Out of Slovakia, into Czech Republic

Trip Start Jun 07, 2009
Trip End Sep 06, 2009

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Moravia,
Wednesday, August 5, 2009

We had a bit of a sleep in and then headed out at 10am for an hour of sightseeing before catching a 12pm train for Olomouc. Sam's bites had got worse and she went to the chemist to seek some relief from the insane itching. We walked down to the old town of Bratislava which was much nicer than the area near the bus station and had a little more charm - though not nearly as nice as other places we've been to. Without the dark, threatening clouds of the day before, it did look a lot more appealing and not nearly as drab and depressing as it first had to us.

We trudged up the hill to the castle which was covered in scaffolding where major restoration works were being done, so it didn't really even look remotely picturesque. We got views from up there though, that looked out to the other side of the Danube river and right into the ugly, communist blocked suburbs of the newer (well, I'll just say it - hideous) part of town. We'd kind of made a decision that we wouldn't be able to see any of Bratislava (and hence give it the opportunity to redeem our inital impressions) in the 15 minutes of sightseeing we had left so decided to catch the 4pm train. We walked the streets of the old town to the main square and though it was ok, it was never going to be one of our favourite places. We powered back to the hostel for 12pm check out and killed some time before heading out to the train station.

We managed to work out that there was a 3pm train that we could take so happily jumped on that, eager to get out of Bratislava and on to Olomouc as soon as possible. We suspected we had to change trains at Breclav so manouvered that change with relative ease. We had half an hour to kill decided to see what we could see of the town from outside the station. As we headed out a homeless looking lady stepped in front of us with her hand out. Sam thought it was a man, probably due to the slight beard and moustache. We side stepped her, gesturing that we had no money and stepped out of the station. What we saw on our right hand side was a lady with a pram ripping in to some punky looking derelicts. They were in the middle of a huge screaming match with each other that was getting very heated. We turned away from them so it didn't look like we were watching. On the left hand side there was a young couple yelling at each other. He slammed his hat down on the ground and spat then proceeded to yell at her. Once the couple on our left started to kiss and make up VERY passionately, we decided we'd feel a lot safer and happier standing inside on the train platform instead.

The next train came along and the two and a half hour journey seemed to go really quickly so we figured we both must have fallen asleep. The countryside I saw when I was awake was either forrest or rural countryside full of either cornfields or gorgeous sunflower fields. We waited for the Olomouc station to appear, prepared to jump up and get off as quickly as we'd need to. And we waited. The arrival time came and went and Sam asked the lady conductor "Where was Olomouc?" The lady indicated for us to sit down and walked off. She came back a few minutes later with a piece of paper with a time from Prerov to Olomouc on it. With lots of gestures and pointing on her part, I finally worked out she was trying to tell us we had to change trains again at Prerov. We successfully managed to do that and 15 minutes later arrived at our destination.

We had directions from the hostel on how to get there from the station but when we got outside, discovered they wee doing road works on the tram line and the stop wasn't where they said it would be. We went across the road where there was a tram stop and tried work out the tram we should be on. As it wasn't the usual stop, there wasn't a machine to buy tickets. We'd heard horror stories about getting fined without a ticket and dídn't really want to risk it. Fortunately a guy overheard our discussions and asked if he could help us. He had two spare tickets on him and offered them to us. He then looked at our map and told us we could catch the next tram coming up. It gives you such a different first impression when the first people you meet from a country are kind and helpful - we were already taken with Olomouc! He told us where to get off and we found our way to the hostel, pressed the button and chirpy voice told us to climb four flights of stairs and come in. Those four flights actually turned out to be be two flights within each flight, so 94 steps in total. Carrying 30kgs of luggage made them just that little more painful! The lovely Camila was waiting at the top with a big welcoming smile and invited us in. I immediately fell in love with the hostel and its gorgeous bohemian type lounge/common room. She told us where everything was on a map and made us feel immediately at home.

We headed out for a bite fo some traditional food at a place she recommended. Sam put through two orders (neither of which they could give her) until she finally got something they could cook. I went for the grilled chicken with cheese and peaches. What came out for both of us was like a dessert and main course in one. They both came out with three big piles of sweet, whipped cream and fruit. Mine was actually really nice though I don't think Sam was overly impressed with hers. We headed back to the hostel and got chatting to a German guy and a Finnish guy. The German was a chess master and was here for a tournament. They told us about this bar in an aeeroplane and invited us to go with them. We decided we had to check it out so agreed to go for one beer. A Californian called Dylan joined us and we walked across the road to the grounded aeroplane. It was an old Russian Tupelov and original opened in the 70's as a restaurant for the communist elite. The entrance is a steel staircase with a locked security gate. You ring the bell and eventually, someone lets you in. It's a little seedy, pretty old, run down and dirty and you struggle for a gasp of fresh air as it fills up claustrophobically with cigarette smoke. They have a DJ (and a pretty unused looking dancefloor) who pumps out all you're favourites from the 80s and 90s. It's tacky and a little terrible but pretty damn cool! We stayed for one drink until it was overrun with a huge group of drunk Scotsmen. They were pretty loud and rowdy so we decided to move on to another place. 

The German guy was keen for a huge night and wanted some people to join him for the ride. He was slightly kooky and eccentric and would break into a sudden dance move with no warning. He was strange but also intriguing and interesting and a bit of a laugh so we decided to go with them for one more at another underground bar called the Metro.

This place was more like a cave and the walls were painted all over with murals. We sat and chatted to the guys, played Fusball and people watched. The German guy had a joint with a group of Czech's and when he came back to our group, would keep vaguing in and out of conversation. By the time we'd explained what we were trying to say to him, he'd already vagued off again and was staring into space. He was insistent that he only had to be in bed by 8am as his chess game wasn't til 4pm so we should all stay out drinking with him til then.

A couple Czech guys stumbled in with an very pretty but extermely drunk girl. We watched cautiously as she kissed and groped one of the guys who we figured was her boyfriend. He walked out to get some drinks and then the other guy was all over her. As soon as the other guy walked back in they broke apart quickly. We didn't really like the situation and were a little worried for the girl. She kept falling asleep and we almost began thinking she'd been drugged by the guys. She sat up quickly and started heaving. The "boyfriend" scooped her up and raced her to the bathroom to throw up. One beer for us turned into another four as we tried to chat to the other guy waiting for his friends to come back. The only English he knew was what you'd learn in language school ie My name is....; Where are you from?; 1,2,3,4. He then ramble in Czech to us and look away when he decided it was too hard. Then sway around in our direction again and try to talk to us.

At 2am, and after we'd watched the girl carried of again for another spew, we decided, much to the German guys dismay, that it was time for a bed. Another interesting, slightly crazy but fun night.
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