2018 was an especially good year for travel. I was fortunate to be able to travel somewhere fun almost every month, both in the US and overseas.
Many of the locations that I visited were new to me, including a new continent-Africa. I also revisited some of my favorite cities-London, Istanbul and Washington D.C. I have written about my experiences for many of these destinations-but some are still sitting in my draft que, waiting to be finished (one of the resolutions for 2019 before I start traveling again).
Prague’s Old Town Hall is best known for its elaborate astronomical clock. Most people don’t go beyond standing in front of the clock at the top of the hour to watch the various pieces go through their motions. But you can also take a guided tour of the inside of the Old Town Hall and learn about its history and architecture dating back to the 16th century. My favorite experience was climbing to the top of the tower and getting this beautiful sunset view of the Prague skyline and the castle.
Thanks for visiting.
Please note that my Old Town Hall tour was sponsored by the Prague City Tourism office, but all content is my own.
Surrounded by wooded hills and sitting in the shadow of a castle tower, picturesque Stramberk in the Czech Republic is best known for the gingerbread snack called Stramberk Ears. This thin, cookie-like treat is made exclusively in this town by bakers who need to have a special permit and who carefully guard the recipe.
Thanks for visiting.
Please note that the visit to Stramberk was hosted by Moravian-Silesian Tourism but all content is my own.
The Sobotin Castle was completed in the late 19th century by the Klein brothers who also owned the nearby ironworks factory. Today, the castle is called Hotel Klein and is the romantic and luxurious component of the Sobotin Resort complex that consists of three hotel buildings catering to varying budgets. The resort also has a wellness spa and indoor pool, a restaurant and its own brewery. The resort is a perfect home base to explore the surrounding outdoor and historic activities in this less touristy Jeseniky Mountain region of the Czech Republic.
Walk around Olomouc in the Czech Republic and you can’t help but notice the many large fountains decorating the squares of the old town. There are six large and old Baroque fountains that take their inspiration from the heroic characters of ancient mythology like Hercules and Neptune. There are now also two newer modern fountains. This one, the Arion fountain completed in 2002, also takes its inspiration from the ancient legend of the Greek poet, singer and kithara player Arion, who was rescued from the sea by a dolphin attracted by his singing.
Olomouc’s Holy Trinity Column in the Lower Town Square is one of the many UNESCO listed heritage sites in the Czech Republic.The highly ornate baroque design was built between 1716 to 1754 as an expression of gratitude at the ending of the plague that had infected the region between 1713 and 1715. The column was as much an expression of patriotism as it was of faith. All the sculptured saints decorating the column have a connection to the town and the craftsman that produced the column were also all locals. Inside, there is actually a little chapel.
The Bolt Tower in Ostrava, Czech Republic is a unique glass cafe and observation tower that was built on top of what was once an ironworks blast furnace. The wrap-around glass walkway is meant to look like the fire that once burned for real in the metal producing furnace below. At 250 feet high the Bolt Tower is the highest point in Ostrava and provides the best views of the city, especially at sunset. Would you have the nerve to stroll this glass walkway?
A local resident studies a photo exhibit depicting 100 years of Czech stories in Ostrava’s Masaryk Square. One hundred years ago, the Czech Republic was born as a nation. This year, the country is celebrating its centennial in a variety of ways, including a traveling photo exhibit from the archives of the Czech News Agency, which also started its existence 100 years ago. The exhibit depicts the last 100 years of stories in photos from the news agencies archives. The photo exhibit has been traveling to various cities in the Czech Republic throughout the year, including, as seen here, in Ostrava earlier this summer.
I’m a planner. For me, figuring out the details of a trip is just as much fun as the actual travel. But not surprisingly, I discovered that the most meaningful experiences are often the unexpected ones.