Showing posts from June, 2018

Czech Out

Our apartment is a mess once again. We've emptied out our personal possessions that need to go with us. We've managed to jam everything into our seven suitcases. By the time you read this, we'll already be in our new city - St. Petersburg, Russia. My husband will be teaching at the Ingrian Lutheran Seminary in a town close to St. Petersburg. He is excited about getting back into the classroom where he'll be teaching young men who are studying to be pastors in their church. Last May, when we left the States to come to Prague, we had no idea what living in Europe would be like. After our year here, I'm not as anxious about living in St. Petersburg. It will take a couple weeks to get used to the transportation system since they have a metro, tram, and bus system like Prague does. After we find and get set up in a flat, we'll learn where the grocery store, bank, meat store, etc in our neighborhood. Life probably won't be too much different than European li

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 ridd

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. 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). Duri