Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Journey Back to the Czech Lands

At the end of May, I took a trip back to the Czech Republic to visit family and friends. This was my fourth trip back to the Czech lands. After a night in Frankfurt; a plane to Prague, and a train to Brno, I was finally at my first destination to visit my Moravian friends.

I spent five days in Brno/Kyjov with the Kylián family. I was introduced to this family when I became friends with band members from the dechovka band, Stribrnanka, in 2011. This family has been following my journey in sharing Czech heritage for the past 3 years.

Everyday was full of surprises! The second day of the trip, Ivo Kylián drove me to Žuráň (the hill where Napoleon overlooked and directed The Battle of Austerlitz (Slavkov)). It was a beautiful place that overlooked the villages outside of Brno. Then, we went to Křitny to see the Church of Panny Marie. After, we went to Chateau Slavkov-a gorgeous baroque palace.


View from Žuráň

 The above translates to :

Chateau Slavkov

Chateau Slavkovk
Church of Panny Marie

Church of Panny Marie


Church of Panny Marie

The next day, I walked around Brno. I surprised myself by going down in the catacombs under Jakob's cathedral where there are 80,000 skeletal remains. It was a tight space, dark and I was alone. It was a bit scary! Other sights included: Špielberg castle, Peter and Pavel cathedral and the top of town hall.

Brno town center

Jakob's Cathedral

Jakob's Cathedral

Catacombs under Jakob's Cathedral

Špielberg castle

Špielberg castle

under Špielberg castle.

under Špielberg castle

The view from the tower at town hall
Peter and Pavel Cathedral

We then traveled to Kyjov where I met Jarmila Kyliánova, Lubomir Kylián, Michaela Kyliánova Jančová and Anna Kyliánova. They made me feel at home. I felt like I gained a new family while I was there. They took me to many castles, chateaus, cities and even surprised me with dressing me in their ancestral Kyjovske Kroj. I feel so lucky to have met them and spent time with them.  Here are some pictures:

Anna Kyliánova greeted me at the door with white wine

Jarmila and I at Buchlovice

Mr. Kylián found this interesting tree around Buchlovice. :-)



Exploring the wine country...

We were having fun picking cherries

Bukovanský mlýn


Olomouc Astronomical Clock

Jarmila and Lubomir Kylián
St. Wenceslas Cathedral in Olomouc
Anna, Jarmila and Michaela getting me dressed :-)

Kyjovske Kroj
a different headpiece
Michaela, her children and I

Another head piece
in front of a wine house

Another special surprise was a visit from my friends who are in the dechovka band called "Stříbrňanka." But, they came to Texas in a band called "Moravská Jedenáctka" I wrote about this band in my previous posts.  I saw most of the band members in Kyjov, but I saw three other band members in Uherské Hradiště.

If you would like to view more pictures from my trip to Moravia, please visit my Facebook Album:

After my 5 day adventure with the Kylián family, it was time to take the train to Plzen to visit my family. The last time I was there was about 2 years ago during Christmas. As always, we had a wonderful visit full of laughter and road trips!  

Cousins :-)

Katka's family and I went on a hike outside of Plzen.

Zamek Kratochvile

"The Church without a roof"

I met some deer at a castle ;-)

 A big part of my visit was based on learning more about history; my ancestral kroj; and much more about the Czech and Slovak culture. To learn more about kroje, they arranged for me to meet the women who acquired (more) kroj pieces for me. We drove to Domažlice where I was able to get my questions answered and even received some critiques to better wear my Chodsko kroj. The ladies in the antique store had a great time dressing me up! I felt like a panenka (doll). It was a good learning experience. I had not been to Domažlice in six years so it was a nice trip back! 

Modeling the Chodsko Kroj in the antique store in Domazlice.

 Here is a link to a neat video of them putting the black scarf on my head:
Cerny Satek

Domažlice town center
 After a week with my family, I spent a weekend in Prague with my two friends- Brianna Tichy and Carrie Brown. We had a great time catching up!  I also met up with well-known accordionist,Chris Rybak; his wife Edita and daughter Kristyna. They brought a tour group to Europe and we were in Prague the same weekend. We had a funny moment taking pictures on Charles Bridge in my crown and sash. I had suddenly become a tourist attraction and other people started taking pictures. 

St. Vitus Cathedral during Mass

The typical "guard" picture.

View from Hradčany

Astronomical clock in Prague (sister clock to the one in Olomouc)

Old Town

Edita, Chris, Kristyna and I

 I also arranged to see our mutual friend-Petr Valchář. We had met him in Texas several years ago as a dancer. Because of a serious accident, Petr is now paralyzed from waist down. He is such a strong person and has a wonderful heart. He didn't let the accident affect him.

(L-R) Kristyna, Edita, Petr, myself, Carrie and Brianna

Petr is a now a part of a performance called- RISK. It looks really interesting! I haven't seen it live yet, but check out the trailer....The Czech Society of Texas is so proud of him! He truly is an inspiration.

After a weekend in Prague, it was time to make the way back to Plzen to spend the last few days with my family. The three weeks flew by fast. But, it always does when you are having fun, right? It was a great experience and I can only anticipate my next trip back. 

If you would like to view more pictures from my trip to Bohemia, please visit my Facebook album:

S láskou,

1 comment:

  1. Oh, how fun! I enjoyed reading this because I did something very similar when I was in my 20s. I lived in Uherske Hradiste for 1.5 years and visited Buchlovice many times, spent time in villages and was dressed up in local traditional clothes. The Czechs have wonderful hospitality. I've written a bit about it on my blog, including this post about the Moravian Slovakia culture