“Pic of the Week”, November 7, 2014: Krumlov Castle, Czech Republic

Cesky Krumlov 010.  Castle Tower

Today’s featured pictures highlight Krumlov Castle in the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage city of Český Krumlov.  The historic core of Český Krumlov has 300 protected medieval era buildings, but its biggest landmark is its amazing castle complex, the second largest in the Czech Republic (only Prague’s is larger).  The Castle’s tower dominates the scene at 180 ft tall!.

The Castle is not only the town’s most prominent visual landmark, but it’s epicenter.  Český Krumlov was built around this castle, founded by the Lords of Krumlov (Vítkovci family) around 1253 AD.  This family was a branch of the powerful Witingonen family, which had a five-petaled rose in its coat-of-arms (which you can see on the small banners in the accompanying photos); the Witingonens were …

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“Pic of the Week”, September 19, 2014: Prague Street Food

Prague 2010 138.  Prague.  Old Town Square, kabobs

In California you might get some bean sprouts, tossed green salad or a tofurkey hot dog.  Or perhaps some very tasty but less healthful Mexican food.  Other cities often have their own unique street dishes.  For example, in Calgary the “Perogie Boys” run a popular food wagon featuring that traditional Polish dumpling.  But that’s not what you’ll find on the streets of Prague.  The street food here is hearty, traditional and substantial.  When we visited the city a few years ago, we tried a few of the items available, including some of those delicious kabobs and sausages.  The hams were warm and smoky and quite good as well.   I think street food was among the best food we had in …

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Olomouc — Now that’s a Plague column!

Olomouc — Now that’s a Plague column!

During our visit to the Czech Republic we ventured on a day trip from our base in Prague east to Olomouc (pronounced OH-loh-moats).   Most of our time in the Czech Republic had been spent in Bohemia (western part) and we wanted at least a taste of Moravia (eastern part).  Bohemians are regarded as serious, business-like beer drinkers, while Moravians are easy-going, fun-loving and beer & wine drinking.  I’d heard travel guru Rick Steves recommend day trips from Prague to Olomouc on his radio show (which I listen to by podcast and highly recommend), a trip made much easier now that …

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Cesky Krumlov: A Stroll thru a Medieval Town

Cesky Krumlov —  A Stroll thru a Medieval Town

My first view of the southwestern Czech town of Český Krumlov (pronounced CHESS-key KRUM loff — from now on I’ll just call it Krumlov, as the locals do) was from Castle hill above the town.  Having just spent a week in the wonderful city of Prague, I thought I might have developed some immunity to historic beauty — but I was wrong.  The small town of Krumlov is magical!

Separated by a 2 1/2 hour drive, Prague and Krumlov have some things in common.  Both are exceptionally well preserved historic sites spared the ravages of bombing in WWII.  Like Prague, Krumlov is dominated by a large castle on a nearby hill (which over the centuries was home …

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Praha = Prague = Fantastic!!!

Praha = Prague = Fantastic!!!

Prague (pronounced and spelled Praha on local maps) was a city I’d wanted to visit for almost 2 decades, ever since the Iron Curtain collapsed at the hands of the Velvet Revolution.  But as is often the case, life happens and my plans kept being postponed.  Still the idea of visiting Prague was firmly set and as we finally were approaching the Hlvani Nadrazi train station, completing our four hour rail journey from Vienna, I felt a tingle run up my leg (with due apologies to Chris Matthews) on seeing some of the Prague landmarks I recognized, like the spires of St. Vitus and our Lady of Tyn Cathedrals.  I was really looking forward to our upcoming week in the capitol of Bohemia and the Czech Republic.  …

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