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European Railroad Discussion > Tram Tuesday — CZ Part 8, Brno

Date: 01/18/22 02:00
Tram Tuesday — CZ Part 8, Brno
Author: gobbl3gook

Brno is the largest city in SE CZ.  

I rolled in by train from Wroclaw, via Usti nad Orlici, and spent a couple days here.  

Very nice tram system!  

And a *lot* of rain.  

Brno is a two-syllable word.  A "rolled R" is a vowel.  With something like an "e" sound, as in "brrrr, it's cold outside". 

captions coming... 


1) Tram stop by the university.  A busy weeknight in October.  With a *lot* of rain.  Some trams seem to be FrankenTrams, where they took a classic Soviet-era tram, cut it in half, and put a few more wheels and a low carbody in the middle for disability access.  (I personally don't much care for the change in the world's designed things to allow for disability access.  On an aesthetic perspective.  Though I certainly realize the functionality improvements!  And I spent three weeks in a wheelchair once, so I also know of the benefits firsthand.

2) A quiet street on the west side of town.  Almost eerily quiet -- in real life as well as in the phot depiction.  

3) Rolling around on a tram.  I love the stable feel of a tram.  It only lurches front and back, and ocassional lateral G-forces in curves.  But folks just get on, and chill like it's their own living room.  *So* different than busses.  Which have a complex 3D range of lurching.  Twisting, torquing, bumping.  Pulling in and out of stops.  The body never gets to settle down and enjoy the ride.  And, as usual, if you want to take a photo of the inside of the tram, sit in back... 

Check out the extensive tram system!  As I've said before, I hadn't figured out OpenRailwayMap, so I never got the bird's eye view of the whole system while I was traveling.  It looks liek they are extending several lines!  

With the Czech map,. in its own country, it doesn't deliver on trams.  You need to zoom way in to see the lines... 

Mendel's monastic garden is in one of the courtyards amongst the buildings here.  This is where Photo 1 is taken, at the main university stops.  On "Mendelova Nameste" 

As woith most places in Central Europe, there are designated bicycle routes going off in all directions.  I proceeded south from Brno to the outskirts of Vienna. Austria.  Took about 3 days.  


Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 01/31/22 19:19 by gobbl3gook.

Date: 01/18/22 02:03
Re: Tram Tuesday — CZ Part 8, Brno
Author: gobbl3gook

More trams... 

4) Detraining in the central city after visiting the Mendel Museum and a church service at his monastary.  

I'm not religious, but I love classical churches.  For my birthday I have a tradition of wandering around Portland, or wherever I am, and finding a random church service to attend.  Sometimes I find one, sometimes none, but I have a good wander with friends on an October evening.  Here in Brno, after attending an entire service at the monastary, I attended the 2nd half of a service in the city center.  I much prefer attending church services in foreign languages, because then I can just enjoy the service -- the speaking, the echoes, the singing, the organ music -- without needing to listen to anything about Jesus or the Bible.  I'm eccentric -- I know ;^)

5) I rode a tram to the eastern end of the line one day.  Probably when I took this photo.  

6) This looks like the city center again, this may be the academic building where Mendel presented his work for the first time.  

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/31/22 19:03 by gobbl3gook.

Date: 01/18/22 02:06
Re: Tram Tuesday — CZ Part 8, Brno
Author: gobbl3gook

Brno is where Gregor Mendel, the father of modern genetics, grew peas.  And discovered the properties of heredity.  

Date: 01/18/22 02:09
Re: Tram Tuesday — CZ Part 8, Brno
Author: gobbl3gook

10) Tram system map...  Remember to always take a photo of system maps wherever you see them!  

11) Church where Mendel, a monk, held services. 

12) Selfie with Mendel's statue.  

I did my undergrad in botany, I learned a little about Mendel and his peas.  But didn't remember much of his bio. 

Turns out he was expelled from two different graduate programs for failure to perform.  So he became a monk and grew peas.  And with his pea experiments he discovered the basic principles of heredity.  


Ten years after taking Biology 200 and learning a few fact about Mendel's bio, I was in the PhD program for urban planning.  And I'd been booted out for lack of progress for a second time.  This time I was quite pissed, as I had been making pretty good progress, I finally delivered two technical papers for the committee about the theory and practice of urban planning for my Comprehensive Exams.  The program advisors had been very vague about the papers for a couple years, in terms of content, criteria for passing.  Most of the older PhD students looked like zombies.  They had a glazed look in their eyes.  They had all spent a year or two writing about urban planning for their comprehensive exams, and had all had a difficult experience of it, but finally produced enough material to pass.  But the process had completely routed their self esteem.

I had finally actually gotten my head wrapped around the subject.  And realized that the demoralizing and confounding aspect was that the professors and current theorists in the field were interested in the *process* of planning -- "how do we make decisions.  And I couldn't give a flying f*ck about the process of planning, I was much more interested in the base conditions of cities that made planning required, and made it so difficult to produce what the general public would call "good planning".  Most people are not passionate about the decisionmaking process, but they are very passionate about beutiful, functional cities!  

So I had taken apart the problem at the base, read all the pre-WWII planning treatises and identified a basic definition of what they considered planning to be, then wandered through the post WWII modernist movement where planning got a bad name for "slum clearance" and freeways.  And discussed the morass of the practice of planning as it currently was, with an emphasis on the process by which to make deciusions, rather than determining what decisions had to be made, how different interests could be balances, and having some sort of a metric to evaluate how the results actually worked!  

My advisors would have none of it.  They told me I was booted from the program.  I could reapply at a later date if I felt so inclined.  

I appealed to the dean's office.  The previous year (when I had also been booted) the Assistant Dean had been very helpful and had helped me look through the program student manual, find the spots where I had been looking for advisement and none had bene granted, and I was successful in staying in the program.  

This year there was a new Assistant Dean.  She told me that she had studied biology in one of the universities where Gregor Mendel had studied.  Mendel was a bad student.  He had been booted from the program.  She thought that had been the right choice.  And she agreed with my advisors that I should be booted from the program.  [note -- Mendel went on to become the father of modern genetics].  

I left her office with a heavy heart, but, also lightened in a way, because I *wasn't going to fight this battle anymore!*  It was time to move on from my life.  And I wasn't going to turn into one of thoe glazed-over-eyes PhD candidates.  I was going to get the h*** out of there and do something more useful with my life!  

It's been a mixed bag since then, as one might expect.  

But it was a treat to be wandering through central Brno.  And come upon an academic building.  With a plaque on it, that stated that "this is where Gregor Mendel first presented his theories of genetics in 18XX."   

I quickly came to the realization that I was in Gregor Mendel's home city.  And I looked up the location of his gardens, his church, and a nice little museum.  It was good times, tromping and tramming around this mid-size city on a *very* rainy day.  Oct 9, 2019.  My 52nd birthday.  I felt a certain solidarity with Mr. Mendel.  I went to a service in his church, said a few kind words to his statue, and admired the patch of green in the corner of the monastary garden yard where he grew his peas.  As for myself, my theories of planning have never been shared formally, it is difficult for me to produce the long-term focus and dedication to create a major, internally coherent document.  I did pretty well in 1999, but I never had the motivation after that to fine tune the documents and make them into a more generally presentable form.  

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 01/31/22 19:28 by gobbl3gook.

Date: 01/20/22 10:53
Re: Tram Tuesday — CZ Part 8, Brno
Author: PasadenaSub

Great series and photos, Ted.


Date: 01/31/22 19:11
Re: Tram Tuesday — CZ Part 8, Brno
Author: gobbl3gook

Hi Rich, 

Glad you liked them!  

Edits -- photo 6 is is not the university building where Mendel lectured.  But it is just 1 block away.  In the same neighborhood.  




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