Destination: Olomouc, Czech Republic

While I’d headed west of the Czech Republic to Karlovy Vary the day prior, I would be going east the following day to Olomouc, a city about two-and-a-half hours away from Prague. The capital of the Moravian region, Olomouc is steeped in history and culture that probably represents what the “real” Czech Republic is.

Originally, I hadn’t considered going to Olomouc– in fact, I’d planned to go to Kutna Hora for the bone church. However, after hearing from my parents who’d gone that it wasn’t really that worth it, I opted to find somewhere else to go for my day trip. Stumbled upon Olomouc from an online article, and I thought it looked charming, so with that, I decided to go!

I purchased my train tickets at the station right before hopping on the train around 8:30. After accidentally sitting in first-class with a second-class ticket (and getting unceremoniously kicked out by the conductor), I settled into second-class as much as I could and zoned out with the vast, snowy wilderness outside the window.

After what seemed like a dozen stops in middle-of-nowhere towns, the train finally arrived in Olomouc. From the station, it was about a 25-minute walk into town, so I slowly made my way over. Likewise with my previous day in Karlovy Vary, it was snowing a bit in Olomouc, although not so badly.

First stop was at the Saint Wenceslas Cathedral, which is the fourth-largest building in the Czech Republic. It absolutely towered, and I had to back up quite a bit just to photograph the entire thing! Afterwards, I reached the city center at the Upper Square, where the Holy Trinity Column is located. Constructed sometime in the 18th century, it represents the gratitude the people had for the end of the plague, as it’d hit the town just a few years prior to its construction. Quite impressive, and the architecture reminded me of the Plague Column in Vienna.

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Saint Wenceslas Cathedral.
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Upper Square (with the Holy Trinity Column).

Besides the Holy Trinity Column, there’s also the astronomical clock, which happens to be one of the only two in all of the Czech Republic (other being in Prague). It has two interesting historical stories: 1) it’s the first-known clock to be constructed according to the 24-hour work day, about 200 years before the Industrial Revolution, and 2) during the Communism era, the clock had been modified to abide by Communist ideals; after it fell in the 1980’s, the clock still remained and to this day people can see the Communist holidays marked on it.

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Astronomical clock.

Another thing that Olomouc is known for is its numerous fountains, many of which are dedicated to Roman gods. I saw the fountain of Hercules in the Upper Square, as well as others such as those of Mercury and Jupiter elsewhere. I even made it a point to see all of them in the city center, and I think I succeeded!

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Hercules fountain.
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Neptune fountain.
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Arion fountain.
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Mercury fountain.
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Jupiter fountain.

Soon enough, it was nearing lunchtime, and I was getting pretty hungry. Of all places to eat at, I opted for a vegetarian restaurant. Interestingly, I’d researched beforehand that Olomouc is quite known for its vegetarian scene, which is quite strange considering traditional Czech food is heavily meat-based. Then again, the city has the highest density of university students, so perhaps that’s why there is a notable amount of vegetarian joints. I’d already had my fair share of traditional Czech food, so I thought that I would try something new.

I popped into the nearest vegetarian eatery, and I got my lunch. The place reminded me a lot of Souplantation from back home, as it was buffet-style. Only difference was that I paid by weight, but it still amounted to no more than 8 euros in the end. I really enjoyed my meal, as it was filled with bulgur wheat, roasted vegetables, and even fried tofu! Despite it being vegetarian, my meal really filled me up, which kept me going for the rest of the day.

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Vegetarian food for lunch.

That afternoon, I headed to Lower Square, stopping by at the Church of Saint Michael, which towers over the city. No one was inside when I visited, which goes to show that it wasn’t quite tourist season yet– however, the inside was lovely, and even wandering the hallways of the church with statues being stored was pretty interesting.

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Inside the Church of St. Michael.

Lower Square is nearly identical to Upper Square, albeit smaller in scale. There were a few cafes and restaurants around the plaza, and I ended up popping into one of them for an afternoon snack, namely, a Black Forest-esque cake with mulled wine. Plus, it was one way to get out of the cold weather!

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Afternoon break.

After finishing my cake and drink, I decided to head to the station, as I was pretty much done visiting Olomouc. I walked over and caught the 16:00 ride back, returning to Prague around 18:30. It’d been a long day of traveling (5 hours in total) and not so much to do in town, but Olomouc is charming and not as touristy as Prague, which makes for a more “authentic” look into Czech culture.

…and that about recaps my entire winter vacation! Can’t believe that I traveled so much between November and January…while I’m currently back in France and haven’t been traveling, I plan to gear up for another major trip in due time. Will keep you updated on it!

Take care, and until later!

— The Finicky Cynic

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