The Writing on the Wall

We've noticed that the US and Prague have one thing in common - graffiti. We were disappointed to see that historical buildings, more than a 150 years old, can't even escape this blight.

We've heard that in the early 1990s, shortly after the Czech Republic gained freedom from communism, the young people expressed their freedom by leaving their mark behind as graffiti. I can understand their need to celebrate, but marking up historical buildings doesn't add much aura to the city.

Everywhere you go, someone has left a mark behind even if it's on a famous historical site. Some identify their graffiti as art - which in some cases seems to be true, but that still doesn't make it right. Some of the decorative graffiti takes much talent to produce.

The authorities in this city have tried to curb the graffiti because it's against the law, but that doesn't stop the young people from doing it. There are markings on every metro train that I've ridden on includi…

Castle or Chateau?

Since we've lived in the Czech Republic, we have gotten used to the idea of people visiting a nearby castle on their day off.  We haven't had any opportunities like that because we lack the car to go on a Sunday drive. Therefore, one of my goals during our May vacation was to see a Czech castle on our drive to Austria.

After doing my research online, I found such a castle in Hluboka nad Vltavou. The fairytale castle was situation on a bluff above the Vltava River.

When we arrived in the town below the castle, we noticed that signs, directing tourists up the bluff, were labeled "zamek." After finding that word on Google translate, we learned it means chateau in Czech. So, were we visiting a castle or a chateau?

From all outward appearances, the building looked like a castle - turrets, a drawbridge, parapets, and battlements. It was rather magnificient as we walked toward it, fitting my idea of a fairytale castle.

However, it didn't have a moat around it. Instead i…

Myths about the Movie

One of the highlights of our recent vacation (for me at least) was joining the Sound of Music bus tour. We learned the facts about the von Trapp family and the reality behind the movie making process. I'll share a few of them with you.

Most of the basic story dealt with real facts. After the death of Captain von Trapp's wife, Maria came to be a governess to his eight children. It was interesting to me that Maria was 25 years younger than Captain. We saw the abbey where she was living before meeting the family but couldn't go inside the structure since it's still a nunnery today.

Two different houses were actually used for filming the Captain's house. Today both houses are privately owned so that's as close as we could get. On the right, is the house that was used as the front for the movie. Maria walked along the wall in the picture the first day she went to meet the children. The back of the house was across town on a lake (pictured on the left).

During the m…

Postcard from Bavaria

After taking a vacation in the Bavarian Alps and lake region of Austria, I'm sharing pictures with you this week. Hope you enjoy them!

We saw several beautiful mountain lakes (called see in German) in Austria. 
We loved all the Austrian buildings in the towns we visited. Everywhere we looked it was so picturesque.

A Czech Tragedy

A walk back in history today...

During WWII, Czechoslovakia was under the control of the German army. Reinhard Heydrich, known as "the Butcher of Prague", was the commander of the Nazi army there. Many Czechs disappeared when Heydrich came to town because of his ruthlessness when dealing with the Czech people. He was also in charge of the "Final Solution" of the Jews in Europe.

At the time, the Czech government-in-exile, with the cooperation of the British intelligence, planned an assassination of Heydrich to impress on the Allies and Stalin that the Czechs were in the fight to get rid of the Nazis. This plot was named Operation Anthropoid.

In December, 1941, Jozef Gabcik (a Slovak) and Jan Kubis (a Czech), along with several other exiled Czech soldiers, were air-dropped into Czechoslovakia near Prague. They hid  among Czech patriotic families and anti-Nazi rebels for several months, planning the details of the assassination.

On May 27, 1942, Gabcik and Kubis threw …

Our Small Ancient Church

For the last year, I've been sharing pictures of majestic ancient churches in the area of Prague. I recently decided that I've never spoken about the church that my husband has been serving during our year in the Czech Republic - St. Michael the Archangel Lutheran Church. Of all the one hundred spires of Prague, our church is the only one that is Lutheran in the entire city.

St. Michael's was first built during the 1100s. Only two pillars  of the original structure are still in existence in the nave of our church. It has been owned by several different church bodies including the Catholic Church, the Benedictine monks, and  protestants. The German Lutherans purchased the church in the late 1700s.

Today it is owned by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Czech Republic. Every Sunday three Lutheran congregations with three different pastors worship in this church. The Slovaks have their service at 9:30. The English service is at 11:00. And at 6:00, the Czechs hold their servi…

Cathedral in Olomouc

We were in a city two hours east of Prague recently called Olomouc. While we were there, we visited St. Wenceslas Cathedral and Museum. I'd like to share the beauty of this church with you.

St. Wenceslas was first built within the walled city of Olomouc during the 1100s. It was a smaller church at first that has been uncovered with archeological diggings recently. We were able to see some of the architectural ornamentation from back then.

The museum displayed many of the altarware pieces used in the cathedral over the centuries including this gorgeous monstrance, called the "Monstrance of Gold Sun of Moravia", containing 18 emeralds and over 400 diamonds.

Also in the museum was a chalice made from an ostrich egg, seen on the left. That must be one-of-a-kind.

The cathedral itself was heavily ornamented in gold fixtures and stained glass windows. It's so amazing to admire churches like this that have been used in worship for hundreds of years.

They allowed visitors to v…