Monthly Archives: June 2016

Around the Village

Tchorovice has been home base for the last two weeks. When Phyllis went home, I was more than happy to do as little as possible for several days. It has been very relaxing. 

We picked about 15 gallons of strawberries at 2 fields. The best ones came from a highly organized operation – numbered rows, strawberry police and assigned marked spots to pick. It was so busy and popular, we waited in line about 20 minutes to get the berries weighed!

The facade construction job is moving along when the weather cooperates. We have had a lot of on and off rain showers. The guys on the crew are hard workers and very friendly.

I’ve enjoyed the  slower pace of the village, swimming at the Blatna pool, hanging with the kids and a little cycling.

I didn’t get to see the Cavs win the NBA championship, but Dave provided the details on Facetime and endless Facebook posts conveyed the excitement.

A “Facebook friend” cousin who I had not yet met invited me to his weekend house in the forest near Plzen. Jarda Drnek was a great host. A big thank you goes to his friend Liba for being my translator and driver. We hiked and hunted mushrooms, had a campfire, guitar playing and singing. And pivo 🍻😎 Dekuji,  Jarda.

The Tchorovice gang. Always fun.

And the ubiquitous videos and games.

We had a very successful tie dying party. Everyone learned quickly. Even the little kids enjoyed it.

Saturday evening we had a girls’ night out in Blatna. Very nice patio restaurant with great food. I tried beef cheeks (a Rick  Steves recommendation). Yum.

Return to Blatna Zamek to feed the fallow deer.

Part 2: P & J’s Excellent Adventure

I. Two days in Prague. We arrived at 6:30 am, which makes for a LONG day. Our hotel in the New Town area, was a reasonable walk fromthe main train station. With backpacks, it seemed farther. A stop at Starbucks helped. The Novomestsky Hotel, was where I stayed in 2004, my first visit to Prague with an REI hiking trip. We checked in, left our luggage and left on a long walk. To the river, across Charles Bridge, more coffee and breakfast and to our destination Kampa Museum. Then back to the hotel for noon check-in and a little rest.

Late afternoon we enjoyed the view from the Astronomical Clock tower in Old Town Square. We got a  funny view of all the ant tourists waiting for the clock’s performance on the hour.After dinner, where we met the Chile Soccer team, wewent to a Black Light theater performance. This theater originated in Prague in 1961, the first of its’ kind. It combines mime, dance, acrobatics and visual illusions. I loved itπŸ‘πŸ».

For our second day, we took a tram up to the castle neighborhood and wandered our way back to the hotel. Novy Svet, a very old street built for castle workers was fun to find. Then to Strahov Monastery, through Mala Strana (Lesser Town) back across Charles Bridge through hoardes of tourists, into Josefov and back to hotel for short rest.

Next to Obecny Dum’s Americky Bar before hearing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in Smetana Hall.  Late supper listening to blues at The Ungelt. We packed a lot into 2 days. The rest stops and coffees made it possible. After all, we are not 20 somethings (or even 50 somethings!!) On Saturday, we got a bus at 8:30 am for Cesky Krumlov.

Cesky Krumlov is a town in South Bohemia that is a protected UNESCO heritage site. The Vltava River forms an oxbow bend in the center, with dramatic rock walls. A class 1 – 2, rafting and canoeing are very popular. No kayaks yet, but the boats have come a long way since 2004. We enjoyed wandering and a castle tour. Photo opportunities ate every bend. Pension Fialka (Violet) was a charming find just outside of the centrum. We got our hill walking in.

Phyllis left for home in Seattle yesterday morning. Lenka made a very special last supper – wild boar. We really did have an excellent adventure for two weeks.

Did I mention that Phyllis and I have been friends for 57 years? Who is that lucky? And how did those years go so fast?

P & J’s Excellent Adventure

I. A 60th birthday celebration for Alena Drnkova in her garden.

II. Bus to Prague then overnight train to Krakow, Poland. We had a 6 person sleeping compartment to ourselves and sort of slept.

III. 4 days in Krakow. A beautiful medieval city with the biggest Old Town square I’ve ever seen. The 14th century Cloth Hall indoor market anchors it and a bugler sounds the hour from the church steeple. Our boutique Globetroter Hotel with a courtyard garden on its’ own smaller square. A park around the Old Town where the wall was. A Dragon Parade (because the city has its’ own dragon).Very tourist-friendly and walkable. Like 6 miles a day walkable! Inexpensive, too.

IV. A day trip to Auschwitz, the largest Nazi concentration camp. Systematic murder of 1,100,000 people, 90% of whom were Jewish. A remembrance memorial for the dead and a testament to the evil man is capable of. A very sobering experience. “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (Santana)

V. Salt mines 1/2 day tour. An amazing place, 372 steps down into salt caves. Sculptures, chapels, lakes and everything you would ever want to know about salt mining. 

VI. Wawel Castle – the seat of Polish kings. In 1100 it was a fortification above the Vistula River. Complete with its’ own Dragon’s Den.

VII. Polish overnight train to Prague. This time we were frazzled because our compartment slept six.

Fortunately, we lucked out and were not joined by four additional bunkmates. Czech train v Polish train: Czech wins for quality and comfort!

Let’s Meet in Europe

May 31 was the day my friend Phyllis Zebrowski, from Seattle, WA, joined me on the trip. We’ve been friends since kindergarten and had not seen each other in three years. The plan was to spend a few days in Tchorovice an then travel.

I spent the day touring in the rain in Pribram and Dobris before meeting Ivo after work to pick up Phyllis at Prague’s airport. Here are some photos from my day. A lot of walking took me to a basilika on the “holy mountain” and photo gallery in Pribram. Then I found the right bus to Dobris to visit a chateau.


                                                                           The airport pickup was a comedy of errors. The plane was coming from Frankfurt and we knew from a text it was delayed. Calls to Lufthansa and the airport resulted in the answers that they did not know where the plane was. Meanwhile, an internet search tracked it in the air. To drive into Prague or to return home? We went to the airport and Phyllis appeared. The plane left Frankfurt not knowing where it would land due to weather problems. She was just happy to get to Prague.

It was great to reconnect with each other in Europe. We enjoyed our time in the village with everyone and toured Blatna’s water castle with its’ herd of fallow deer wandering the park. 

We spent part of a day in Plzen and took two trains back, an adventure in itself.

After a birthday party on Saturday, we took out the backpacks and got the bus to Prague to catch an overnight train to Krakow, Poland. Negotiating trains is challenging!