as I’ve mentioned, Olomouc is a fantastic town. there’s lots to see and do and has a refreshingly un-touristy feel to it. one of the first places recommended to me upon reaching my hostel was the tower of the St. Moritz Cathedral (seen here). from the top, there are spectacular views of the town and surrounding area. the church was built between 1412 and 1540, and the tower up which I climbed is a remnant of a 13th century structure. my first attempt to climb the tower was thwarted by the conclusion of a funeral, complete with tubas and other appropriately somber brass instruments. later (after climbing the tower), I stepped in to see what the church looked like; I don’t recall ever being in a church during post-funeral clean-up, and it was rather interesting. women were sweeping up petals from the flower arrangements, picking up items left behind by mourners; one of the women stopped to answer her cell phone while cleaning. it was also interesting to see a thoroughly work-a-day church that’s somewhat down-at-the-heels and in need of repairs. there was even a sign out in front tracking donations to repair the roof. apparently the annual International Organ Festival is only enough to keep the organ in good repair … (the festival occurs in September every year; the Cathedral’s organ is “Moravia’s mightiest”, though I missed it by some weeks.)
the climb up the tower, while worth it, was the most terrifying climb I’ve ever made. the first portion sticks to the stone steps of the original tower, but the second part gives over to open-grate metal stairs that, while sturdy, rendered my knees quite weak. I’ve never had a particular problem with heights, but something about those stairs that nearly prevented me from mounting them. it’s rather hard to describe — something about being able to see how far it was to the level below, clinging to the exterior wall with a growing certainty that those stairs won’t hold your weight …but eventually I emerged through the flap door onto the roof. and the panoramic views were worth it.
|Dolni namesti from St. Moritz,
City Hall on the left, Plague column on the right