Thursday, July 3, 2014

Brno's Twin Cities

The concept of twin towns is designed to foster friendship between different cultures and to develop international business links. 

In British English it is known as "twin towns" while in the USA we refer to them as sister cities.  In Czech it is known as partnerské město (partner city).

Brno is currently twinned with twelve cities.  These include Dallas (Texas), USA; Kaunas, Lithuania; Kharkiv, Ukraine; Leeds, UK; Leipzig and Stuttgart in Germany; Poznań, Poland; St. Pölten and Vienna in Austria; Utrecht, Netherlands; and Voronezh, Russia.

Atlanta has 21 sister cities but none in Czechland.  Perhaps someone should look in to this.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

5th Anniversary

It's been 5 years!!  Five years ago I set foot in Czechland for the first time ever.  I so can't believe that it's been five years. 

I have learned so much during my time here.  Now that I've crossed the five year point I can officially apply for permanent residency so that I won't have deal with any more work and residency permits.  That is assuming I can pass my mandatory Czech language exam. 

Thanks to all of the people who have made this such an awesome adventure.  And special thanks to my family and Steven & Michal for all of the care packages.  See everyone at the party on Saturday.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Battle on the Dam

Today I went with Claudia and Tünde out to the dam.  The original plan was to walk around the lake and to take a boat ride out to Veveří Castle.

While waiting for tickets we found out that there was a special "Battle on the Dam" boat trip on offer just for today.  The two-hour ride was 200 Kč ($10) to cruise on the lake while remote control planes and boats reenacted the Battle of Midway.

The Battle of Midway, in the Pacific, was one of the most important naval battles of WWII. 

The show included commentary, in Czech of course, from the ship's captain.  Throughout the trip, there were random history questions and history DVDs were given out to the kids with the right answers. 

There were plenty of explosions to keep everyone's attention.

While it was a 'world war', I find it interesting that the reenactment was of a Pacific battle and not a European battle. 

The most important thing was that Tünde enjoyed all of the noise.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Bratislava Visit

I had meetings this past week in Bratislava.  On Thursday my meetings, which had been planned for a couple of months, started at 9 AM.  So of course, right at 9 AM, there was a fire drill.  The entire 28 floor building had to evacuate.  Not a great start, productivity wise, but we managed to get everything covered in the end.

That night we had a team outing.  It was great to get my teams from Bratislava and Brno together for the evening.  Everyone seemed to have a really good time.  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Vyškov Aviation Musuem

After the Olomouc Aviation Museum we went and checked out the Vyškov Aviation Museum.  This open-air museum is much bigger than the one in Olomouc

The exhibits are former Czechoslovak and Czech aircraft plus some other military hardware, all in various states of restoration. 

Focke-Wulf wreckage from 1939
There is also a display of World War II aviators. 

As well as aircraft wreckage from the war found in the local area.

The AZP S-60 is a Soviet made 57 mm automatic anti-aircraft gun from the 1950s.  It was heavily used by the Warsaw Pact countries.

The 2K6 Luna was Soviet ballistic missile complex that was in operation from 1960- 1982.  The 3R10 rocket had a 400 kg nuclear warhead with a range of 10 to 32 km.  While used in Poland, Romania, and East Germany, I don't believe it was used in Czechoslovakia.

The Mil Mi-8 is a Soviet-designed medium transport helicopter.  It is one of the most produced helicopters in the world.

The MiG-23 was produced by the Soviet Union from 1967 to 1985.  Over 5,000 MiG-23's were put in service.

This air museum is well worth the 50 Kč ($2.50) admission.  If only the displays were written in English as well as Czech.  But oh well.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Olomouc Aviation Museum

I tagged along with a fellow IBMer from Bratislava who was off to see a couple of aviation museums.  The first one was just outside of Olomouc, in Neředín.

Not much to see from the outside

The Olomouc Aviation Museum was founded in July 2009.  It was an idea of Zdeněk Svobodník who is a well known stage actor.

The city of Olomouc provided two hangers for the museum.  The staff of aircraft mechanics, pilots and engineers are all volunteers. 

The foucs is on the history of Czechoslovak aviation.  It's pretty small but if you like aviation then it's worth seeing.  The entrance is only 50 Kč ($2.50).

The MiG-21 is the most heavily produced supersonic jet aircraft in history.

The cockpits were always painted a turquoise green color.  Apparently, it was found out that this color helped keep pilots awake and reduced stress on long flights.

The Aero L-29 Delfin was Czechoslovakia's first locally designed and built jet aircraft.  It was used for jet training and in the 1960s it was the standard jet trainer for all of the Warsaw Pact countries.

The Mil Mi-24 is a large attack helicopter that could transport eight people.

The Let L-610 was a prototype aircraft.  It could transport 40 passengers.  It was only in Czechland as only eight were ever built.

The Ilyushin Il-14 was a Soviet twin-engine aircraft.  It was used to transport military personnel and cargo.  The planes were manufactured in Czechoslovakia and East Germany. 

There's something a bit sad about seeing the planes there in pieces.  Kind of like visiting an aviation cemetery.  But still worth going for a visit.

Friday, June 20, 2014

2014 Global Peace Index Results

The Global Peace Index uses 22 indicators which gauge the absence of, or fear or, violence.  It looks at the level of safety and security in society, the extent of domestic or international conflict and the degree of militarization. 

Some of the items which go in to the formula include:

  • Perceived criminality in society
  • Violent crime, number of homicides,  access to weapons and the number of people in jail
  • Political instability, relations with neighboring countries, civil liberties, freedom of press, gender inequality, adult literacy, education spending, enrollment in primary/secondary/higher education
This year's results have Iceland ranked #1 out of 162 countries.  Czech Republic just missed making the top ten.  It tied for 11th place with Sweden.  The USA didn't fare so well as it ended up #101.