Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Brno - A City That Rock and Rolls

I'm still recuperating after last weekend, so please bear with me while I tell you this story. This was supposed to be a story about my wonderful, fairy-tale like evening at a ball in Hradec Kralove. At least that is what all my friends are waiting for. Instead, you'll read about my (long) weekend of boozing, dancing and general debauchery in Brno.

First things first, I did go to the prom (or gala for the French or bal for the Romanians). And it was Awesome. I had a nice low cut fringe dress, perfect for pirouettes, high heels and the best dance partner one could wish for. I felt like a princess and the other girls that were with us, were among the prettiest at the ball. So my boy was spoiled.

The next day, after some troubles with a lost/stolen wallet, we took to the road and went to the Moravian capital, Czech Republic's second city and major university center : Brno.

If you plan a trip to the Czech Republic, visit Prague, of course, but go to Brno as well. The people are different there, more cool, relaxed, not in such a hurry as in Prague. Yet you will find all nationalities in Brno, in part thanks to it's Erasmus students but also to the throng of IT companies in the area.

We had beers with friends and former teachers, in a medieval cellar, the kind that Czechs like so much. We also visited the towns many pedestrian streets and had hot chocolate in a cozy cafe, chatting away. By evening we were so tired we had to crash at a friend's place before picking up a friend (The Ben) at the bus station.

The places to see in Brno : The cathedral, the Spilberk castle (actually the town is built around these two hills), The Old Town Hall, Charlie's Hat and Livingstone. Interesting are also the Villa Tugendhat, unfortunetly closed for renovation, the Masaryk University and the Brno University of Technology, the VUT. For the girls, you go to Masaryk, for the boys to VUT. In June Brno is the home of the Ignis Brunensis festival of fireworks and also in summer there is a MotoGP event not far from the city.

Brno is full of legends. Like the one about the dragon and the wheel. Or why the Town Hall has a crooked column. And also legendary places such as the pubs and clubs of Brno. We spent our evenings in two of these. First off was Charlie's. Bad toilets and smoke, but still a nice place to have drinks and talk.

There I found out a little bit more about the town and about the Romanians living in Brno, from a friend living and working there. All around you could hear every language possible and it made me happy to have a pleasant conversation Romanian. I have to say we didn't drink that much, but the 50 crown coupon was well spent on a vodka and pineapple. The following evening we went back to Charlie's but this time with gadz'arts. We ate the awful pizza they sell in front of the bar for 25czk (it's a tradition reminding me of Clatita Uriasa in Regie or that Shaorma place near the metro station).

Charlie's is a chick magnet. If you choose the right place in the bar you'll spot very fast what ever you want to pick up: boy or girl. After you woe him or her over a pint of beer or a cocktail, you can impress with your moves on the dance floor. It's almost guaranteed you won't spend the night alone.

My night continued in an exotic place the atmosphere of which reminded me of P24. *Sigh* Livingstone was full of people and the music was louder then Charlie's so we danced more and talked less. At least on Saturday we danced a lot, had some drinks, chatted a bit in some quiet corners. There were lots of Erasmus students showing off the dance skills while the French team waited for rock and roll rhythms. it was great fun. We didn't want to leave but we were too tired to stay.

The city is about as big as Bucharest for almost half of the population and the city transport system is very well organized with trams, or Šalina, how they call them here, going to every corner of the town. I can tell you they are also very used at night and useful too, when you're going to "the friend you're going to sleep at tonight", after a few drinks in the bars.

Before I forget, if you go to Brno, dear reader, you must absolutely eat at StaroBrno. They make very good beer and they also made the best ribs in honey, 1 kilo of them on a wooden platter with a delicious garlic bread and a great pint of beer for 300czk, or only 11.5 euros. A delight. And just next to the Pivovar Restaurant is a Pivnica (Pivnita for the Romanians) where they make the best goulash : wild boar meat, dumplings and gingerbread. My mouth is watering already.

Unfortunately we had to leave Brno, this Ibiza of Central Europe, this Nantes of the East, but we will be back, that's for sure, because this place really rocks. And because Brno is to my boy what Nantes is to me.
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