10 things you need to know before moving to Brno
1. Carpe Caffeine!
Brno is heaven for coffee and café enthusiasts. The recent local boom in café culture draws on a tradition of 150 years, which is a pretty good excuse to make when having your ninth cup of coffee and knowing that you’ve just discovered a divine addiction which has pushed the quality of your life three levels up. Coffee for #brnoregion is what oil is for Saudi Arabia – most people are running on it. And it makes sense – there’s a café with a top barista on every corner and beautiful vintage carts preparing your favourite drinks on-the-go. Welcome to paradise!
2. Have you read this?
Despite watching television and using the Internet frequently, Czechs have remained book-lovers. Based on the statistics, we are among the best in Europe, and we are the very best in terms of the number of public libraries. By the way, the dense network of libraries in our country was built up after a law was passed in 1919 which ordered every community exceeding a certain number of inhabitants to open a library, and this law – even though modified several times – remained valid until the turn of the millennium. An average Czech has 253 books at home and reads 12 new books a year, borrowing nine of them. And what does all this make us? Passionate bookworms. And bookshops, libraries, and cosy, easy-to-hide-in, reading nooks are all over the place.
3. A nation of hikers
We love walking! Ideally in nature! The Czech Republic is among the few countries in the world with a special law defining who has the right to enter the woods. Except for several excluded locations, such as military forests, anybody is free to enter any forest, even a private one. We are proud of our unique hiking marker system, and this know-how has been spreading into other countries as well. The first hiking trails were marked here way back in the 17th century, while hiking and marking the trails experienced the greatest boom at the end of the 19th century. Thanks to all this, today you can explore over 43 thousand kilometres of marked hiking trails.
4. Four-legged members of the family
Czech households keep almost two million dogs and even more cats. We love our pets and consider them members of our families. If you include rabbits, turtles, parrots, snakes or guinea pigs, the average Czech keeps more pets than any other person in all of Europe. And dogs especially are literally everywhere: in the streets, restaurants, cinemas, and lots of us share our apartments and even our blankets with them.
5. Did anyone say food here?
Just like with the café culture, everything related to food has been booming here for a few years now. It’s been a mere one hundred years since we were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, so there’s a lot to follow from. Also, the years of socialism left the tradition of home-cooking interrupted. Add a big number of young people open to new things and you’ll get very, very yummy results! #brnoregion is without a doubt the most interesting food destination around and people flock from all over just to experience it. We love and enjoy everything related to food, so if you feel like tasting #brnoregion in its raw, vege, vegan, macrobiotic, bio, and any other possible version, make sure to sharpen your forks!
6. Your shoes or your life!
Yeah, we know it’s weird that we take our shoes off at the door when we get home. But we’re not ashamed. In fact, we force our guests to do the same, so better prepare yourselves for the tough decision: should I stay just in socks or should I put on those crocheted pink slippers I was offered? Only the bravest dare to leave their shoes on, but if you have the heart of an anarchist, go for it! It’s hard to trace back the reasons why we take off our shoes, but famous Czech businessman Tomáš Baťa, who in the 1920s produced shoes literally for the whole world, may be to blame. It was he who brought slippers to our market and supported this move with a massive marketing campaign. And you can still see the results of this campaign today. Or rather feel them. With your own feet.
7. Forever young
#brnoregion is a youthful place. We could easily organize relaxing stays for retired people from the entire world here, claiming “Come get younger with us!”, and it would be no lie. One fifth of Brno is made up of university students, and the dense concentration of students arriving every year to study at one of the 140 local high schools and 11 universities inject fresh blood into the pulse of the city. And since change is usually brought about by the young, #brnoregion became a place radiating energy, life, and love.
8. In vino (and beer) veritas!
We’re not very good at everything, but there are disciplines we have mastered, like drinking beer. For a long time now, the Czechs have been consuming the most beer per person per year, which is supported by the fact that there are 40 breweries in #brnoregion, hundreds of unique places to enjoy our liquid gold, and – in general – by our approach to beer, which sometimes can look a lot like a religion. If you prefer wine, though, this is the right place for you to be as well: 95% of Czech vineyards are located in #brnoregion, where the conditions are ideal for growing grapes. Take a bicycle trip down one of the cycling routes through South Moravian wine country or wait for the autumn to enjoy our special, half-fermented young wine called “burčak”. We’re sure you’ll enjoy it!
9. Tea, tea, tea
In the last 25 years, we’ve been experiencing a boom of teahouses, which is rather unexpected given our (non)tradition of drinking tea during the years of socialism, a time when a family of four would use a single tea bag the entire week. Today, our teahouses are magical places where you can lie around and enjoy a kettle of green tea from the latest harvest the whole day. This isn’t about hectolitres of English breakfast tea or endless discussions about “milk first” that make no sense. Quite the contrary: going to a teahouse is about leaving the everyday madness of the world behind and embracing Nirvana. Well, at least if Nirvana looks like dozens of kinds of tea from all over the world, soothing loneliness or just chattering about our lives in a group of friends. You can also enjoy shisha to make your experience complete.
10. Czenglish alert
English is an item to draw skull and crossbones next to in your travel diary. Well, English is no longer a problem with the local young people, but people in their 50s and beyond are an amazing source of impressive Czenglish. In short, don’t rely on your English here too much; prepare yourself for it and consider your attempts to communicate with the locals here like a step on your Buddhist path of patience, ending with enlightenment in the form of a textbook of Czech. By the way, the most frequent English sentence you’ll hear around here will be “Sorry, my English is terrible!” Patience, please – we’re working on it!