Sunday, November 27, 2011

Planes, trains and ... Halloween?

“The aeroplane bar is probably the dodgiest bar in the centre of Olomouc. It’s open from 9pm to 7am six days a week. The decor is 70's mafia chic and the canned beer is expensive and warm. The novelty of it being in a plane is the only reason to visit. The aeroplane was brought here in 1975 as the ‘in’ restaurant for the communist elite and quite possibly has not been thoroughly cleaned since the revolution.  There's a small dance floor up towards the cockpit that stays empty until the other bars in town close and people are drunk enough to think that going to the airplane bar is a good idea. The nostalgia of the 80's music is a saving grace. It's probably best not to attend alone.” Virtual Traveller

Perhaps this review says more about me than the bar itself, because I thought it was really COOL!  The comment about the beer was completely accurate, warm and terrible and yes, the toilets probably hadn’t been cleaned since the revolution.  However, if you’re going to drink warm beer anywhere, it may as well be in a Soviet army plane and having a groove with the only three locals on the whole bar to some 80’s tunes was amusing.  And what more could you want late at night after drinking warm beer in a plane?  Fried cheese in a kebab, of course!  It was only my first night in Olomouc, a university town about 2-and-a-half hours by train from Prague, but it pretty much set the tone for the next couple of nights.

The town is set on a river and while the weather was pretty brisk, it was worth enduring the chill to see the amazing shades of all the trees in Autumn.  There were also more churches in Olomouc then I care to count.  One is worth a mention though, because after climbing the double helix stairwell to get onto the roof it provided an amazing view of the town (as well as a good place for the local riff-raff to have a drink apparently).  In fact, the church would have been the perfect setting for the final scene of a James Bond film, where the bad guy and Bond have spent the last twenty minutes chasing each other through the town, only for the bad guy to find he’s cornered and has to make a last stand on a rooftop above the town square. 

Halloween came a day late in Olomouc but we celebrated it belatedly in style … and in costume.  The hostel’s swap box held a treasure trove of items that we put to good use for costumes (and also made me wonder about some of the people who had stayed in the past) and a trip to the local op-shops and toy stores completed the picture.   I would have been pretty scared to see our group emerge from the very thick pall of fog that had descended on the town that night … a pirate (wielding a noisy plastic sword), an old man (complete with dressing gown and slippers), a blonde goth, Colonel Gaddafi (wearing his signature aviators and woolly black hair) and me, a cowgirl.  After a 20 minute walk through the fog receiving some very strange looks from passers-by and encountering nobody else in costume we finally made it to the bar and were glad to see other people/freaks dressed similar to us!  The night ended much the same way as the first … at the local kebab shop.  Except this time the kebab shop owners found us slightly more amusing than the previous night.

On my final day in Olomouc I was treated to a game of ice hockey, with the local side playing a rival Czech team.  Despite not having much idea about the rules, cringing every time a player got slammed into a wall and thinking the game was over after the first two periods, I really enjoyed the experience.  The only negative about the sport of ice hockey is the fact you have to endure freezing temperatures to watch it, although the mulled wine definitely helped stave off the chill (something the MCG beverage stands should definitely consider for those cold winter days at the footy!).

I was sad to say goodbye to Olomouc and my new friends.  I’d almost been talked out of visiting the town because it was a bit out of my way but I’m glad I ignored the advice I was given … and I’m glad I don’t take advice from reviewers like Virtual Traveller or I would miss out on strange “novelties”  like drinking warm beer in a soviet plane … and that would be a real shame!

No comments:

Post a Comment