September 2016 ... Czech Republic is now called "Czechia" ... with side trips to Poland and Austria

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Here we are in Prague, the Czech Republic.  Almost three weeks of a fabulous trip: in Prague, staying with friends, going to the theatre, visiting Eastern Bohemia for a Diamond wedding of the Cernikovskys' and Sasha's birthday, and a visit to the Jeseniky, the northern Moravia mountains where I used to spend childhood vacations.  We made side trips to Poland and Austria and an in-depth visit of southern Bohemia with Budweis, including the Budweiser brewery and Cesky Krumlov. 

in 20 days, we drove over 1,000 miles, used the extensive Prague transit system and WALKED 124 miles. What a trip! 
Please scroll down to see almost 90 photos. You can click on any photo to see a larger image.
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We climbed 134 steps to the top of the Cesky Krumlov castle tower.  Superb views of the castle and the old town!.
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Cesky Krumlov ... you must visit it when you go to the Czech Republic!
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At Cesky Krumlov, the Masked Ball room, painted in 1734, with 135 characters on the walls, many party-goers and many entertainers. Click on any photo to see a larger image.
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After the rain in Austria, it cleared up again, but cooled off, for our visit to Cesky Krumlov, one of the prettiest old towns and nicest castles in "Czechia". Click on any photo to see a larger image.
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The Chinese are the best photographers.  A woman from Shanghai had to get down to the ground to take this photo and she did a great job.  Thank you to Shanghai!
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In Linz, Austria, it rained.  It seems it always rains it Austria.  It rained in Vienna when we visited a couple of years ago and it rained in Linz, too.  No problem, we did as the Austrians do, eat and shop.  Click on any photo to see a larger image.
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We enjoyed Cafe Jindrak in Linz, which claims to have invented the "Linzer Torte", to take one with us back for dinner in Czech.
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Linz, Austria, another brewery lunch.  Raining outside!
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If it rains, you shop and eat.  Wonderful visit to Austria.
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At Lipno, a large dam on the Vltava River near the Austrian border, there are hotels, apartments and watersports.  We had two apartments and we cooked breakfasts and dinners every day, with the Cernikovskys. (I am in the photo also, reflected in the mirror behind Sasha, taking the photo.)  When Lorraine and I left for Guatemala, the Cernikovskys and Sasha, stayed there for several more days. Click on any photo to see a larger image.
   
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Budweiser beer tour ... lots of people from around the world!
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After the Budweiser brewery tour, we had lunch in the brewery restaurant, delicious!
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The freezing cold cellars with steel tanks, where the beer spends 90 days.  Click on any photo to see a larger image.
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The towers behind us are full of beer.  It stays there for 10 days.
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The beer spends 90 days in these steel tanks.  It was freezing cold in this part of the brewery.
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Budweiser brewery, the original.  Anheuser Busch stole the name over 100 years ago and they are still suing each other.  This is the original Budweiser.  We went on a tour.
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Budweiser brewery tour.  We had to climb many staircases to see this, the room so hot they had some tropical plants growing by the windows.  Sasha made it to the top!
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The main square in Ceske Budejovice, also Budweis, home to the Budweiser beer, now has an interesting art installation.  We thought they were repairing something with a temporary scaffolding, but is actually a work of art.  You walk through the elevated section to reach the hidden mediaeval fountain inside.
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Ceske Budejovice, also called Budweis.  The beautiful main square now has an art installation which hides the Samson fountain, one of the largest in Czech cities and partly hides the beautiful old Town Hall.  The first night there, I asked a local resident what it was.  She was furious that the town councilors paid for such a "monstrosity".
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Samson Fountain, inside the art installation.
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Zizka was the one-eyed general of the Czech Hussite army fighting for religious freedoms in the 15th Century.
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Ceske Budejovice, also called Budweis.  Sometimes, our Brazilian, Italian, Polish, Spanish, Czech photographers focus on taking photos of our feet more than the top of the Black Tower here in Budweis city center.  Chinese and Korean photographers tend to be much better.
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On the way from Hradec Kralove, we stopped for lunch in historic Tabor.
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Queen Lorraine presiding at Zizka's palace in Tabor.
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Happy Birthday, Sasha!
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Sasha's birthday in Hradec Kralove with friends.
Happy birthday!
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Olomouc has two large squares, all pedestrian, with many outdoor cafes, bars and restaurants.  I hope one day Antigua will have the same!
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 From the mountains, we returned back to Hradec Kralove, to be with Sasha for her birthday!
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Olomouc has several baroque fountains in the center.  We stayed in a hotel that was made out of several old houses, a couple of blocks from the main square.
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 A beautiful regional capital, Olomouc has a large town center, with the square and all streets leading into it totally pedestrian.  I wish Antigua had the same!
 
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From Jesenik, we drove to Olomouc, a regional capital.  When I was child, in my parents' mountain house (see photos below), I played for years with Dana and her brother, whose parents took them to the same village for summer vacations.  Now, after 50 years, we met for lunch.  Dana and her husband Vaclav live in Dolany, near Olomouc and have a vegetable and fruit garden.
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In the Rejviz mountain inn, the new owners have kept up the old Sudeten German tradition.  The old carved chairs are in a special room, but new chairs with faces of their frequent customers carved in the chair backs are in day-to-day use in the restaurant.  Click on any photo to see a larger image.
   
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A mountain lake with peat, high in the mountains, is now on a protected nature walk in Rejviz.
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 We had lunch in the mountain inn.  I remembered seeing the old Sudeten German chairs, with faces of their customers carved in the chair backs.  They kept them all these years!
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We took a bus to the mountains and went for a hike in Rejviz, a mountain village I visited when I was six.
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A long walk through the forests in Rejviz, in the north Moravian mountains, which are called Jeseniky.
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High up on Serak Mountain, the town and Spa of Jesenik down below us, in the distance. We had lunch in the 1888 old Sudeten-German mountain hut and cappuccino and espresso after ... with a view!  We had great weather for our trip.
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High up on Serak Mountain, in the area I liked as a child.  It has all got better with hotels, restaurants, ski resorts, cable cars, Wi-Fi, and good food everywhere. Click on any photo to see a larger image.
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As a child, with my parents, we hiked up to the top of Serak mountain, to pick blueberries.  Now there is a cable car.
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Serak is now a ski resort and an all-year-round tourist destination.  Click on any photo to see a larger image.
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We spent three nights in Jesenik, the capital of the mountains and visited parts of the area.  This is the Town Hall.
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One afternoon, we drove to Poland to a nice old town of Nysa, with an old cathedral, an old Town Hall (photo) and a good supermarket.
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We drove to northern Moravia, to Jeseniky Mountains.  In Horni Lipova, we saw the house my parents had many years ago, where I spent summer and winter vacations.
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The old house now seems to be in a poor condition.  We saw the beautiful mountains where I spent many vacations as a child and teenager.
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Josef, Jirina & Sasha on the lake near Rychnov nad Kneznou. Click on any photo to see a larger image.
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Josef & Jirina Cernikovsky and my mother Sasha enjoying a family lunch in Rychnov nad Kneznou.
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At the second Diamond wedding lunch, this in Rychnov nad Kneznou, Josef's a Jirina's birthplace. 
 
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In Rychnov nad Kneznou, we hiked down the mountain to a forest and a lake. Click on any photo to see a larger image.
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Josef & Jirina Cernikovsky and my mother Sasha enjoying a family lunch in Rychnov nad Kneznou.
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At the second Diamond wedding lunch, this in Rychnov nad Kneznou, Josef's a Jirina's birthplace. 
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Josef & Jirina on their way to the wedding hall in Hradec Kralove, in one of his historic Ford Cortinas.
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Next day, another Diamond wedding lunch, this in Rychnov nad Kneznou, Josef's a Jirina's birthplace. 
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In Hradec Kralove, the high point of the trip. A Diamond Wedding (60) of Josef & Jirina Cernikovsky (our second time with them in Hradec, see 2013 photos).  With us and them, also my mother Sasha, Josef & Jana Cernikovsky from Vermont (see 2014 photo) and Bertie Cernikovsky from Ostrava. What a party!. Click on any photo to see a larger image.
   
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On the way East from Prague, we stopped in Kutna Hora, a town made rich in the Middle Ages by its silver mines.
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Money from silver mining built, over several centuries, one of the finest European cathedrals. Click on any photo to see a larger image.
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After sightseeing, we bought a chandelier for Lorraine's dining room ...
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... and a couple of side lamps to go with it.  Click on any photo to see a larger image.
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Late night dinner, after-opera.  Behind us Charles Bridge and the Castle.  Prague is fabulous.  Click on any photo to see a larger image.
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In Wallenstein Gardens, the palace now houses the Czech Senate.  We saw an interesting "K*700" exhibition in the palace:  Charles IV, a smart ruler, was born 700 years ago.
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Our box at the National Theatre in Prague.
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In the National Theatre, a repeat of 3-year-old photo.
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View of the Prague Castle behind us.
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In the National Theatre again, to see the classic, "The Bartered Bride", also a repeat of 3-year-old photo, click here.
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On the way to the opera, we stopped to take another photo of Vltava (the Moldau) with Prague Castle above.  This is a repeat of our 3-year-old photo, see here Click on any photo to see a larger image. Click on any photo to see a larger image.
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We made a trip from Prague to Karlstejn, one of the most important Czech castles, built by Charles IV to house the Roman Imperial jewels after he became emperor in the 1440's. Click on any photo to see a larger image.
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Prague Castle above us, looking up from the steps of the St. Nicholas Church in Mala Strana ("The Little Quarter").  When I was a child, my father worked nights to rebuild their lighting and sound systems and took me all around, including some pretty dangerous places high up in the church. Click on any photo to see a larger image.
   
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View of the Prague Castle below.
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Walking down to Prague Castle, from Petrin and the Strahov Monastery. Click on any photo to see a larger image.
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We saw the old Strahov Monastery and had lunch in their brewery.
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The "Golden Lane" inside the Prague Castle, once upon a time the home of "alchemists", who promised the King to make him gold.  Eventually a set of apartments, including one of Kafka, now mainly souvenir shops with tourists from around the world. Click on any photo to see a larger image.
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The third day, we walked 8.6 miles (14 kilometers) and saw Prague Castle from high up on the Petrin tower, built in 1891 as a scale model of the Eifel Tower. Click on any photo to see a larger image.
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View of Prague Castle from the Petrin tower. Click on any photo to see a larger image.
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Second day, we walked through Stromovka Park to the old fairgrounds to a museum.  I used to love this place at Christmas as a child, they sold chocolates, mandarins, dates, figs and chocolate Christmas tree decorations. 
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We saw the Mucha Museum and had a drink in the old Tram Cafe in Wenceslas Square.  When I was kid in Prague, I rode these trams to and from school.  Another 7 miles walking.  Click on any photo to see a larger image.
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We had dinner at Lorraine's favourite, the glass rooftop terrace of the Hotel "U Prince", with spectacular night views over the Old Town Square.
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From "U Prince" you can see the illuminated Prague Castle.  It is the best evening spot for views over the town.  After walking 13 kilometers though Madrid Airport and all of Prague, we went to sleep till mid-day the following day.
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In the Old Town Square, we met a large procession, with knights riding horses and medieval people heading to the coronation of King Charles IV.  This is his 700th birthday.
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The next evening, in the same square, we saw a show of horsemanship and later a "K*700" exhibition about the king.  Big news in Prague, his 700th birthday.
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The evening on our first day in Prague, Old Town Square.  Behind us the statue of John Hus and the Tynsky Church.  Thousands of tourists from all around the world. Click on any photo to see a larger image.
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Views over the Vltava River.  On the Petrin Hill, a copy of the Eifel Tower from 1891.
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Prague Castle at sunset.
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After 24 hours from Guatemala-Miami-Madrid-Prague, instead of sleeping, we went for an 8.5 mile walk through Prague.  This is the lookout spot where the old Stalin statue used to stand from 1955 to 1962.  It was the tallest representation od Stalin the world, see below. Now hundreds of people sit, drink wine and beer and look at Prague.  Below is the "Stalin" pub.
River Vltava (Moldau) behind us.  Click on any photo to see a larger image.
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1955
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1962
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On the way from Guatemala, via Miami, IBERIA gave us an upgrade from "Misery Class".  We slept on the way to Madrid.
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On the way from Miami to Madrid, Lorraine is happy.

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This page was last updated on 12/13/16.