I love Brno. It is a fascinating city of about a half a million. It is a booming center of industry and technology. While Prague is glamorous and exciting, Brno is more of a blue-collar town that suffers from a bit of “second city” syndrome. The people tend to be animated in expression and “colorful” in their speech. They are outspoken, but potentially some of the warmest and friendliest people you will ever meet. I say “potentially” because if you act like a fool they will treat you accordingly, but if you give them a chance they are great.
A couple of experiences yesterday reminded me of this. On the way to my hotel I stopped at Subway to grab a sandwich. At one point during a longer than normal ordering process, the young lady asked me a question that I so completely failed to understand I reluctantly asked her to repeat it in English. With a big smile she did, but then switched quickly back into Czech. As I was paying she asked if she could give me a free cookie.
Bolstered by her kindness and a cookie, I continued on to what I feared would be a much more challenging task. During the trip, I realized I had left my passport in the flat in Prague. The only reason that concerned me was the law stating foreigners had to present a passport to check into a hotel. At the desk, I stood behind an older couple from the US as they checked in. When asked for his ID, the man tried to use his driver’s license. This was refused with a firm, “It is impossible for an American to check in without showing his passport” from the young man at the desk. Though I had stayed in this hotel several times in the past, my hopes faded quickly.
I waited until the couple was out of earshot before approaching the desk. When I did, the young man began the conversation by asking me why I was wearing a jacket on such a warm day. After I answered him he said, “Welcome back. Has your personal information changed since your last visit?” When I told him it had not, he said he had already filled out the necessary paperwork on my behalf and then handed me my key. Yep, I love Brno.
I’ll describe the lecture in the next post, but in the meantime, here are a few sites from this wonderful city. Students were out in force dressed in various costumes to raise money for their post final exam parties. As usual, there were gifted street musicians near Ceska. The two young girls comfortably sharing the seating area with the drunk shows another aspect of local culture.