Anthony Hennen Blog

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Over-Romanticizing Travel Ruins It

Don’t see 50 cities. As Robert Reid said, “shoulds” or “must sees” make travel into a contest. Which diverts your interest from what you desire to someone else’s judgments. See what interests you, be it Berlin or the small town 45 minutes away. I’ve lived in Athens, Ohio for 6...

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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 Tucked away near Old Town Square, AghaRTA jazz club is in a 14th-century basement. The name stems from...

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Talkin’ Praha Blues: Czechoslovak Jazz Under Communism

  Jazz in Czechoslovakia was inspired, experimental, and popular. It was also subversive. The Nazis attempted to regulate jazz, and the communists suppressed it. Jazz threatened basic principles of the totalitarian powers: it was hyper-individualistic, improvisational, and innovative. Josef Skvorecky detailed this in “Red Music,” from Talkin’ Moscow Blues: When the lives...

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On Travel Writing and Writing Well

Good travel writing doesn’t come from exotic locations. Any place can spark insight, nuance, or inspiration. Appalachia provides as good material as England, Ukraine, or Thailand. To write well requires a mix of entrepreneurial spirit to act as historian, journalist, tourist, guide, and sociologist. It leads to historical quirks or...

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Land of the Cross-Tipped Churches: The German-Catholic Counties of Ohio

Kalida, Ohio is the sort of place you notice because the train crossing makes you wait five minutes. And then you wait again, 10 minutes down the road. That section of northwest Ohio — between the Indiana state line and I-75 through Lima, Findlay, and Bowling Green — doesn’t attract...