After lunch, my main objective was to catch the tram back to our dry, warm hotel room for a much needed siesta. The Missus however, had other plans, the clock was inching its way to high noon and the Missus wanted to see the "show".....which, unlike what happens in Prague lasts a whole six minutes...which seems like 60 minutes in the wind and rain. It was just the Missus and I, plus about 4 (of 12) hardy, perhaps foolish, obviously tourists who actually stood and watch the parade of figures march by. The original clock was said to be the grandest in Europe, but it was destroyed by the Nazis in World War 2. This version was rebuilt by the Communist regime in 1953. So instead of apostles marching by, you get milkmaids, blacksmiths, teachers, chemists....good communists one and all!
So, while the clock in Prague had me humming "It's a Small World", this one was more like, "Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, it's off to work we go....."
There are many fountains in the Upper Square area. most of them have characters out of Greek Mythology. There's one of Caesar, who is said to have founded Olomouc, though the city was once a Roman encampment, there's no documentation that Caesar actually ever visited in person.
But my favorite, is the Turtle Fountain right next to the Town Hall.
The turtle is said to represent Olomouc's ability to persevere. On its back resides a pillar on which there are etchings of maps and other documents. The fountain itself is called the Arion Fountain which actually depicts the story of a poet saved when thrown overboard by a dolphin and yes, there's a dolphin and I suppose the poet.....but it's the turtles I remember.
We did eventually make it back to our room and a short nap ensued. After which, the Missus was ready to get going. So we made the same walk we did earlier.......
This time around, in spite of the angry looking clouds, we took our time. We turned up a street and found St Wenceslas Cathedral. Not only is Olomouc a college town but the Roman Catholic Archdiocese for the Czech Republic is located here. It was established in 1063..... So a visit to St Wenceslas Cathedral just seemed to be the right thing.
Being the seat of the Catholic Church, there have been many esteemed visitors. Their visits have been documented on displays within the cathedral, Pope John Paul II (more on this later) and Mother Teresa (Matka Tereza) jumped out at me.
And while I'm a sorta-kinda agnostic-thiest, born Buddhist, raised Jehovah's Witness, grown to cynic.....I respect the beliefs of others.
I also find the history, as much as I'm willing to scratch, fascinating. And yes, those are photos of Mother Teresa's visit.
What seemed a bit strange to us, was, while Olomouc has a population of over 100,000 with an urban population of about 500,000, things just seemed mighty quiet.
We headed back up to the Upper Square area and it seemed almost abandoned.
The Missus also wasn't sold on my choice for dinner either.....and it became even tougher when we had to try and find the place. Which, we of course finally did, a non-descript simple building.
And yet, there seemed to be no activity. However, this was no sign of what was actually going on within St Wenceslas Brewery. As you walked to the door, you could hear the buzz of conversation. This was the largest concentration of people we'd seen in Olomouc so far!
Like most places in the CZ, you saw a table and went for it....then you ordered every single beer on the menu.
Our server was totally awesome, he was friendly, kind, accommodating, and willing to let us try every beer they had. My favorite was the 12°, which, while not outstanding, had a distinct peppery bite to it. To be honest, we still hadn't had anything that got our attention.
So, how about the food? As I mentioned before, Moravia has its own specialties....and we were going to go for it!
First up; Hanácká česnečka - Garlic Soup. This seemed like canned beef broth...it was very salty.
Of course we had to try (again), the Olomoucké tvarůžky, you can read more about how this is cheese supposedly aged under meat, etc.
I was still scratching my head..........it really didn't have the "ripe" flavor I enjoyed in a cheese nad really seemed mild.
Though I did enjoy the pickled camembert.
The Utopenci, the pickled sausage known as "Drowned Man" was ok, less sour than we preferred.
In one of our favorite moments....the Missus asked our very friendly server if She could get and order of "just cabbage".......really, all She wanted was fermented cabbage. Aiyah. The server said he's asked the kitchen.....and guess what?
She got Her plate of cabbage! Just for this; if we're ever back, we'd come here in a second.
While waiting for our check we noticed a group of gentlemen wandering around looking for a table. Well, in the Czech Republic, it's "dining Darwinism" when it comes to that. I grabbed one of the guys and told them we'd be leaving soon....just hang on and we'd be done. It turned out that they were visiting professors from Chile! So, who know who you might meet at Svatovaclavsky pivovar?
Saint Wenceslas Brewery (Svatovaclavsky pivovar)
Marianska 4, Olomouc, Czech Republic
As we headed back to the hotel we noticed people...many more folks than we'd seen before, standing in lines. After looknig around a bit we found that it was "Museum Night" in Olomouc, where admission to various Museums were free. We couldn't help but indulge!
And while we enjoyed the dramatic displays at the Natural History Museum, our favorite photo was this.......
Giant Rodents looking at a kid who wants to be a giant rodent!
On the way back, we decided to stop by the Archdiocesan Museum, located next to the St Wenceslas Cathedral. This museum was built after Pope John Paul II's visit, when he asked the Archdiocese and the city to build a museum to document/celebrate its history.
We had a great time visiting the museums. What was quite apparent was the hospitality and pride of the locals. They obviously knew we weren't from these parts, but went out of their way to welcome us. Moravian pride and hospitality........