town. We saw the astronomical clock in action, with its figures of glorified proletarian workers left over from Stalinist days when the original figures of the Apostles were no longer in vogue. We visited churches. St. Moritz, with its famous organ (regrettably silent when we went). We visited the baroque St. Michael's church with its beautiful paintings, and the neogothic St. Wenceslas cathedral with its relics of a local saint. We stopped at a local teahouse for the famous chocolate pie, then went to the botanic gardens, where we walked amidst the softly falling snow. It was peaceful, so beautiful and calm, as though the snow was quieting the cares of the world. Exactly what I needed after the frenzy that was Prague.

After walking in the snow we went back to the hostel to thaw and drink tea, and now we're here at the cybercafe, making updates to our respective lives. And in the excitement of now having my latest batch of photos burned to disk, Im going to post some now.

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