Discovering Romani Culture in the Czech Republic

With the exception of stereotypes*, it's difficult to find information concerning Romani (gypsies) in Europe. Rick Steves has a brief article on his site, and George Soros' Open Society Foundations gives a bit more information. For a continent obsessed with museums, only one exists** in Europe dedicated to the history and culture of the Roma [...]

Another Castle in Moravia: Helfštýn

Castles intrude upon most of my trips. I don't plan to visit, but a friend always drags me along. After a handful, they blur together like cathedrals. Not being Catholic, the cathedrals come off to me as beautiful (sometimes), but pompous and slightly shameful. At least with a castle I get a view of the countryside or [...]

Photoessay: Moravian Town Squares

I get burnt out on castles. The views are great, but after a handful, they blur together. Town squares are different. They reflect the economy, history, regional or national character, and vibrancy. Some are the hectic hub of a city, but others are calm refuges. Festivals, markets, or protests flare up to occupy the time, or [...]

Talkin’ Brno Blues: Alienation and Dislocation While Traveling

The morning is the worst part of the day. If I’m forced to breakfast, I’ll glare at the food as I eat, or moulder over a glass of tea with too much sugar. The upswing is that the day improves as time passes, so I’ve the rest of the day to enjoy after a hellish [...]

The Country Music Highway of Eastern Kentucky

Before I left for the Czech Republic, I wanted to take another road trip. As luck led me, I took two, but this is about Kentucky. The other is a story for another day. I love travelling in Appalachia. There's so much that's familiar, but the accents change dramatically. It's like visiting a distant cousin. [...]

The Second City of the Czech Republic

Brno has a reputation for being more laid-back than Prague, and it seems to be true. Prague doesn't let anyone breathe. You constantly chase the bus or tram;  the crowd carries you wherever it pleases; you take a brisk walk to the next sight or meal to cram in everything. You're fresh and excited the first [...]

Hiking South Bohemia: Šumava National Forest

Running 20 minutes behind schedule as the metro passed the second station, I remembered the map. That is, I remembered that I forgot the map. I was in Prague for a week as part of a summer seminar on classical liberalism in philosophy and economics, then leaving for Brno until November. Before I caught the [...]

Reflections on the Moravian Landscape

Moravia reminds me of the Appalachian foothills in southeast Ohio. The mountains are higher and provide better views, but they're frustrating when I'm lower and want to get lost in the landscape. Like Bohemia, the sky expands. I'm not sure how that works, but the hills and trees don't block everything. It keeps developing until the clouds [...]

Where to Find Jazz in Prague

Jazz in the Czech Republic has a rich history, and its modern scene carries the tradition. Prague remains the focus, and if you want to experience it, visit these four stages. AghaRTA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T8v_6YTUR8 Tucked away near Old Town Square, AghaRTA jazz club is in a 14th-century basement. The name stems from a 1975 Miles Davis [...]