The wonders of Czech and Polish television

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. I have not only taken pictures of the television, but I am now posting pictures of the television (heck, I already took pictures of bacon, so how much weirder can this be?). I do this in an attempt to convey the wonder that is Czech and Polish television. Our very first evening in Prague, we turned on the TV to unwind and found "Charmed" dubbed in Czech (this will seem even funnier to those who know that my senior thesis for Religious Studies was about popular culture portrayals of Wicca and Witchcraft and as part of this I studied the series "Charmed"). In Poland, after a very emotionally exhausting trip to Auschwitz, I was feeling a little brain dead and turned on the TV only to find the most adorable Polish cartoon featuring little barn animals (a mean little skunk tricked the cow, hen and pig into thinking there was a "trollum" or troll under the bridge so he could steal their pie and the sheep are practicing a play to help the animals). When I was giggling like crazy Ali just rolled her eyes at me, and when I jumped up and got my camera she said "are you really taking a picture of the TV?"
In Brno, I was lucky enough to stumble upon "The Simpsons" dubbed in Czech. Homer does not say "DOH!" and it sounds like Marge is dubbed by a man, but it doesn't really matter, I still get a kick out of it anyways. They also have some pretty snazzy aerobic shows and lots of history documentaries. I know most people would say that you don't travel to a foreign country to watch TV, but you really should!

A view worth the hike

So since I arrived in Brno with Tom I have been walking everywhere. I've actually had the same unused tram ticket in my pocket for the last four days since I keep thinking that I'll use it and then I decide to walk instead. I do love this pedestrian society, although I think part of the walking is indicative of city life rather than a distinctly Czech phenomenon (this bodes well for me since I am Boston-bound in the fall). I've also come to love mass transit which is rather a surprise since I grew up on a small island in Maine and used to think I was incapable of figuring out things like bus schedules or metro lines. Anyways, this is the view that greeted me after a steep climb up the hill to the castle.

Groggy at the castle

So as I mentioned in the post before this, I wasn't feeling my best when I visited the castle today. However since I had hiked all the way up there I figured I might as well walk around a little bit and a ticket to see just the ground floor was only 50 kc. One part of the exhibit was amazing because they had removed the floor and placed a grate over it which you could walk along. This way the excavations and the foundation were visible.
As I wandered around in this basement labyrinth I had a series of adorable Czech women pointing me in the right direction. The museum at the castle seems to have decided that they are only going to employ sweet older Czech women to work for them and I fully approve of this hiring strategy. Every time I entered a new part of the exhibit I was met by a new woman who would speak to me in Czech while I looked at her with a blank expression. One woman asked in Czech if I understand and I said no so she asked "Deutsch nebo Anglicky?" and then gave me a series of directions in English to help guide me through one section of the exhibit. Later, from another woman, I received what sounded like very detailed and helpful directions, they were however in Czech. I spoke some Czech with her and then when she proceeded to tell me something that sounded very important, but was in Czech, I had to answer "ne rozumem" (I don't understand) and she got a confused look on her face. I explained "Sem Americanka, ne mluvite, oh wait, uhh, ne mluvem cheski" (at first I told her she doesn't speak Czech, I make this mistake often). At this point she smiled and told me my Czech was very good and then continued telling me very detailed and important instructions in Czech. Perhaps my deer-in-the-headlights look actually looks to others like a complete-comprehension-of-everything-you-are-saying-to-me-look. I had this same problem at French Immersion camp in high school where everyone thought I must be completely fluent because I just nodded and smiled whenever people spoke to me. I will work on this and make sure that my face always looks appropriately confused.


The castle itself. I walked around quite a bit outside, there are extensive walking trails and there were many people out and about with their dogs or small children. I bought a ticket for just the ground floor since I was still not feeling great and I was a little confused when the lady threw a bunch of options at me, so I did not get to see the dungeons but just walking around outside was enough and I can always go back.
Mom, you build walls like this right? I mean, I could easily mistake this for something we have in our back yard.
The translation of the information about the bells was pretty funny. I'm not sure I can remember it well enough to pass on the amusement, but I believe there was something in there about how they chime for whole hours from 9am to 3pm.
I just kind of have a thing for doors, they're pretty. There is a whole folder of pictures of doors from my India trip, so consider yourself lucky I only posted one.
Looking down into the yard the fortifications were quite impressive, I think if I had bought the correct ticket I would have been able to walk around down in there and see all the spooky cellar dungeons.

A paradox of sorts

BIG BIG BOTTLE OF WATER and itty bitty glass.

So Tom and I were remarking last night at dinner how we miss big American glasses (not necessarily Big Gulp sized, but a good 12 oz would be nice) as many of the glasses and mugs here are very dainty. So it amused me that in comparison with this delicate little glass is the giant bottle of water that you see many people walking around with. This also happens to be both Tom's and my own favorite water here, although I tease him that he just likes it because it's named after him (Toma Sveszi).

Because Tom said I could

So Tom also said that I could post a picture of him, so here is the diligent Fulbrighter in his office in Masaryk. The university is beautiful inside with a huge swooping marble staircase and lots of natural light. There is also a cafe in the basement that has tables and big amphitheatre style seating with stairs built in. We sat down there today to enjoy cappuccinos and coconut biscuits before my solo castle adventure (the biscuits are stacked wafers with coconut cream in between then dipped in chocolate, mmmm).
After hiking up the hill to get to the castle I turn around and there is Masaryk University (see it's to the left of the brick church) so I waved and waved to Tom but he didn't wave back, he must not have seen me.

Because Ali said I could...

So Ali gave me permission to post a picture of the two of us from the trip. This was taken at Troja and is one of my favorites of the two of us. Mom was wandering around the top part of the staircase while Ali and I went under the main steps to get a better view of the huge statue at the bottom of the Titans fighting. With the acoustics in that space it made it really hard for Mom to hear where we were so we practically played a game of "Marco Polo" until she was able to find us and then take the picture (I'm assuming that everyone reading this is able to tell Ali and I apart, but if not, I am on the left and Ali is on the right).

What do chocolate doughnuts and castles have in common?

Uhh, I don't know, maybe they're both filled with goodness?

So I woke up this morning with a tummy ache and went "Sacre Bleau, this cannot be, I must go to the Castle today, I MUST!" Except with a lot less drama since it was early in the morning and I hadn't had any coffee yet. I am happy to report however that the delicious doughnuts that Tom brings to the apartment every morning after his run seems to have made me feel all better. These doughnuts really are amazing, since I have to admit, I have a severe Nutella addiction, and these little fluffy pillows of deliciousness are stuffed with Nutella. It's good that I'm able to get my chocolate hazelnut fix in early in the morning since there are whole jars full of Nutella at the store and I'm working very hard at resisting them. So remember, chocolate doughnut solves all problems (except for perhaps a chocolate allergy). But about the castle visit today that the tummy ache almost foiled: Spilberk is right in the center of Old Brno on the top of the hill and was built in the 13'th century and then later transformed into a Baroque fortress. The site is also somewhat infamous however as it served as a prison after the Napoleonic wars and again by the Nazis (so I guess my earlier comment that both doughnuts and castles are filled with goodness might be incorrect). So expect pictures of the castle at some point and since Tom and I are going to Vienna tomorrow there should be some great pictures from that trip as well. And if I am not able to post for a couple days it will be because I am too busy enjoying sachertorte, strudels and soaking in the culture from the home of Mozart, Freud and the Hapsburgs!

Another request met

So Ali wanted a posting of some of the signs around here. Now there should be a disclaimer about this sign though since it is from Prague, which Tom has appropriately nicknamed "the Disney World of the Czech Republic" because many people speak English and it's quite easy to navigate (kinda like the World Expo at Disney World apparantely). Also, from reading one of the guidebooks we picked up some Czech words which make it very to figure out landmarks and such. Narodni is national (muzeum is as obvious as it looks), Hlavni means main or central so there are many Hlavni Nadrazi (Main Station) and in this sign a Main Post Office. Nove, means new and mesto is town so Novemestska Radnice is New Town Hall.


Dragon or Alligator, you decide

So after showing Tom the picture of the Alligator that I took today he showed me a story about it in one of the Brno guides we have (and in case you're wondering, the picture above has nothing to do with this story, it's just pretty, consider it a photographic non-sequiter). The old story that is told about Mr. Alligator (remember I am looking for a good name for him in the posting below so until I hear one that really fits his personality I am going to have to be formal) is that he wandered away from a group of comedians and became a real nuisance to the townspeople (as most giant carnivorous beasties are) so a prisoner in the Spilberk suggested they use a dead sheep as bait and fill it with quick lime. Sure enough Mr. Alligator fell for the plan and quickly "slake" (the English translation is a little on the iffy side) and was then hung in front of City Hall.
However, the real story is even better than the myth. In 1608 the dragon (oh, did I forget to mention that Mr. Alligator's alias is Brno Dragon since he was believed to be a dragon) was given by a Turkish delegation to King Matthiad. Now, while it was a very rare and costly gift, it didn't really go with any of King Matthiad's furnishings (really, when you think about it, does anything match Alligator/Dragon skin?) so he donated (also known as re-gifting) it to the city of Brno.

What spells joy? B-A-C-O-N

So funny enough, about a month ago I was a vegetarian. Not really for any specific reason, mostly because I'm not good at cooking meat (and eating it raw is ill-advised) but also because after going long periods without eating it I found I didn't miss it. However, in preparation for the trip we got a Czech cook book, since Czech restaurants haven't really taken off in the U.S. and we wanted to try the cuisine. In the cook book it was a lot of meat. In the section on vegetable dishes the author even joked that they would be more aptly called "things Czechs serve with meat." So, this struck some fear into my little vegetarian heart since I did not want to live on potatoes and beer while I was here. So, I bit the bullet and started getting used to meat again so it wouldn't make me sick while I was here.

Well I'm happy to say that my States side carnivore training has paid off and I am able to eat the many delicious meat dishes served here (like steak with bacon or hot dogs). As part of this, I have been able to enjoy the piece of culinary heaven that is Czech bacon. If you want the world's most delicious bacon, you need to come here to the Czech Republic. I believe I have already extolled the virtues of the bacon when I described the delicious bacon grilled cheese sandwiches Tom and I made for dinner the other night. So, given it's supreme tastiness and ability to make a former vegetarian crave pork, I figured that bacon deserved it's very own posting!

Charles Bridge

So my Mom asked if I had any pictures from on the Charles Bridge and of the statues that line it, so here they are (so take note, I do take requests!)A view of the bridge from the Old Town tower. The bridge was commissioned by Charles IV in 1357 and was the only crossing point over the Vltava until 1741. While it is now open only to foot traffic it used to be able to hold four carriages abreast (it's amazing what you can learn when you read the guidebooks cover to cover). Due to concerns about their preservation, most of the statues have been replaced with replicas.
Reliefs on the statue of St John Nepomuk (never heard of him? yeah, me neither, and I'm a Religious Studies major!) show how he was martyred by being tortured and then thrown off the bridge by the orders of Wenceslas IV. The dog is polished by people touching him for good luck, the same has happened on the relief on the other side where people touch the figure that is being thrown off the bridge.
Statue of St Barbara, St Margaret and St Elizabeth from 1707.
A view along the bridge to the Old Town bridge tower that was built by Peter Parler at the end of the 14'th century. Even during the off season the bridge was swarmed with tourists like ourselves and vendors selling jewelry, pictures of Prague, and caricature artists.
St John of Nepomuk himself, statue from 1683 (I think he knows that his future looks grim)

A teacup day

So I got home and realized not only did I have my teacup (and saucer) purchasing adventure but while I was waiting at the post office in between watching the little dog tied up outside and hoping I had enough koruna (Czech currency) to mail the two letters and all the postcards, I noticed that along with the cards that were for sale, there were also some little picture stickers. These were obviously for some lucky little Czech child (I think they make them cuter here, along with the dogs) since they had pictures of things like boats, trains, umbrellas and trousers and then the words in both Czech and English with pronunciation guides for the English spellings. Obviously a small child would be delighted by this, but so was I since my language skills (in Czech, hopefully not in English) are about the same as a three year old, although that is probably an insult to all Czech toddlers of average intelligence. It really is true though since I know how to say "I want," "No," "Yes," and "Please," obviously words that most toddlers are well versed in (especially the "I want" and "No"). However, most exciting about these stickers was that one of the little pictures was of a cup and saucer, just like the ones I had purchased and were in my bag at that very moment. I wish I could tell you all that this now means I know the Czech word for cup but I seem to have forgotten it after all the excitement of actually having enough money to mail the letters, and then promptly dropping ALL my change on the floor (which was pretty darn embarrassing and I ran out of there in a hurry even though I apparently missed a 1 kc coin because the old man behind me kept saying "tady, tady" or "there, there" and pointing to the corner, oh well, it's worth about a nickel, I think I'll live). But, in summation, it was a double teacup day!


The veggie market with the interesting statue (I plan on getting close up to it but so far I've been too shy, Brno isn't really a tourist place so I feel super conspicuous walking around with my camera).
A pretty church right near Tom's university. Also a very handy landmark!

Alligators in Brno?

Haha, so this wee beastie hangs around in a little building off the market. He's a pretty popular guy since he is also featured on many a Brno postcard. While he probably has a Czech name, since I will be seeing a lot of him, I think I should have a special name for him. Any suggestions?

Brrrrrrno (because it's a little chilly today)

Our street, pretty fancy, huh? I met Tom again today for lunch, we went to the place with the great falafel. After that I was on a tea cup mission, searching for replacements for the beautiful ones we got the last time we were in Brno but which happened to have been stolen in the whole birthday incident. Luckily I was able to find the same store and I know about enough Czech to do shopping "chtyela bech kopet tento, prosim" (forgive me if the spelling is wrong, our Czech lessons were audio not written." In the store and also later in the post office, people are very patient with me and my pretty much mono-lingual ways. After saying hello in Czech when I am met with complicated questions (usually the Czech equivalent of "can I help you?") or numbers higher than 30 (that's as far as I've learned so far) I get a deer in the head lights look which luckily is met with a great deal of patience and help. Both Tom and I have found that it is surprisingly effective to point and use hand gestures and when it comes time to pay we put some money in our hands and people just take out the correct amount and give us back the change. Tom has even been lucky enough to have been given a Czech currency tutorial from the nice ladies at the grocery store where they explained the amount of each coin (it's a little more complicated than you might think).

St. Vitus' Cathedral

St. Vitus' at nighttime. I took this picture after we left the concert in St. George's Basilica which was beautiful (both the music and the location) but very, very cold!

The Alfons Mucha art noveau window in the Cathedral. The cathedral was beautiful but pretty crowded. It was great though to see the golden replica of the cathedral made by Peter Parler (most of the church was also done by him but it was not finished within his lifetime)

Just one more picture

The Charles Bridge in Prague

More Brno + Food

While I'm on the subject of Czech food I should mention the lunch Tom and I had yesterday. Normally for lunch we just go to the nearest street vendor and get a hot dog (they're extra delicious here since they're more like pigs in a blanket and the bun is a nice toasted roll) but we saw there was one vendor that also had an inside seating section. Lucky for us, a lot of places here have big pictures of the specials and we just have to signal the number of the special we want. Tom got falafel, and I got a hummus platter. When mine came though, it was just a big bowl of hummus, with oil on top, served with just a spoon, no bread. After actually eating a spoonful of hummus, I decided that not even I like hummus enough to eat it by the spoonful, so I copied Tom and got falafel too and we put the hummus on top. It was surprisingly the best falafel I've ever had and even more shocking, the sandwich had fresh veggies in it (most of our meals here consist of meat, more meat, some meat on top of the meat, bread, and potatoes). I'm looking forward to seeing where our lunch time adventures bring us today!

Brno + Food

So as I'm sitting here doing my little morning coffee routine (it normally also includes the most delicious doughnuts which are stuffed with nutella) I thought I would fill people in on what it's like to grocery shop in a foreign country. As you can see from the picture, milk in Czech is mleko and sugar is cukr. I have also had to learn the Czech words for salt, cinnamon, bacon and cheese. For a lot of food items I can obviously identify what I need (bananas look the same in Czech, as does cauliflower and bread). For other things pictures are really helpful (the jar with a picture of a peanut on the front was in fact peanut butter, hooray!). I had been avoiding getting meat and cheese however, as these would require me to have to say and understand different amounts (there's a lot less English spoken in Brno than in Prague and I seriously doubt that anyone would understand me if I asked for a quarter pound of bacon). However yesterday, armed with my phrasebook and some words I had looked up (like bacon, more, less, this, that, and enough) and with Tom backing me up, we bought bacon (salina angliana, or English bacon) and cheese. This with the bread (chleb) from the little store down the street went into making the world's most delicious bacon grilled cheese sandwich, which was the first meal made in the apartment.

Marzipan and pictures to start the day

To start the day off on a happy note, MARZIPAN!! The marzipan in Prague tasted a little different, according to my Mom, the marzipan connoisseur. It was a more doughy with a less concentrated almond taste. But they were still too adorable to ignore and we happily ate a little strawberry creation. I think these goodies are cute enough to be on Cute Overload.
I thought I'd start the day off with a whole mess of pictures from the trip. This is from the Troja House in Prague, it's a big house done in the Italian Villa style right by the Prague zoo (where they have excellent otters and giraffes but the polar bears look very sad) and has amazing frescoes inside.
This is the statue of Jan Hus with the Church of our Lady of Tyn in the background in Staromestske Namesti in Prague. I have a picture of him later with a pigeon perched on his head and somehow it takes away from his austere countenance.


Getting stranded in Poland

So things in Krakow had gone well, and it was time to meet up with the rest of the family in Brno. We had booked tickets through eurorail, and in retrospect that is not recommended. We ended up with 6 train transfers in all and some of the connections were pretty tight. However, we were buoyed up by our travel successes so far and thought, what could go wrong (never, ever ever think this thought while you are travelling, just don't!). So after making the first connection, we were an hour closer to the Poland/Czech Republic border and were preparing for the transfer where we only had six minutes. We got our bags all set and were waiting diligently by the train door to jump out and run when we arrived at the station. But it was all in vain, the other train had left early (only in Europe do the trains run early). We trooped into the ticket office, and tried to find out when the next train left for Ostrava (a town just inside the Czech Republic and an hour away from where we were) only to be told, or I should say signalled since the kind lady spoke no Czech and no English, that the next train to Ostrava did not leave until 3 days from then. Panicked, we start trying to find out if we can get to Prague or if there is another train out or a bus. She laughs at us, and then signals that we can take a train to a town called Chalupek, and from there will need to walk across the border into the Czech Republic (I started laughing in hysteria at the idea of walking across a Polish border). However, since this did in fact seem the best option we exchanged some more money for zlony and bought tickets. On the train we tried to figure out if we would be able to make it into Brno that night but without having any idea of how long the walk is instead thought that any mile closer to the border we could get was the best we could do for the evening. At the town of Raciborz though, we were told (or we think we were told, it's hard to know when you barely speak Czech and really don't speak polish) that we needed to get off the train. At the ticket office the lady told us that we could not get to Chalupek from Raciborz (if all roads lead to Rome then apparently the inverse can be said of Chalupek) and needed to get a train back to the town we had just come from where we would wait for three days for the next train out. It was at this point that I said to Ali "to heck with trains" but only if you substitute in some more colorful language. I decided we were going to get a taxi across the border, even if I had to pay 100 euro to do it. Stopping at the first taxi I saw, I tried to ask how much to get to Bohumen (remember the name of this town from the last story? apparently we would do well to just steer clear of this place forever) and while we're trying to figure out what number she was saying, our taxi driver asks us "you speak English?" This was Anna. Our saint and savior for the day. For 110 zlony (about 50 U.S. dollars) she drove us right to the train station in Bohumen, sparing us from a five mile walk from Chalupek into Bohumen at night time. When we walk into the train station we are met with another miracle, a train leaving for Brno in 30 minutes. We get tickets and then grin the whole train ride where we show up at the station only 40 minutes later then we would have otherwise but having gone a whole different route and spent a great deal of time speaking in Pol/Czech/lish.
God Bless Anna!

Romanesque Church

In case I piqued any serious interest in the little limestone church in the middle of the square, here is a picture so you can see it for yourself!

While in Krakow

So after the fun of getting there, and a slightly restful nap (it was only two hours after all) we made our way into into the center of the town to start seeing sights and find some food. The cloth hall and St Mary's both stand in the middle of the giant square. Along with a romanesque church that was built in the 900's and looks like it's crooked compared to the rest of the buildings because it's aligned east to west (or perhaps north to south, wanna help me out here Ali?). We then decided to find Wawel Castle, which was not hard to do since it is ENORMOUS!! We toured the inside of the church which was overwhelmingly beautiful and we were able to climb up into the bell tower (which is where the previous picture of Krakow came from). In all our time spend in Krakow was enjoyable and rather relaxing, involving lots of potato soup, borscht, perogies and hot chocolate so thick it was like eating a candy bar that had been left in the sun. If only we new what we were in for with our trip to Brno... (how's that for a suspenseful pause? I think you'll have to wait for the story of how we were stranded in Poland)

Why Sister Trips are worth the hurdles...

Sister Trip

So I know that four posts in an hour is looking a little excessive, but Tom is getting home from work a little later tonight (the Czech Republic is 6 hours ahead of the east coast in the States, so while it looks like all these posts are from noon time it's almost 6 pm here) and I figured I should update people about the trip while I had the motivation.

In addition to visiting Prague and Brno, my sister Ali and I (in retrospect it was mainly my idea and I talked her into it like a used car salesman convincing a potential buyer that a 94' Geo Metro is a great car and a superb adventure!) thought it would be cool to take a sister trip somewhere. Initially we were thinking Italy, beautiful people, architecture, art, and food. Perfect, right? However, the cost of travelling there was astronomical and it would take just too much time out of Ali's limited 10-day stay in the Czech Republic. So somehow, we settled on Poland (which it did turn out had beautiful people, architecture, art, and food... just a little different than Italy's, think perogies instead of gnocchi).
We picked Krakow as a destination close enough to Prague and Brno that it would be manageable, the guide book (never travel anywhere in Europe without your handy Rick Steves' guide!) also said that Krakow was a nice mellow location, I believe the exact term was "the Boston of Eastern Europe." Figuring in that there was a night train from Prague to Krakow and that we could also spend a day at Auschwitz we thought it would be a good trip for us.

Now enters the hard part. Apparently night trains are not as easy-breezy as I had experienced them to be in India. This is also the part of the story where Ali (as the buyer of that metaphorical 94' Geo Metro that is a sister trip to Poland, sees why it is not a good idea to trust a used car salesman like me). A summary of the travails that occurred on our trip there are as follows; I took Dramamine and was very drowsy and slept almost all the way there. Ali, as the non-comatose one, was left being concerned when we stopped at the border town of Bohumen and security men in orange banged on the window and pointed off the train. It was Ali who had to figure out why we were being told that we needed to exit the train when we weren't supposed to have any transfers and then it was also Ali who shepherded her very sleepy sister from one compartment to the next and saw that they cabin we were in was being decoupled from the train and if we had stayed in our cabin we would have been stuck in Bohumen. So after a long night of her being stressed about the probability of us arriving in Krakow and very little sleep on her part (and a great deal on mine), we did in fact arrive at our destination and after much fussing with a map (the one in Rick Steves' is hand drawn so if you use this guidebook it's recomended that you pick up a free map at tourist information) and realizing that the compass on my watch does not actually work. So after all that fuss getting to Krakow, what was the first thing we did? Nap!

Because you can never have enough peacocks...

A peacock a day...

My family's last full day in Prague (Mom and my two sisters had to return to the U.S. for silly things like school and work) was also the day we were celebrating Mom's birthday. However, the night before we'd had a rude shock when we returned to our guest house after a folk music and dance performance (a little on the hokey side but surprisingly amusing and with abundant food and as much beer and honey wine as you could drink it was an enjoyable night even with me being forced up to participate in the "Moravian Broom Dance") to find that Mom and Tom's room had been broken into and not only were important things like bags, credit cards and a camera stolen, but the jerks had taken her birthday presents!! The next day understandably everyone was a little grumpy but we decided to carry on with the birthday celebration as planned. So we wandered around the New Town area until we found the Botanical Gardens and the smell of warm dirt and plants helped cheer us up a bit. After lunch we took a tram into Mala Strana to do some last minute tourist shopping and were just wandering around when we stumbled past a large walled in park. After meandering up paths past benches and little ponds, we came into a courtyard to be greeted with this image. A whole flock (I'm sure there is some special collective noun for peacocks but since I do not know it we will have to make do with "flock") of peacocks and the most charming elderly couple feeding them and the pigeons. Needless to say a half hour later after much bird watching, we all walked out with big grins on our faces feeling much better about the day. Thank you peacocks for saving Mom's birthday!

Forced Labor

So perhaps I should start by explaining that this blog is the result of my Mom and sister Ali's fairly consistent pestering of "you and Tom (my step-father) should write a blog about all your adventures in the Czech Republic." And since they were so insistent I gave in. So hopefully this will make for a pleasant way for all of our friends and family to stay updated about travels, enjoy!