Hello Brno! Once we had dropped our luggage at the accommodation it was time for our first introduction to the Brno lifestyle including food and, most importantly, beers. The dinner was held at Zlata Lod, a restaurant off the main square in Brno, and the spread was unbelievable, all kinds of traditional Czech cuisine and pork that has continued to haunt my dreams. This gave us the opportunity to meet some of our lecturers, get to know our guides and celebrate the fact we had arrived!
Classes began with us bright eyes and bushy tailed, mostly, and Ricky kicked us off with Concepts of Security, going through concepts, theories and their application to Central Europe specifically. They are definitely not kidding when they tell us the program is challenging- we cover a lot of content in a short amount of time, but the process is well designed and the environment is truly amazing. This University feels like walking through history.
Our first tour of the city after class was a more practical one, locating shops and post offices and anything else we would need for our stay, pointing out the most important places to know in the city, including some of the best pubs and shopping. With the combination of reasonable pricing and a favourable exchange rate, I suspect there will be a great deal of shopping occurring in our, limited, free time.
By Tuesday morning we were all experts at navigating the tram system to get to Ceska, and getting aquatinted with the local coffee carts and bakeries for a local snack or coffee on the way. I was still in awe that we had the opportunity to travel and study in such a unique location and meet people from such a different background to ourselves. Today we had an optional second class scheduled to cover basic International Relations theories, while many of us felt comfortable in our knowledge of the theories the revelation that this ‘class’ was happening at a pub on top of a castle made up our minds pretty quickly.
Tuesday afternoon we were taken for an historical and cultural tour of Brno giving us a chance to truly understand the Czech Republic’s second largest city. We visited churches, museums, pubs, monuments, markets, more pubs and stumbled across a Spanish Festival with stalls carrying all kinds of food, drink and goods. However my two favourite stops on the tour where the Ossuary underneath the Church at St James, which I visited again later, and the Capuchin Crypt.
Day 3! After classes we were taken to the Battlefield at Austerlitz, first the Peace Memorial and the Museum for the Battle of Austerlitz, followed by the Chateaux where the treaty negotiations took place. The battle at Austerlitz, also known as the battle of 3 Emperors, took place on the 2nd of December 1805, one of Napoleons greatest victories with the French army of 65,000 defeating the Russian and Austrian combined force of 90,000.
How many people have the opportunity to have a private movie screening in a nuclear fallout shelter that is still using its original equipment to recycle air and support 600 people? Well that’s exactly what we did on Thursday. 10-Z is only a recently opened attraction to Brno but definitely worth a visit!