‘I don’t even know why we’re here,’ he said as we meandered through the tourist office filled with brochures of the city’s cafés and little else.
My friend Thomas and I are in Brno, the second city of the Czech Republic. We’re just not sure why. I’m a ringer on this trip. A last-minute substitute for a friend of Thomas’ who couldn’t make it. A sort of unemployed have-suitcase-will-travel friend.
The problem is, the friend I’m replacing is the one who planned the trip, deciding that a day or two in Brno was just the thing after two days in Prague. We feel there must have been a good reason that she chose Brno as a stopping point rather than some of the historic villages that could break up the five hour bus ride between Prague and Vienna. Or was our fate determined by nothing more than a convenient bus schedule and the limits of the human bladder?
We already enjoyed our two days in Prague—Charles Bridge, the architecture, the beer, the Christmas markets, the goulash, the beer. We were eager to see what life outside the capital city was like. But perhaps we should have come in the summer…
Brno is nice enough. It’s a charming little city with a castle, a monastery and, of course, a Christmas market. It’s just not apparent what it has-- apart from beer that is cheaper than water (and I’m not suggesting that’s not important)—that Prague doesn’t. It felt like a scavenger hunt—what did she want to see here? One thing is for certain, she didn’t decide on Brno based on the Lonely Planet entry--‘Brno’s attractions are not easily apparent after Prague.’ And we can be sure it wasn’t because of the natural history museum. The Trip Advisor entry might read something like, ‘Do you hate crowds but love dusty fossils? Are you annoyed by museum exhibits that might try to engage you or explain things in English? Then the Brno Natural History Museum is for you!’
We had most of the day to visit Brno before our bus left at 5PM. We had lunch with our Couchsurfer host, a young Czech guy eager to meet travelers and share stories. Afterward we meandered along the castle walls, poked around in the Christmas market, warmed up in the Cathedral, and had a drink in the museum café. Overall it was a nice, relaxing day.