Monday, November 27, 2017

9th Annual Czechsgiving

Saturday was the 9th annual Thanksgiving party.  I can't believe that this was my 9th Czechsgiving here in Brno.

What I really can't believe is that next year will be a decade of Brno Thanksgivings.

This years's turkey was 8,5 kg (19 lbs).

Every year the party gets a wee bit larger.  Of course it could just be that the kids all all getting bigger.  I almost need a new hallway just for the coats and shoes.

This year Vilém brought his guitar and the Czech songs were a big hit with the kids (and the adults).

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Brno is Musical

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network aims to increase the cooperation between member states which recognises culture as a strategic factor for sustainable development.  They recognise seven creative disciplines: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Music, and Media Arts.

There are currently 180 towns, from 72 countries, in the network.  This includes the two new entires for Czechland.

Prague was recognised for Literature and Brno is now a UNESCO Creative City of Music.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Naples, Italy

Naples is the third-largest municipality in Italy.  It is home to over 975,000 people, but with more than 4,4 million people in the larger metro area, it is the 9th most populous area in the EU.  Napoli is one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities.

The Greeks established settlements here in the second millennium BC.  After the fall of the Roman Empire it was the capital of the Duchy of Naples, then as the capital of the Kingdom of Naples, finally as the capital of the Two Sicilies until 1861 when Italy was unified.

The city's historic centre is the largest in Europe and in 1995 it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The city centre spans 1,700 hectares (4,200 acres) and covers 28 centuries of history.

Piazza Dante is one of the largest public squares and features a 19th-century statue of Dante Alighieri.

Piazza del Plebiscito is the main city square.

The San Francesco di Paola is a neoclassical church and serves as a minor basilica.

The Royal Palace was one of four residencies used by the Bourbon Kings and today it is a museum.

The Teatro di San Carlo was built in 1737.  It is the country's oldest opera house.

The National Archaeological Museum, formerly the Royal Bourbon Museum, is housed in a building constructed in 1585 originally to serve as calvary barracks.

The Galleria Principe di Napoli is a commercial gallery that was completed in 1883.

Castle Nuovo, also known as Maschio Angioino, is one of the city's landmarks.  The medieval castle was built in 1282.

The Teatro del Fondo opened in 1779.  It was renamed the Teatro Mercadante in 1871.  It was one of the city's two royal opera houses in the 18th and 19th centuries.

There are hundreds of Roman Catholic churches in the city.

The Church of Santa Maria di Caravaggio is a Baroque Catholic church.  Construction began in 1627.

The Basilica di Santa Chiara is another minor basilica.  The complex, completed in 1340, contains a church, a monastery,  tombs and a museum.

La chiesa di Santa Maria la Nova was completed in 1599.

La chiesa San Ferdinando was completed in 1759.

The Naples Cathedral is the city's main church.  It was consecrated in the 13th century.

Santa Caterina a Chiala was originally built as a small family chapel and then given to the Franciscan order which expanded it in 1600.

The church of St. Nicholas the Charitable was completed in 1682.

The Castle dell'Ovo is on the peninsula and is Naples' oldest standing fortification.  The castle was the Royal Chamber and the State Treasury.  It also served as a prison.

The Charterhouse of St. Martin was a monastery complex established in 1368.  Today it is a museum and there's a great view of the city.

The Gulf of Naples opens into the Mediterranean Sea and the port is one of the most important in Europe.  On the east is Mount Vesuvius, the volcano that erupted in 79 AD destroying Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Naples is where pizza was invented so you have to try an authentic Neapolitan pizza.

Here's a Rick Steves video I found out on YouTube.

©Rick Steves

Naples makes for a nice weekend city break.  Next time I would visit Mt Vesuvius, the ruins of Pompeii and the island of Capri. 

Friday, November 17, 2017


Today is Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day, Den boje za svobodu a demokracii, and it's a public holiday in Czechia and Slovakia.

Today is the anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution which marked the end of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia.

One of my friends pointed out that if wasn't for 17 November 1989, I wouldn't be here in Czechland now.  That's one way of looking at it.  I'm just happy that I did end up here in Brno.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

At It Again

My team loves to mess with me when I'm out of the office.  Well, they did it again.  I guess they decided that six weeks was too long for me to be away.  #cantwaitforpayback 

This time they switched out my desk.  All of my stuff was moved to a new height-adjustable table.  There was also a box with an old kneeling chair packed in confetti that went everywhere once I lifted up the box.

They must have have cleaned out all of the paper shredders from the entire site.

Everyone got a big kick out of it.  I know that they wouldn't pull these pranks with me if they didn't care.  But damn! That confetti went every where.

At least they understand that, while I try to be a good sport about it, I'm not the one that's going to be cleaning up the mess.  Poor Igor drew the short straw and had to clean everything up.  But I have a feeling that Igor was the mastermind of this one.  Who knows what they will come up with next?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Vienna Naschmarkt

The Naschmarkt has been around since the 16th century and it is the most popular market in Vienna.  It is at the Wienzeile over the Wien River.

It is made up of about 120 market stands, plus some small restaurants, and stretches about 1,5 km (almost a mile) long.

In 1793 this is where all of the fruits and vegetables were sold in Vienna that had come by cart.

Today you can get spices, fruit, vegetables, cheeses, and other culinary goodies from across the world.

On Saturdays it is also home to a flea market.

The Naschmarket is a great place to go shopping, have a coffee and slice of cake, or to sit back with a glass of wine and just people watch.

In Vienna, a single metro ticket costs €2,40.  Or you can by a 24-hour pass for €8.

I love that public transportation is so much cheaper in Brno.

Another great option in Vienna is to just buy an Einkaufskarte (shopping card).  It costs €6,10 for unlimited rides.  The only catch is that the ticket is only valid from 8 am to 8 pm, Monday to Sunday.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


Nejneobhospodařovávatelnějšímu.  This is considered to be the longest Czech word.  Thank goodness that all Czech words aren't like this.  This 30-letter word basically translates to "to the least cultivable ones" or "the least farmed".

I've never played Czech scrabble before but I'm sure that this has to be some kind of triple world score.

As ridiculously long as this word is, it doesn't even come close to the longest German word.  The German equivalent of the English "Association for subordinate officials of the head office management of the Danube steamboat electrical services" is a whopping 79 letters long.  I would hate to see a spelling test that included: Donaudampfschiffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Czech Airlines

České aerolinie, a.s. is the legal name for Czech Airlines which is abbreviated as ČSA.

Czech Airlines is the national carrier for Czechland and it is the fifth oldest airline in the world still in operation.

Their hub is at Václav Havel Airport in Prague and they are a part of the SkyTeam airline alliance.

ČSA started off as Czechoslovak State Airlines in 1923.  Today the airline is almost fully owned by Travel Service, a.s.

Czech Airlines has flights to 50 destinations in 25 countries across Europe plus Seoul, South Korea and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.