After lunch, we had a nice little nap. When we awoke, the weather had cleared. This was the first time we saw such clear skies in the Czech Republic. The Missus was ready to go back out exploring again.
Brno was a city with a great sense of humor, it seemed to thrive on a good story, with that little "twist" to it. On one side you'd see the interesting statue, take a look from another angle and it would look a bit strange, perhaps odd, maybe somewhat creepy......
Up on Petrov Hill, we headed back to the Old Town Hall.....which is a little treasure trove of stories....
The first thing you really notice are the pinnacles above the portal of the Old Town Hall.....and you quickly notice that the center one, the tallest and most obvious is strangely bent. Of course there's a legend about this one, right? According to one of the stories, the Architect and Sculptor Anton Pilgram who built the portal and pinnacles found out that he wasn't going to be paid for his work; so he decided to leave his not-so-little mark on the Old Town Hall....another story suggests that Pilgram was too drunk when designing the pinnacle, which led to a "little problem" when it was built. Shades of the "Indecent Little Man" of St James Church!
During the late 10th and early 11th centuries, there are stories of a great beast terrorizing Brno. It is said to have lived in a cave near the Svartka River, eating and tormenting the citizens of Brno. A butcher came up with a plan to rid the city of the "Dragon", he filled a pelt with quicklime (Calcium Oxide) and set it in front of the cave. The beast, thinking it to be an easy mark devoured the lime filled fur bag. When the beast drank water from the river, the exothermic reaction killed the beast which now hangs in the Old Town Hall.
So here's the Dragon of Brno:
Hmmm....sure looks like a crocodile to me. According to what I read, this was probably brought back from the Crusades. Though I prefer the Brno Dragon story.....
And then there's my favorite. It's about this:
Yep, a wagon wheel, but not just any wagon wheel. You see, in 1636, in a pub in Lednice a wheelright named Jiří Birk claimed that he could fell a tree, build his wheel, and roll it from the town of Lednice to Brno (over 25 miles) in a single day. This seemed like easy money, so a bet was made. Jiří Birk was a real master of his craft, and he managed to do what folks thought were impossible and win his bet. The amazed Mayor hung the wheel in the Town Hall. All's well that ends well, right? Remember, this is the Czech Republic, and boy do they like to add those little twists to their stories. After the feat, rumors started going around that Birk had made a bargain with the Devil, who helped him achieve his feat. Folks started avoiding him, he lost all his business, and Jiří Birk died a broke and broken man.
As we made our way to Freedom Square, the sunshine made Brno seem like a total different city from the one we'd seen the day before. Folks were out and about, walking their dogs....you know, I think people might actually take their dogs to work with them...we say them on Trams and at all times during the day...even having lunch with their owners in business suits.
Freedom Square was abuzz; there was a band playing, people were milling about..... this actually did look like the second largest city in the Czech Republic.
Everyone loves a nice, mild, sunny day....as these two young men illustrate.
Man, those kids made me hungry. It was time for dinner. We decided to eat at this pub, which we found out was another Pilsner Urquell restaurant.
By now we were used to the drill in these places; you head right in and find yourself a table. We found an area away from all the cigarette smokers......some of these places can reek of cigarettes when busy. Luckily, it was still early.
I started off with a Fénix, a light, wheat beer with citrus tones. It was very easy to drink.
Well, you know what we started with, right? Pickled sausages of course. These were really light in terms of sourness and really just tasted like Kielbasa.
Even though we were no longer in Olomouc, I wanted to try the Pickled Cheese.
I really enjoyed this. It was a bit more ripe, funky, milky, and had less of a waxy texture than Olomoucké tvarůžky.
I saw Pork Cracklins on the menu and of course had to order it. Fried pork with crouton like cubes of bread that seemed to have also been deep fried. To be eaten with more bread! Of course, there was that ramekin of lard to use as a spread....so hell, I'm not complaining about this one bit!
We also ordered the Smoked Lamb Sausages.
These tasted a bit like merguez, but I feel it needed a bit more spice and it really didn't have enough stronge lamb flavor for us.
This was a decent meal. We avoided most of the heavy smokers and got a couple of pretty good dishes. Remember when I said, "once you leave Prague" things really got inexpensive. If I recall, the entire meal, including 3 beers came in under $25/US, which I thought was bargain.....I mean really, who serves an entire serving of lard here in San Diego? If you do, let me know!
Stopkova Plzenska Pivnice
Brno, Czech Republic
Brno was a blast, there seemed to be an offbeat sort of humor and it was without a doubt a totally different lifestyle. In the morning, when we were leaving the apartment we noticed that trash was being picked up. One of the guys opened up the area where the dumpster was contained. He called the driver and brought out two bottles of Pilsner Urquell, which were either left for them, or just thrown away. You can be sure they weren'r going to let those bottles go to waste. They popped the tops and actually clinked the bottles together in a toast and chugged down the beer, both finishing with an "aaaah"....things sure were different in the Czech Republic.
We were leaving for Prague in the morning. Back on the Student Bus. There were so many here in Brno, but there's one thing left unsolved and is still bugging me. On Masarykova is the oldest pharmacy in Brno.
But I still can't figure out what the lobster has got to do with the place...lobster...pharmacy...what's the connection? Also, why only the body of the lobster....what about the tail? Brno has so many stories...this one has evaded me.