Czech Republic

In June my mother and father in law rented a house in the Czech Republic. We drove their and meet them at the house. It was great to see them again, and the house was outside of the Prague center but not so far that you couldn’t enjoy it. So we settle in the first day and went on our discovery of Prague. From Up hill next to the castle, to down hill next to the river, Prague is just a beautiful city to visit. This is kind of interesting. This giant Metronome was erected in 1991 on a place that use to have a huge monument of Joseph Stalin (who was destroyed in 1962). If you go all the way to the Metronome, there is a Skateboard meeting place, and lots of young people meet there. Old Town square is a must when you go to Prague. Well it is next to the Astronomical Clock, there is also Tyn Cathedral and St Nicholas Church. This memorial is the statue of Religious reformer Jan hus who was burned at the stake for his belief. (nice he?)

Part of the Charles bridge, this summer wasn’t too great because of the fact that they were repaving the bridge, so it was always busy between construction and tourist. but it is one of the most beautiful bridge that I have ever seen. So many beautiful statues and views from the river.

 One of the Smallest street in Europe (I think), I mean come on , there is even a light to make sure you can pass, because 2 peoples can’t stand next to each other!! How cool is that?

Art made out of metal keys!!

Prague is also knowned for ball the beer that you can enjoy in their different Beer Garden/Restaurant and Cafe. For more information on the beer in the Czech Republic, check here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_in_Czech_Republic

Inside of the Train Station in Prague

Old Jewish Cemetary. This community weren’t allowed to buried their love one outside of the Jewish Ghetto. So they had to burried them on top of each other. It isn’t used anymore, but you can see that the tombstone are so close to each other. It is an amazing place to go visit even though it is kind of sad that Jewish had to suffer in that kind of way!

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Kutna Hora Czech Republic

While in the Czech Republic in June, we went to Kutna Hora. We stopped at the Cathedral of our Lady to try to find more information about the town, or at least a plan of the town. So we went toward the cathedral and I guess I was kinda of lucky and passed under the radar of the “entrance lady” so I didn’t have to pay my entrance.

I was very surprise in Prague about the fact that most of the church/Cathedral and Chapel have entry fees. I mean I understand if you are a huge known church like the Vatican or like that. but even Notre Dame doesn’t have a entry fee. WTH?

Well anyway. I thought this church no matter the fact of entry fee, was beautiful. So much light, huge beautiful space and the colors where beautiful! St. Felix Remains. The Sedlec Ossuary: It is believe to contain the skeletons of 40000 to 70000 people.

Because of the Black Death in the mid 14th century and the Hessian Wars in the early 15th Century the local cemeteray had to be enlarged to make room for the newly deceased. A church was build on the cemetary ground and on the lower level of it, the ossuary was build and the task of exhuming and stacking the bones started.
In 1870 a woodcarver was employed byt the Schwarzenberg family to put the bones in somekind of order. An incredible and macabre artform is the result.
And then there is Saint Barbara Church, one of the most famous Gothic churches in Central Europe and is part of the UNESCO world heritage site.
Again a beautiful sight. Just gorgeous ceiling.

Terezin Czech Republic

Terezin fortress is located N.W of Prague. I didn’t go to that outing, because I didn’t feel that good that day. So Matt’s parents, the kids and himself went there. I am glad to not have gone, because I have issue with place that saw lots of suffering. Damien took all those pictures, and I believe he did a very good job at it! Don’t you think so.

Well here is what I learn after they came back from their time in Terezin and also by researching the subject.

Terezin was constructed as a Fortress in the 1780/90 time. It was never fully finished, and in 1940 the Gestapo took over and set up a prison for “Priviledge Jews”.
What is being a “Priviledge jews” you may ask, well apparently it was for people who had some kind of education(Artist, Writers, Scientist, Jurists, Diplomats, Musicians…etc…). It was used by the Nazi on their Propaganda and was (probably the only) the camp that was mostly visited by Red Cross. The Barracks of the Fortress were build to house 7000 individual. During the “Working Camp” in 1940-1945 it accomodated over 50000. Some survivors claimed it reached 75000.
Terezin camp was a source of free jewish labor (slave) for the Germans. Prisoners were assigned different tasks: Mining mica, manufaturing boxes or coffins, spraying military uniforms with white dye. According to ex-prisoners, it was also a sorting re-distribution center for clothing items confiscated from Jews. The baggages were taken away and send to Terezin where it would have been sorted out and send out all over Germany for the people who were bombed out.
Married couple were given a single room and were able to stay together in their sleeping quarter. Because Terezin was design to house “Priviledge” Jews, it did have the cultural life that most camp didn’t. Jazz ensembles, Chamber Orchestra Groups, education for children etc…They also overcame a lack of water by building water pipe system and water supply system.

Traveling & Visiting Europe

Every year in Europe you will find the “European Heritage days”. Those days are different in each country but the benefits are normally the same. MOST National Museum is open to the public for FREE!! Yeap you read it right FREE!! Now be careful I didn’t say EVERY museum is FREE. I said MOST NATIONAL museums. So do your homework before you end up going to place that you’ll have to pay. You can Google information of the European Heritage days and you’ll find tone of goodies. I will list below the one that I thought could be of interest. Also based of the fact that we live in Germany and that I tend to only do day trip I kept that in mind. However if you are more adventurous and your purse coin is heavier than mine you can go to this website and click on the country that you are interested to visit:

Council of Europe – Directorate of Culture, Cultural and Natural Heritage-European Heritage Days

Those are some of the official one for different country around Germany: (since I live there) 😉

Austria: BDA – Bundesdenkmalamt Österreich 26 of September 2010

Belgium: Wallonia: Accueil Les journées du patrimoine 11-12 September 2010

Flanders: Heritage Day Flandres Open Monumentendag Vlaanderen 12 September 2010

Brussels Capital: Monument 18-19 September 2010

Czech Republic: European Heritage Days 11-19 September 2010

France: – Frédéric Mitterrand’s Editorial Journées européennes du Patrimoine 2010 18-19 September 2010

Germany: Tag des offenen Denkmals – Programm zum Tag des offenen Denkmals 12 September 2010

Hungary: Kulturális Örökség Napjai A Felemelő Század: A “Nemzeti Styl” – 2010. szeptember 18-19. 18-19 September 2010

Italy: Home-Page Sito web del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali 25-26 September 2010
Luxembourg : Service des Sites et Monuments Nationaux 18-19 September 2010

Netherlands: Summary – Open Monumentendag 11-12 September 2010

Poland: Europejskie dni dziedzictwa 11-12 and 18-19 September 2010

Switzerland: Nationale Informationsstelle für Kulturgüter Erhaltung NIKE : Journée du patrimoine
11-12 September 2010

Hope it can make your visiting a little easier, and hopefully you’ll be able to visit some area or some museum that you might not have enjoyed cause the price was too much! Enjoy!!!

 

 

De blog

Plzen Czech Republic

First published June 1st 2011
We are on a little vacation with the kidos. So since we were in Grafenworth. we decided to go to Plzen in the Czech Republic! Why you ask??? I don’t have any idea!! LOL I didn’t chose the destination, Matt did.
Well here is his reason. Plzen is the city were Pilzen is made. here is more info
well, now you know one of the reason… The other one. It is Army celebration day in the Czech Republic and there is a bunch of military dude that are meeting not too far from Plzen, and well I am dropping off, Matt and the boys down there! Yes… DROPPING them off. NO way, I am going there and watching tanks and random military machine going around in circle! (No really I don’t have any idea of what’s going on in those days, so don’t trust me… really trust me… I don’t know nothing about it!)
See that’s the poster for it… I mean who would want to go to see Tanks and more tanks, and you know… heavy machinery shooting random target!!! NOPE…. Not me!

Our first visit to Prague

Just a little note to join with my pictures of Prague, It was amazing.

 

 

 

 

We left Heidelberg on the USO bus at 2.30am (yeah you read it right) then we hit a “Stau” (traffic jam) around 3.30 some dude fell asleep on the wheel and hit a US military convoy. No-one got hurt but we did get stuck (really really STUCK, as of not moving 1 inch) for over 3 hours. We finally started moving around again at 7am. NICE!!
We still had 6 hours bus ride, so we didn’t arrive until 1pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were suppose to have a tour of the city with a guide, well since we lost so much time on the bus, we had a 2 hours tour.

After following for about 30mn, it was clear that the guide was in a hurry to show as many things as possible and that we weren’t going to be able to stop and take pictures. At one point, we were following the group (a little behind, but still seeing them) and suddenly they all disappeared.

 

 

So Matt and I thought, hmmm to we want to run to find them, or just get lost! We chose to get lost, took our time to go around and I took my pictures.

It was a very nice spring day, we did have some cloud and some sun shine and some rain, but… what a gorgeous city to get lost in!

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of Easter Market all over town. So cool!!

 

A MUST see, a MUST come back and we WILL for sure, and hopefully I will be able to give you a little more info, since I didn’t do much research about the place before we went there. 😉