Friday, 23 October 2009

Again, leaving Olomouc and the Czech Republic

It's difficult to believe I have already spent a month here in the Czech Republic. It is with much sadness that I depart tomorrow. I've had an amazing time in this beautiful country. I've visited new places, met many old friends and made many new ones. A part of me will always be in Olomouc, and one day I will return once again........

The house is watching.....

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Aeroplane Bar Letka - Tupolev 104 - Olomouc

The “aeroplane bar” in Olomouc is quite a landmark. Situated near the Billa supermarket and the swimming pool it used to be a popular hangout for the local communist elite during the 1970's, and is still pretty much the same as it was then, just a little tattier, with warm canned beer, music so bad it puts a smile on your face, a dance floor in what used to be the cockpit (apparently also a bed up there somewhere), and not many communists (often no customers at all). It's open from 9pm until 7am, and you need to ring a buzzer and wait for somebody to come and let you in.

The bloke in the blue polyester suit doesn't seem to work there any more but it's still oozing with it's own unique character. The seats are from the original plane, just oriented around the tables.

The aeroplane itself has an interesting history. It's a Soviet made Tupolev 104, one of the worlds earliest jet airliners. Around 200 were built from 1956 until production ceased in 1960. Most of them saw service with Aeroflot and the Soviet Air force, but as this one is parked up in the Czech Republic it is presumably one of the six 104A's which were operated by Czechoslovak Airlines beginning in 1957, flying routes from Czechoslovakia to Paris, Brussels and Moscow. Being one of only six it may perhaps be the only one left in the Czech and Slovak Republics. From 1956 until 1958 the Tupolev 104 was the only jet airliner in service in the world. The large jet engines were mounted where the wing connected with the fuselage. The plane's interior was interesting in that it was fitted out in a pseudo Victorian manner using copper, lace and mahogany.
A couple of interesting variants were produced, including the 104AK, which was used for cosmonaut training, and the 104LL which was used for heavy air to air missile tests. It was used by Aeroflot until 1979, and the Soviet air force until 1981, when it was deemed to be unsafe.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Olomouc Aviation Museum

On the outskirts of Olomouc in a delapidated old aircraft hangar near the airport is a little known museum dedicated to military aviation. Actually it is an odd collection of Soviet and Czechoslovak made equipment, from a complete MIG21, various partly dismantled planes, rockets, jet engines, ejection seats and the like. It's not really organised in any way, although there is some descriptive text in Czech. For fans of military aviation history it would be fascinating. To get there take tram 7 all the way to the end of the line at the crematorium, then follow the same road away from the town for about 500 metres, the gate is on the left. From october the museum is only open on weekends from 9:00am until 5:00pm.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Olomouc Astronomical Clock

One of the greatest things I have ever seen.

A detailed description of the clock can be found on Captain Oddsocks blog.