I landed at 6 AM at Vienna airport and immigration was very quick as there was no queue. I had booked a bus for Brno at 8 AM so I had plenty of time in hand. I converted few Euros to Czech currency at airport which should be enough for some emergency requirements as rest of the currency I was supposed to convert once I reach Brno to get better exchange rates. You can not get Czech currency in India and need to carry either USD or Euros to have exchange once you are in Europe. Vienna airport, though a busy airport, was easy to navigate and in no time I was near exit gate.
Once you come out of airport, you can see stands for buses which depart to various cities in Europe. I had booked bus via Student Agency which is a very affordable bus company to travel to Brno and Prague. Their booking procedure is two-step process. To book a bus from their site click on Online Booking tab and then fill up the form. You need to specify your departure time in notes section based on the time-table . After submission of form you will receive an email with a payment link. Once payment is done you will receive e-tickets from them. The bus quality is very good with entertainment screens in front of each seat. These buses are WiFi enabled but WiFi will work only once you are inside Czech border. They also serve tea/coffee/hot chocolate. Thus overall comfort level of journey will be very good. The price of one way ticket from Vienna to Brno was approximately 1300 INR and travel time is around 2 and half hours.
Bus from Inside
It’s an interesting experience to cross borders of countries by road route if you haven’t done that before. At border an officer will enter the bus and check passports of every passenger. Your passport are checked both when you board the bus and at border crossing so better keep them in your handbag. In Brno bus dropped me at the bus terminal from where my hostel was near by as per map. I always take print out of route from google map if I am going to a place where English is not widely spoken.
Despite of a map in hand it took me some time to find my hostel as name of hostel was not written on any big board but in very small letters at the gate. I was standing in front of it and asked a person crossing by about the hostel and he smiled and pointed towards the gate. We had a good laugh and he moved ahead. I had booked a single room in Hostel u Minoritů which costs Rs. 1400 per day. Not a bad price to pay in Europe with a luxury of individual room in a hostel.
Street Leading to Hostel
I didn’t have a good sleep in flights so after reaching Brno I slept for couple of hours and then in evening went outside to just roam in streets. It turned out not many people speak English specially in stores nearby. I walked till town square, sat there on bench for some time and just observed the people enjoying their evening. I was feeling hungry and went to another supermarket in search of finding something vegetarian to eat in a store. Alas the store owner didn’t speak English either but a Romanian guy who was a local now helped me. He told me when he came to Brno, he had the same problem so he would like to help me. He walked with me for few meters to reach the square and explained me about various options nearby.
I had dinner in nearby restaurant, again walked across few streets and then came back to hostel. It was a long tiring day and with planes to explore Brno next morning I slept.
I hadn’t planned in advance what to see in Brno and had just decided to go with the flow. I went to near by tourist information center, got the city map and then proceeded from one spot to another. The first stop was the castle from where I had a nice view of city. I spent 2-3 hours there moving from one part of castle to another. There were not many tourists in city as well as on road so sometimes you can spot empty roads.
My next stop was an underground roman city preserved from the ancient times. They gave a recorded audio guide to every visitor which explained about each part of it. I didn’t find it much interesting for two reasons – I had seen something similar in Turkey and audio guides are not interactive as human guides. So I was relived as soon as tour finished.
From The Roman Era
I decided not to go any tourist stop any more and just explore the city randomly. I heard some music played in a near by building and I just proceeded in that direction. They were singing some songs in Czech which I didn’t understand but I could figure out there was some event going on organized in honor of senior citizens. I stood there enjoying the event and then came back to my favorite spot in city – the town square.
On the streets of Brno
I had my dinner at a nearby open cafe and then returned to hostel. It was a nice short stay at Brno. Next morning I had to catch my bus to my next destination. Ready to move to Prague ?