Category Archives: Czech republic

The Vltava river runs straight through Czechia and can be seen in many postcards with the view of Prague’s castle and old town. It’s caused havoc in Prague when the water levels rose significantly and a big part of the city flooded. However, further away from the bustle of the city, this river offers a a calming trip out in nature. Supposedly the name Vltava is derived from the old German word for wild water. You’d think it would offer adventurous rafting trips over roaring rapids. Well… there is rafting, but paddling would be a better word. From Český Krumlov several operators offer self guided rafting trips down the river. The fact that they are self guided says it all: there is not too much action involved. But that doesn’t make it less enjoyable. The water is pretty calm and therefore you will need to paddle a bit. You could…

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Prague’s a beautiful city, but after several visits, I felt the need to explore somewhere further out. I found a castle in the small town of Karlštejn, South West of Prague, that looked like an interesting place for a day trip. After an enjoyable train ride of just under an hour, our train rolled into the small station of Karlštejn. We seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, but we weren’t the only tourists alighting here. It was easy enough to follow the group in the right direction, across the river and up the hill, past souvenir shops and little cafés. In the distance we already saw the solid walls of Karlštejn Castle. On this beautiful summer day the castle was a popular attraction. You had to book a timed ticket for your visit. Perhaps that was why it didn’t feel so busy at all. I enjoyed the peaceful…

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The old Jewish cemetery in Prague felt somewhat chaotic to me.

Last minute some of us decided we wanted to see the Kutna Hora bone church. So in the morning we made our way to one of the tour company offices. It was a tiny office in a big building that obviously doesn’t usually get visitors. Luckily the friendly employees wanted to help us anyway. Their tour for the day was full, but they booked us into a competitor’s tour. We still had a few hours to wander around Prague and made our way to the Jewish cemetary. After wandering around the over-crowded graveyard and a quick stop in the Spanish synagogue we rushed back to the hotel. When the tour started it turned out they were now overbooked. They had only expected three of us, not four. And this is how I managed to kick a whole family of 6 off the tour van. They did get offered a tour…

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When John Lennon died in 1980, this brought about some emotions in communist Prague. They weren’t allowed to listen to much pop music, but loss of many people’s hero brought about a small protest. This wall in the center of Prague was covered in graffiti relating to John Lennon and the Beatles; images of his face and lyrics from the songs decorated the wall. Every time the communist regime would wipe it clean, people would repaint it. In 1988 the iron curtain fell. The people of Prague had their country and city back. The wall stayed though. Then one day in 2014 it was painted white, the only words ‘wall is over’. A group of students wanted to say that communism was over and the wall needed a new meaning. Unfortunately for them, nobody really got it and it was called an act of vandalism. Within no time the wall was…

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I didn’t have to do a thing! What a great day! My passengers had even organized dinner themselves, which gave me plenty of time to prepare other trips and do my own thing. Since staring at a computer all day can be a bit mind numbing, I decided to visit the Mucha museum in Prague. Jus off Wenceslas square lies the massive building with a small Mucha collection inside. To be honest, I’d never heard of him until I saw all his prints int he tourist shops around here. There was something about it… The expressions on the faces of the characters, the colors and shapes. Alphonse Mucha was a Czech that became one of the great artists in the time of Van Gogh and Gaugin. He gained his fame through his art nouveau advertising works. Perhaps it is a bit strange that we now consider advertising as art, but…

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So, what do you do when your passengers are out in town? Try new restaurants. While looking for decent restaurants to take my groups to, I came across this one place that I couldn’t get out of my head. I wasn’t sure I could take my passengers there though, so off I went all by myself to give it a go. It’s right around the corner from my hotel, which immediately works in favor of the restaurant. I walk up the stairs and wait to be seated. At first the waiter wanted to place me in the smokers section, but when I made it clear I’d rather go, he gave me a table to myself in the non-smoking part. Czech republic, like Austria, still has smoking sections, something that in my country and most of the country’s I’ve lived in the last years is unheard of. The whole restaurant is…

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Sometimes being a tour leader can be stressful. You’ve got people asking you all kind of questions you don’t know the answer to. You have to find out those answers, show them the way, give them suggestions for things to do, arrange train tickets… and then also make sure you’ve booked a table at a restaurant that will appeal to all. That last one is always so tricky, especially as a beginning leader, when you haven’t got a big list to choose from. Luckily the world is full of people who eat and some of them are willing to share. So I found an old recommendation for a restaurant in Prague. For some reason the restaurant I found was in a totally different location than the suggestion, but all the other info was right. So I decided to go for a walk and check it out. I needed to go…

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Cesky Krumlov. Never in my life had I heard about this town… until I started working for G. When I first saw the trip I was going to run, I was a bit confused. Why would they put me in an area I barely know and do not speak the language of. But I guess anyone can learn and make a place their own. So I found out why this is the perfect trip for me: it is filled with castles! Cesky Krumlov is the smallest town we visit, but has the 2nd largest castle complex in central Europe! It’s truly amazing and looks stunning, especially in the sunshine. The next day it was a bit dreary and cloudy, so I decided to do one of the tours going through the castle. The tour focused on the original interiors of the Baroque and Renaissance. Unfortunately you were not allowed to…

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