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Another way to feel the city


Cities always seemed living creatures for me. They have their own character, they can have bad and good mood. They can show you their secret places, arrange accidental meetings with your friends and bring good luck (or, sometimes even more important – good coffee) when you need it.

That’s why I love new ways of discovering the city. Alternative excursions, self-invented games – everything counts in your dialogue with the city. And here in Brontosaurus there is one very good way to explore the city – a trail around interesting trees of Brno, called AudioBrno. On the website you can download the map and the description of the trees (or the audiofile of it, if you want to practice your czech).

00 So using the advantage of unusually warm autumn weather me and Shushan, a friend for all my ideas, started on a journey through the city, which included orientating by a nice map (and Shushan did it marvelously) and looking for the marks in the ground – green circle with a number in it.

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We start not far from main train station, perhaps the busiest and liveliest place in every city, and not far from it there is a small island of might and calmness – a big old plane tree with beautiful bark, marked by a sign as a remarkable tree and natural heritage.

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The trail goes along the circle of parks around the historical centre of Brno. We meet the pagoda tree behind the theatre and admire the huge oak on Moravske square. It’s also marked as a remarkable tree and is more than 150 years old. We can hardly embrace it, and we can physically feel it’s strength and the peace it gives to this busy place.

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Next stop is catalpa tree with big green leaves near a school building with a beautiful picture on the wall. The picture is in art-nouveau style and somehow it combines perfectly with the lines and shapes of the leaves. The tree is small and doesn’t look so important at the first sight, but then we notice that it has been planted exactly in the place where the apparently older tree had been growing before. We can still see the outline of the trunk. I think it’s a great idea: we can understand the greatness of the older tree and at the same time the younger one represents the continuity of generations and endlessness of nature itself.

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Next point is not a particular tree, but the whole park – Tyrsuv sad, one of the oldest parks in Brno. It’s a bit hidden from the city (if not this map, I might have never come across it) and looks a bit like in a fairy tale in golden sunlight. There is a piano standing under one of the trees, the other tree happens to be a wild apple tree with small, sourish apples on it.

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We return to the lively noise of the city and observe green alianthus and princess tree Paulownia. It must look amazing in spring, when it’s in full blossom with the violet flowers, but even now it looks unusual and exotic with its strange fruit.

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Our route goes through the most busy, young and joyful part – the universities. Here we come to two big limes and a stature of Masaryk (we already know that hardly any important thing in Czech republic can be done without honourably referring to his name). Another lime (harder to find, as the green circle must have worn out) is near Spilberk hill, surprisingly (for this time of the year) filled with spring flowers.

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Our last destination is a ginkgo tree, a beautiful tree, one of the oldest tree species on Earth, and a special symbol for me personally. I love the poem by Goethe dedicated to ginkgo.

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So our little city walk ends here – but actually we felt so energized after it that we could definitely go more. I can only recommend this route for those who wish to experience the city in a different way – and get a bit acquainted with the trees that grow around. Use it while the autumn is still golden, use it in winter when you can admire all the shapes of the brunches, use it in summer when everything is green. Follow the green marks – and talk to the city you live in.
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Text&Photo – Masha Gulina (with special thanks to Shushan for admirable map-reading and navigation skills).

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