There are many reasons to travel: A search for adventure. A search for knowledge. The desire to bring a favorite picture-book image to life. The need to get perspective on your own life and society. A way to challenge yourself. A way to relax. And a way out — an escape.
That last one is particularly problematic now.
It used to be that, when you really needed to let off some steam, you could jump in the car or hop a train and go to a foreign land. Often, when stress started to get to you, it was great to know that you had an airplane trip out in the future to which you could look forward.
Now, with the slow loosening of the restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are beginning to feel the urge to travel somewhere, anywhere. If you really need to get away, there are some options that will be available. Just make sure to do your homework before you invest money or emotion.
The first tourist destination that got press for trying to open up to tourists was Cyprus. The little island nation was not hit hard by the pandemic and, to help allay fears, it is offering to pay for lodging, food, drink and medication for visitors who test positive for Covid-19 while there. Starting Tuesday (June 9), Cyprus will welcome international flights from several countries, including Austria, Germany, Slovakia and Hungary. The Czech Republic and Poland will be added on June 20.
Greece and Turkey also hope to be open soon. There will surely be a lot of other places, too.
If you do travel internationally, make sure to make informed decisions. Official information about the coronavirus is provided by the World Health Organization — Click Here. Before you travel (or purchase tickets and accommodations) consult the official Travel Advisories that are maintained by governments. Here are the pages for the main English-language governments:
Be prepared for a possible shutdown that could leave you stranded. You never know what is going to happen.
The Czech Republic has a lot of options, be they nearby towns and attractions or longer trips across the country. Have you been to Kutná Hora? Have you visited to Telč? Have you explored Třebíč? Those are the places where international tourists go. This could be the summer to tick those off of your list.
Trip to the Mountains
The mountains in the Czech Republic are not as tall and majestic as those in Switzerland and they are not as deep as those in Alaska, but they offer nice, fresh-air locations to sit back and relax. See a previous Travel Brno article for some details: Travel Brno: Time For a Trip to the Mountains. Higher and deeper mountains, however, are not very far away. Both Austria and Slovakia will soon be accessible.
There are many castles around Brno. Pernštejn Castle has been featured in many Czech fairy tales because, well, it fits the bill. It is north of Brno. Another castle, Buchlov, is to the southeast. Click here for a story about Buchlov Castle. There are dozens of other castles to visit, too.
Travel does not need to include hours on the road and a hotel — it can be a state of mind.
A time-honored tradition in central Europe is to just get up and walk to see what you run into and what life brings you. Tramping may not be for everyone, but more adventurous souls may enjoy it. It is basically make-it-up-as-you-go travel. Take some basic equipment, particularly a sleeping bag, pick a direction and walk. When you get hungry, find a restaurant or a store. If you see something interesting, stop and check it out. When you get tired, find a comfortable place to roll out the sleeping bag and go to sleep.
It is possible that you can stumble into a dangerous situation and you might encounter an early-morning farmer who quibbles with your choice of nighttime accommodations, but, really, it is generally a safe and straightforward adventure. It might be more interesting in the mountains, so a short train ride may be a good starting point.
Train trips are fun. You don’t have to worry about driving or finding parking, and you can drink a beer as you glide along the rails. There are many small towns that are worth a visit. Get a map, point at it blindly and go. Tišnov is a small city north of Brno. Click here for a story about exploring it with children. There are any number of other great destinations.
The Macocha cave system is just north of Brno, near Blansko. If you haven’t been there, go and check it out and you will actually feel like a tourist for a couple of hours. It is part of a large system of caves that you can explore. Jeskyně Pekárna, for example, is an interesting daytrip. Click here for a story.
If you don’t want to be too extreme, Brno has a lot of pockets of forests that have trees and trails and, perhaps not unsurprisingly, a nearby pub. Click here for a couple of ideas.
Or, just pick a tram, ride it to the end and walk back — it’s a short bit of travel, but you never know what you’ll see.
Disclaimer: Opinions and views expressed in the text above are of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.