Brno was a singular event stop for us – the Villa Tugendhat, which was designed by famed Bauhaus architect Miles van der Rohe – and was the first private home to use structural steel. Recently opened for viewing after extensive renovations, we arrived in Brno to learn that tours, which started in April, regularly book up 2-3 months in advance. These are some of the important details you miss while trying to plan a 3 month trip. So we set out early the next morning and arrived just before the 9am Villa opening to view the grounds and inquire about a waiting list for the 10am tour, which was limited to 15 people. The Architectural Gods surely smiled upon us because as 10 A.M. rolled around 2 people failed to show for the tour, and as the first people who arrived begging that morning we were allowed into the tour.
The tour began with waking our little one up mid-nap because we had to leave her stroller behind, a big “no-no” in our book, but this was our first exception all summer. As we entered the house we placed blue booties on our feet in order to protect the original linoleum flooring. At that point my husband started to wonder what I had gotten him into. Luckily his sole job was to entertain our little one allowing me to take in as many details from the tour as possible. Which also made for a nice out for him if he didn’t commit every piece of Architecture trivia immediately to memory.
After finishing the 90 minute tour we had completed our Brno objectives. We responded by taking the afternoon off and exploring the Brno Sand Festival in the New Square; complete with huge sandcastles and a sand play area for children, where we sipped cold beverages while our little one played in the sand with Czech children. Yes you heard me right sand festival in the land locked town of Brno, in the land locked country of Czech Republic. I have no explanation as to what was going on here. But it was a wonderful surprise and we took advantage of and enjoyed it immensely
After some fun in the sun we headed back for an afternoon nap. That evening for dinner we headed out to another local restaurant before packing it in for the night in preparation for our train to Budapest, Hungary.
Transportation – We arrived in Brno via train and had one of our biggest, hilliest walks to the hotel yet, but we made it. We were able to get everywhere on foot in Brno. Villa Tugendhat is located outside of the town center and is a considerable walk, but other than that everything is centrally located.
Lodging – We stayed at the Hotel Pod Špilberkem for $84 a night. I’m going to skip any formal review of this hotel and just say, don’t stay here. It was safe and well located but other than that it was dirty, and dirty, and the included breakfast was … what I’m going to call sad, and they ran out of food after about half the guests had eaten. – Stay somewhere else!
Sites – I’m including this just to tell you there are sites, and you should read about them! But not here, clearly. We visited Brno to see Villa Tugendhat, and after that we relaxed our sightseeing goals. It is a quant town with more to offer then we took advantage of.
Villa Tugendhat – Love it! Any fan of architecture or even modern art should not miss this piece of history. For everyone else … honestly I have a hard time knowing how much a non-architecture/art fan would enjoy this. For those of you who would like to visit, as I said before make sure you book your tour in advance. If you don’t have a tour you will be limited to the grounds. Also, be prepared to only take pictures outside or to pay an additional, (not inconsiderable), fee to take pictures inside. I chose not to do this because I knew if I was taking pictures I would have split focus and I wanted to enjoy being in the space and listening to the tour instead. – Architects, must see