Lately

It seems like forever since I wrote my last post. Too many things have happened that I couldn’t seem to put them in order.

Anyhow, we’ve had several visits this summer and early fall. First off, my husband’s cousin and her son from Moravia to spend a weekend with us.  We brought them to Prague and Kutna Hora, since it has been awhile since they visited these  beautiful cities.

Here’s a picture of us in front of one of the most beautiful churches here in the Czech Republic, the St. Barbora Church in Kutna Hora.

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The weather was not in our favor during their visit but we were still able to snap some beautiful pictures of Prague.  It is breathtaking in any weather.

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My friend Melba and her daughter also spent some time with us.  It was nice for the babies to see each other again.  This time, we contacted some alumni from the university where we had our bachelors and had a mini reunion in a cafe in Prague.

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A couple of weeks ago, My friend Mymy also came for a visit with her son.  She lives in Prague and it was her first long out of town drive since she got her license a year ago.  She also has a toddler who is close to Michaela’s age, so it was nice sharing motherhood experiences with her.

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Lastly, my son has started going to a state primary school and my daughter is turning one pretty soon.  How time flies.

Photo credit:  Jan Strnad (www.atelierkolin.cz)
Photo credit: Jan Strnad (www.atelierkolin.cz)

It seems like only yesterday since we made the significant decision to move here in CZ.  Since then, every year is marked with significant milestones.

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Destination: Mikulov

This past weekend, we travelled with my husband’s parents to the Southern part of Moravia and Lower Austria (Vienna).

Our first stop was in Mikulov, a beautiful town which used to be ruled by the Lichtenstein family (the noble family whose name is the same as the little country that they still rule to this day)  when this part of the country used to be part of the Austrian empire.

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According to other writers, this part of Moravia used to be Sigmund Freud’s playground.

Sigmund Freud, the famous Austrian neurologist and the founding father of psychoanalysis was born in Příbor, a little town in South Moravia.   That was back during the day when Moravia was still part of the Austrian empire.  It is said that when he is tired of the hustle and bustle in Vienna, he is a frequent visitor of Mikulov.  No wonder, it is just and hour’s drive from Vienna, and very very close to the Austrian border.

Perhaps the most famous and most prominent historical spot in this town is the Chateau.

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This chateau used to be the summer residence of the Lichtenstein noble family.  Later on, it was sold to the Dietrichstein family who occupied this place until 1945.

In fact, another notable monument is the Dietrichstein tomb, where the remains of the family members now lie.

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Inside the chateau grounds, is a beautiful garden which is open to the public all year round.

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Up in the chateau grounds, one can view the whole town.

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In the distance, one can also see another interesting monument, the Svatý kopeček (Holy Hill), where the St. Sebastian chapel can be found.

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We never really went to this place because it sits on a different hill.

It seems like there were a few pilgrims who made their way to the top.  But on the other hand, they may not be pilgrims.  This hill is also home to several rare plants and animal species and has been declared a nature reserve.

Still on a different hill, one can also find the Kozí hrádek (Goat Tower).

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This was a very significant tower for the protection of Mikulov in the 15th century.  It contains a two-storey bombarding tower, which at that time was considered an advanced defense system in the Central European context.  Today, it is has been landscaped and included as a recreational area.

There were still a lot of interesting places that we didn’t get to see due to time constraints.  But with what I saw, I am not wondering why Freud loved this place.

Mikulov offers a wide range or nature activities and for those who appreciate good wine, this town also has a rich viticulture tradition.  The historical monuments I mentioned was just a tip of the iceberg.

I have just added this in my list of favorite places to visit.  Not sure when we can go back, but we definitely will.

If you would like to know more about Mikulov, please click here.

 

Destination: Javoříčko Caves

During a recent trip to my husband’s hometown in Moravia, we decided to visit one of the more popular caves in the area, the Javoricko caves.  Now you might wonder how we are able to do it with a baby in tow?

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Well, one of us has to be left behind.  This time it was my husband.  Since he is from the area, he has been to the cave several times.  So it was my turn to bring Jakub with me on this exploratory journey.  So off I went with my sister-in-law and her two boys.

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The path to the entrance of the cave will lead you to a memorial honoring those who were killed during the end of the second world war.

As we entered the cave, this was the sight we saw.

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The terrain was composed of several uphill and downhill trails.  We chose the tour that was child-friendly, so all the roads were paved.

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It was interesting to see several rock formations.

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There were stalactites…

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… and stalagmites.

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According to information found on-line, the discovery of these caves started way back in 1938.  In 1950, the search has widened and more and more floors have been found and developed.

Although the hike was quite strenuous for this unfit mama, I really enjoyed the trip.  So did my boy who had to drag his mama along when the going went rough.

Anyhow, if you are ever in Moravia, this is one nature spot that you may not want to miss.

More information about the cave can be found here.

 

Destination: Bobova Draha, Kutna Hora

This past weekend, we decided to stay local.  We recently learned that our neighboring town, Kutna Hora, has a bobsled area (bobova draha).  So off we went to check it out.

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As it turns out, it wasn’t just a bobsled area.  It is a recreational area where one can also do Zorbing, dirt-bike riding, and rodeo bull riding.  There was also a jumping castle, a trampoline and a small playground for the kids to enjoy.

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I didn’t get to ride the bobsled.  I’m not really a fan of rides that resemble a roller coaster.  However, I had a lot of fun just watching my boys go on the ride.

Here they are patiently awaiting their turn to get on the lift.

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Before they went, my husband explained the rules to Jakub.

 

 

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Then off they went.

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A short wave for mama.

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This is how the lift looked like.  The height is pretty decent.  The whole course is said to be the second longest bobsled course in Europe.

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I wasn’t able to take pictures of the loops because it was on the other side of the hill.  But here is a photo of them in motion as they were going through the course.

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And here’s one more as they were already descending.

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Until finally, the ride was over.

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My husband took Jakub to the playground for a short break, but that only lasted a little while since he wanted more.

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So here they are again, getting ready to ascend and ride the bobsled course once again.

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As for me and Michaela?  Well, we decided to sit it out.  She was mostly sleeping and I was just relaxing.  What better way to spend the weekend.

Anyhow, I hope you had a good one!

For more information about the bobsled ride, please click here.

 

Destination: Karlovy Vary

Touted as the largest and most beautiful spa town in the heart of Europe, we decided to visit Karlovy Vary during our recent trip in this western part of the Republic.

It was a very short visit and I am now left hanging — wanting to see more.  The place is just so grand.  No wonder it has earned all these accolades.

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The weather was not in our favor during our visit, so we didn’t really get to walk around the town.

But a visit to Karlovy Vary will not be complete if one does not visit the main spring pavilion.

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So here I am with my little boy posing for shot inside the pavilion.

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We also tasted the spring waters, each available in different temperature gradients.

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If you have met my boy you would know that he is very friendly not one afraid of speaking out his mind.  He is a very sociable child and would talk to anybody at anytime.

In here, he is telling the lady to be careful because the water is hot.  Yup, the hottest water temperature was 72C.

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Right outside the pavilion, there were pigeons to chase, so we gave him a little bit of time to run around.

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This he was doing while his mama was busy taking photos of the beautiful architecture surrounding the area.

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After only testing the tip of the iceberg, I know I will really go back to this place.  It is only a few minutes drive from Marianske Lazne, and a trip to both spas is a future event that I am definitely pinning my hopes on.

To know more about this place, you can visit their webpage.

 

Destination: Marianske Lazne

Between all the visits and my husband’s busy work schedule these past few days, we were able to squeeze in a short trip to Marianske Lazne, one of the most popular spa destinations in this country.

It is located in the Western part of the Czech Republic and is a 2-hour drive from our place.

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This town is made up of romantic colonnades, cozy hotels, and places for varied seasonal sports activities.

The city is quite small, and it is enough to walk through it in one day.    Our main goal was to go to the Krizovy (Cross) spring pavilion.

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It is the main pavilion in the Colonnade where one can taste the spring waters from the 6 different springs in this town.

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There are 6 main springs in Marianske Lazne, all of them with different ionic concentrations and each one believed to cure different illnesses.

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Here you can see my husband enjoying his cup of the spring water.

We then proceeded to walk towards the fountains.  Jakub was having the time of his life running around, jumping and what have you.

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Its tranquil gardens were awe-inspiring and certainly adds to the beauty of the place.

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The architecture of the colonnade itself  is very remarkable.  It speaks volumes of the grandeur of this place.

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Walking around town, the buildings also didn’t fail to impress.  Even regular houses were already quite grand.

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This one even looks like a castle in a fairytale.

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Not sure if this is a house or a hotel.  But either way, in my eyes, the architecture is impressive.

Anyhow, I’m glad we visited this place.    I hope that the next time we come back, it will be for a week of relaxation in this beautiful place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Walk in the Woods

The weather has been slowly getting better in our side of the world, so I took my kids out yesterday for a walk in the woods.  Why the woods?  Well, you might as well say that I am slowly becoming Czech.  The malls are not as appealing as the woods anymore.

Anyway, here are a few pictures I was able to snap.

My little boy is growing so fast, and he really enjoys his new role of being a “big” brother.  While I was busy looking for things to photograph, he took over and pushed the stroller of his baby sister.

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Tired of doing it the regular way, he is experimenting with other ways on how to move it.

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At this point, I took over for fear that he may accidentally flip the stroller with his sister inside.  Instead, I asked him to lead the way.

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He obliged and even told me:  “Don’t worry, mom.  I will protect you and Michaela.”

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The end of the trail is the entrance to the city center through this bridge.

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There was nobody during that time.  It is still winter, afterall.

But we did see a fisherman on the river.   He was fishing while Jakub was feeding the ducks and swans.

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A new set of exercise bars were also built in a little space by the river.  I think they finished it last year, but I didn’t see it because I was too lazy to walk towards this side of town when I was still pregnant with my daughter.

When the temperatures finally go up, I think I would like to use one of these bars for fitness.

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But for now, I’ll just enjoy short walks with my kids.

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Despite the cold, it was a very nice walk.  Definitely another day well spent.

How are you coping up with winter in your side of the world?

Halloween

Celebrating halloween is not customary here in Czech. This year we decided to carve out a pumpkin in keeping up with the celebration.

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The weather was wonderful on halloween day.  Since times like these are quite rare this season, my family and I decided to take Michaela  out for a walk in our neighborhood.

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Afterwhich, my husband and son decided to carve a pumpkin they got from friends in our neighborhood.

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Jakub was goofing around while I was trying to capture his dad in action.

The pumpkin that they carved turned out well.  It was my husband’s first carved pumpkin.  I thought he did a good job.

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Jakub had to take a posterity pose beside the finished product.

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There was no trick or treat, but we still displayed the pumpkin outside.  We then capped off the day with a nice dinner and some quiet time with the family.

 

Beautiful Autumn Colors

Last weekend, we took a short walk in the woods close to our neigborhood. I couldn’t help but admire all the beautiful colors from the trees.  Here I am sharing these photos with you.

Right outside, this is what you will see as you enter the forest.
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I let my boys lead the way.  I’m very camera shy at the moment.

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As you can see, we were not the only ones in the path.  Several others were also there.  Did I mention that a walk in the woods is a favorite Czech past time?

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We found a mushroom.  But unluckily, I was told that it is one of  the poisonous kinds.

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We also found a feet less lizard.  This is something new to me. I thought it was a small snake.

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And finally, here’s a closeup photo of the leaves.

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Don’t you just love the colors of fall?