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Who was Matt Konop, the WWII ‘Accidental Hero’?

a vintage photo of a young man wearing a black hat

“I think of the hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom.” Bob Dylan Two Rivers, Wisconsin is a small town on Lake Michigan. The population is around 12,000 and the only reason you may have heard of it is because it claims to be the birthplace of the…

The Story of Jan Palach, the Human Torch Against the Soviet Occupation

a close up of a flower

“He died because he wanted to shout as loud as possible. He wanted us to realize what was happening to us…” Charter 77, January 1989   In 1968 Czechoslovakia was pursuing changes in the communist government under the guidance of the newly elected Alexander Dubček. This hopeful, but short lived, attempt was erased with the…

Prague’s Ghost Stories

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As a young boy, my parents gave me a collection of Grimm’s Fairy tales. These were not the sanitized ones given to most children in the US, these were the originals in all their gory glory. Instead of some moral or lesson the revised editions would teach, I read stories that had the “hero” cutting…

The Czech Republic 30 Years Since the Velvet Revolution

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Symbols and their evolution can give us great insight into the organization, religion, or region that uses them. A good symbol can tell the story of  a group. The cross in Christianity certainly tells a story. The three colours of the Czech flag also  have meaning. White for the people, their honesty and peacefulness. The…

Czech Christmas through the Eyes of an Expat: A Practical Guide

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Christmas in Prague is picturesque, charming and …well…different than what I grew up with in the US. Back home in the States we have Bing Crosby or Nat King Cole crooning about “chestnuts roasting on an open fire”folks “dashing through the snow” and an occasional reference to the Czech Republic’s own ‘Good King Wenceslas”. Santa…

28th September in Honor of the “Good King Wenceslas”

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As a young boy growing up in the US, I would sometimes hear a song around the Christmas time about the “Good King Wenceslas,” some guy named Steven, and a feast. I never gave it much thought. Just another in a line of boring holiday music. Wenceslas was supposed to have magic feet to warm…

What is the story behind the Cyril and Methodius day?

Cyril-and-Methodius

There are two churches to Cyril and Methodius in Prague. One Roman Catholic; the other Orthodox Catholic. Both have dealt with a tragedy. One was a short burst of violence during WWII, while the other dealt with the ravages of a massive flood. One is better known by those outside Prague, while the other is…

National day for the victims of Communism: A story of Milada Horáková

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“When you realize that something is just and true, then be so resolute that you will be able to die for it.” – Milada Horáková in a letter to her daughter   On Christmas, 1901, Milada was born in Prague while the city was still part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. By the time she was…

Celebrate the Victory in Europe Day with the story of Operation Anthropoid

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“Great crisis produce great men and great deeds of courage.” – John F. Kennedy   On the morning of May 27, 1942, around 10:30, two men, Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš, waited in the sharp bend of a road near the Bulovka hospital in Prague 8. Bicycles parked nearby for an escape and one wearing…

Why do Czech people burn the witches on April 30th?

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Springtime in Prague is beautiful. Plants are just starting to bloom, sidewalk seating spread around town, and the winter coats are shelved for warm weather clothing. But wait! Before we can feel safe knowing the warmth will stay, we need to ensure that the evils of winter are gone. “How does one do that?” you…

Architecture in Prague

architecture

Welcome to Prague. Look at the buildings! The history of architecture is told in just a short walk. Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque is everywhere. But mixed in between you will see much later styles. Art nouveau all over the place. A Dancing House? A strange looking coffee shop in old town? A weird tower…

Things to do after the Prague Discovery Tour

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This blog covers a question that many of us get once our Prague Discovery Tour is complete: “Now that we have seen the basics, what else is there to do?” Since we are in the winter months, my first suggestion is someplace warm! I do plan to keep you inside or near enough. Most of…

International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Nicholas Winton

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“I work on the motto that if something is not impossible, there must be a way to do it.” Sir Nicholas Winton   By October of 1938, the infamous Munich Agreement had been signed which resulted in the annexation of the Sudetenland, a region in the west of Czechoslovakia, to Germany. Later, in 1939 and…

All you need to know about public restrooms in Prague

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When I am asked for pointers when visiting Prague, one of my first is… get Czech money and make sure you have change. I have heard the responses: “I’ll just use euro,” “I can use my credit card,” “I have too many different kinds of change already…” I get it, I really do. But… there…

Whatʼs up with house numbering in Prague

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So, here you are in Prague. You have some idea of what you want to see, where you want to eat, and a place or two that you will enjoy some fine entertainment. You have your map, the addresses, and maybe a smartphone to help you get around. This is where my troubles began. I…

All you need to know about Prague public transportation

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Getting around in Prague is really easy. Most places are within walking distance and the public transportation is simply amazing. But it can be a bit confusing as well. When I first arrived in the city, I didn’t quite grasp how this ticket system works. I was used to paying to get on the subway,…

A leap for democracy: the story of the Velvet Revolution

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The Velvet Revolution was “swift, entirely non-violent, joyful and funny.” Timothy Garton Ash, historian   On November 17, 1989, a student march in Prague set in motion a change that would affect the entire country. Within 12 days of this march, the Communist government was falling apart and just after Christmas 1989, Czechoslovakia would become…

Meet: Mark, our local expert in Prague

Mark

Where are you from and how did you end up in Prague? I am from the city of New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, great seafood, and a very friendly atmosphere. I love my hometown but there is a big world to go and see. How did I end up in Prague? I have been…

How it all began: Masaryk, the 1st president of Czechoslovakia

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It’s 2018! It’s the centennial of Czechoslovakia! There is a big pile of things to see and do throughout Prague. One image you will see all over the place is a poster of a grandfatherly figure with a bushy mustache. His calm demeanor hides an incredibly far-sighted and driven man. This man is Tomáš Garrigue…

28th September in honor of the Good King Wenceslas

title-photo

As a young boy growing up in the US, I would sometimes hear a song around the Christmas time about the “Good King Wenceslas,” some guy named Steven, and a feast. I never gave it much thought. Just another in a line of boring holiday music. Wenceslas was supposed to have magic feet to warm…