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Phespirit goes to the Czech Republic
Ostrava     January 2013

Despite being a major town in the east of the country, Ostrava apparently has so little of general interest that it gets no mention at all in some of the major Czech Republic travel guides. Yet being just a stone's throw over the border from where Phespirit was staying in Katowice, and having a football team - Banik Ostrava - that he had heard of, Phespirit felt its presence was impossible to ignore. So he took to the railways and made a day trip of it.

Of course, Phespirit would not be watching any football in Eastern Europe in January but he would manage a few hours' gentle wandering and sightseeing. These few hours were reduced by one when the 09:20 train from Katowice did not depart until precisely 10:20. It stopped at Zebrzydowski at 11:17 (for three minutes) and Bohumín at 11:31 (18 minutes) before reaching Ostrava at 12:01. The late arrival left Phespirit with roughly two-and-a-half hours to appreciate the town. The lost hour meant he could not look inside the Ostrava Museum, which was a pity, but there would be no need to rush elsewhere.

Snow was falling as he left Ostrava station, and it continued to fall throughout his visit. Armed with a small map that he picked up at the station's information centre, Phespirit strode out along the main street - Nádražni - towards the town centre. On the way he popped into the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, then took a left along 30 Dubna to see the New City Hall and its unusual clocktower. Down Sokolská TřÍda, then right along Českobratrská took him to the Evangelical Church of Christ. Finally through Husův Sad (park) and down Poštovni brought him to the heart of town.

He checked out a couple more churches, then crossed the Ostravice river to see the small hrad (castle) on the other side, and then ..... time was up. Back to the station Phespirit scuttled, there to find unsurprisingly that his return train was 47 minutes late. Time at least to defrost as his cheeks were seared pink with cold. He left at 15:33 and was in Katowice at 17:15. For a return train fare of 104.50zl (£21.42), it wasn't a bad day out.

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