I recently stayed at a hostel with character in Olomouc, called the Cosy Corner Hostel. One of the staff members there, Ian, is from Atlanta, Georgia, but now he lives in the Czech Republic.
Ian has worked at Cosy Corner for years. His eyes lit up when he told me about his memories working there. It’s more than a hostel for him- it’s his home. On August 1st, his dream of owning the hostel will become official, along with his partner Klara.
So, what do Klara and Ian have to say about their corner of the Czech Republic?
When the offer came, they decided within an hour to buy the hostel
Ian: “When I was teaching abroad, a friend brought me here for a visit. It was just the vibe of the city and no tourists. Olomouc is such a great city with architecture and history. It’s just really fascinating to come to something so beautiful that nobody knows about.”
Klara: “The whole thing about us taking over this hostel happened about a month ago. As soon as we got the offer, we decided within an hour that we’re taking it. It changed the course of our lives. I wanted to move to Prague, perhaps Ian could find a job as a voiceover artist. But within an hour, we decided to take over, stay in Olomouc, and now we’re starting a business.”
Klara: “We thought about it before the offer was here, but we kinda both like it. I grew up in a little hostel, we call it a pension, like a bed and breakfast. So it’s very close to me, I love international people. And I was looking for a job in online marketing anyway, so this is perfect because I’m going to be my own boss in a way. And it’s been Ian’s dream for a long time.”
Because it’s more than just a place to stay
Klara: “I’m gonna make it a jungle in here. I want to make it more homey. Fill it up with happy people. We have some ideas like we would like to take care of. We want to start a community garden and barbecue, do bike tours around the city and on the outskirts, do trips. There’s so much to do here. We want to make it more available and known to people.”
Ian: “But as much as we want people to come in the hostel, we also want them to go to the rest of the region. And also to the rest of the city. And not just stay in the hostel bar. There’s restaurants, cafes, parks, a lake. It’s so easy to get to castles and other cities from here. Yeah come and stay, but see what the city is about. There’s more to a city than the hostel and beer.”
Ian: “There’s a reason why we all stayed. If you’re the one nighter that comes in here, books a room for only a night, then you’re missing a lot. You miss the Czech Republic. Learn a bit of the culture, the food, the cuisine, the weirdness.”
Embracing the ‘weirdness’ of the Czech Republic
Klara: “I was actually writing this article called ’13 Things That Are Perculiar about Czechs’. Mushroom picking was one of those things because we just love it and we do it so often. Then there’s fact that there’s so many castles in the Czezh Republic, like 3,000 castles. I may have made that number up. But there’s a lot.”
Ian: “Czechs are about 10 years behind the rest of Europe, especially in fashion and music. Which means…mullets are still very fashionable here.”
Klara: “We always take off shoes when we enter an apartment, and we have slippers ready for visitors to put on. Czechs always have the space clean, so it’s all right to walk in socks or barefoot.”
Ian: “We also have a type of cheese called Olomouc Tvaruzky. It’s delicious, but with a very powerful smell. It’s much less fattening than regular cheese. You put it on pizza, bake it on bread, or just slice it and put it in soups. There’s actually a vending machine in the town hall with this cheese.”
Klara: “Beer is quite often cheaper than water in a pub. That is weird, even for us Czechs. But generally, we’re very proud of our beer. The kind of beer, Pilsner, is named after a city in the Czech Republic, where it was first brewed. Then the whole world started using that brewing method. We also invented contact lenses, sugar cubes, and the word robot.”
For more on the Corner, check out their Facebook page here. Book to stay with them through the usual routes (Hostelworld, Hostelbookers, Trip Advisor, Air Bnb, etc), or contact Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to Ian and Klara for a great stay in the Czech Republic. I can’t wait to czech back in with them in a few years (see what I did there).
What’s your favorite corner of the Czech Republic? Leave a reply to let me know. And until next time, Saludos!