Tour of Eastern Yurp – April 2011 – Part III

Note: To aid your reading, you may wish to check out the whole set of photos on Facebook.

Dave Redmond on the train to Olomouc

OLOMOUC

In the morning we wake, and drive to Wien. Bratislava and Wien are surprisingly close together, so we’ve decided to drop our rental car back to Vienna before hopping on the train to Olomouc, to the east of the Czech Republic.

Olomouc’s astronomical clock, the second oldest in Czech, before it was destroyed in WWII and before this 1950s Communist addition to the Town Hall.

Dropping the car is a simple enough task, and finding the correct train station on the U-Bahn (Vienna’s underground railway) where we can change to a regional train to take us north and across the border. Trying to find the correct train was a nightmare. Thanks to Party-Fifi, we eventually confirm that I did find the correct platform, and was waiting for the correct train. Not ONE sign or notice on the platform could confirm it though. Bloody irritating. Anyway, we grab some coffee and pastries to see us through the trip.

Sitting in some old border train stations at places like Breclav, you can’t help thinking of all the old Cold War films and spy swaps under yellow street lights. If it weren’t for all the bizarre espionage goings on between Russia and the US lately – with spies getting expelled and whole cells being uncovered – I’d say that those days are gone. But you never really know, do you?

Our little espionage meeting is with Vlad on the front steps of Olomouc train station. It seems pretty, but when Vlad whisks us to the venue in a taxi through the leafy streets, we quickly realise that the train station is in the ugliest part of town. Olomouc is amazingly beautiful. A gorgeous old university town, with a really lively feel. The venue is massive, and seems to be close to sold out, which is great news, and a great way to end the tour. We kicked out the jams. We’re only disappointed that it’s the final night of the tour… we were really enjoying it.

WIEN

After a slap-up breakfast in Olomouc, we head back to Wien where we hang out with my old friend Party-Fifi (not actual name), and get to see a little bit of the city, and move a washing machine. I’m a big believer in avoiding tourist traps wherever possible. Partially because I hate crowds, but also because if we all have exactly the same experience of a place, then it will inevitably lead to dull conversations. So, there’s a challenge for you all. Go forth and move washing machines.

Party Fifi at Cafe Sperl

At a bar that night, someone asks us what we’re doing in Austria, and I tell him we’ve just finished a small Eastern European tour. He’s surprised that we include Vienna in Eastern Europe. I don’t think he’s pleased. So, the final night brings a diplomatic incident. Oh well! Thanks to everyone for looked after and fed us so well, translated for us, and especially to those who came to the shows. It really means a lot. Hopefully myself and Dave will be back again soon.