Germany and the Czech Republic
May 2005

My Daily Travel Journal for May 2005 Trip to Germany and the Czech Republic...

by Claudia Machocky-Orum

5/16/2005 Departed Houston, TX and traveled to Munich, Germany.

5/17/2005

Kristen and I arrived at Munich, Germany. Josef picked us up and we traveled to Bamberg * . The countryside was filled with beautiful fields of the yellow Rapso and also hops for making beer. Josef explained that the Rapso was used for cooking oil, but was also used in automobiles.
5/18/2005 Birgit took Kristen and I to Bamberg shopping and to visit the local museum. Then, later in the evening, Josef and Birgit took us to the Sports Bar with Nadine and Anja for dinner... a barbecue ribs buffet!
5/19/2005 We left early by car as Josef took us to Cologne to meet Michael. Michael picked us up around 11:00 am and took us to see the Dom (Cologne Cathedral) in Cologne (Köln) and then shopping in the city. We had a wonderful lunch at the Früh Restaurant/Brewery in Cologne, and then walked along the Rhine River. We spent the night at Michael and Marga's home in Linnich, Germany, and Kristen took a tour of a local disco with Daniel, Michael's oldest son and his friend, while Michael, Marga and I enjoyed the evening talking, and drinking wine and eatting chocolates.
5/20/2005 Michael and Daniel took Kristen and I to Aachen and showed us many old and interesting parts of the city, including the church and the university there. Marga prepared an excellent lunch, and Josef joined us for lunch. Then we were off to the Netherlands. We traveled to Enschede, Netherlands and spent some time shopping. We returned to Bamberg later in the evening around 11:00 pm.
5/21/2005 Josef and I traveled to the Munich Airport to pick up my sister, Mary. We took the scenic route back to Bamberg to show Mary a little of the German countryside. In the evening, Josef treated all of us to eat Chinese food (German style) at an excellent restaurant.
5/22/2005 Mary, Kristen and I traveled by car with Josef to Prague (Praha), Czech Republic. The countryside was beautiful, and it also had many fields planted in Rapso. We met Klara and Jaroslav Machocky, and they took us to our bed/breakfast at the Vila Garni in Prague. Then, we took a tram into the centrum of Prague, and walked around the city. We had dinner and beer at a quaint little restaurant, and just sit and relaxed and talked awhile.
5/23/2005 We had breakfast at the Vila Garni, and met our neighbor, Klaus (a German man), who was in Prague to participate in a marathon. Klaus was biking from Hannover, Germany. After breakfast, we met up with Klara and Jaroslav, and rode the tram into the Centrum for shopping and siteseeing. We took a 3 hour tour of Prague and traveled up to the Prague Castle. The sites was beautiful in the charming old city. In the afternoon, we drove from Prague to Kourim (about 45 minutes), and met my grandmother's niece, Kveta Bugova, and her three sons (Julius, Milan and Roman) and their wives and children at the family farm. They greeted us wonderfully, and we felt so welcome. We shared photos and stories .. laughed and cried with much felt emotion, and saw the farm where my grandmother was born and lived before she came to America. This was truly a life long dream come true! The land and farm was exactly as my grandmother had described it. A rain came up, but that did not stop us from going to the Kourim cemetary to visit the graves of my great grandparents. It was truly an honor to be able to pay our respects to them. We returned to Kveta's farmhouse, and enjoyed excellent food, beer and silivice. Many special thanks to Klara and Jaroslav for their excellent translation skills and also to Jaroslav for his help in finding our Hlavacek family.
5/24/2005 Another special day evolved as we left Prague by car, and traveled East through the beautiful countryside of the Czech Republic. Jaroslav's first stop was at the small village of Oslavany. This was the town my grandfather was born in. We visited the cemetery and paid our respects by placing flowers on their graves. As we walked through the cemetary, we found a vacant Machocka grave. Jaroslav was not aware of another living "Machocky", so we visited the "town hall" and was able to find Jaroslav's aunt. It was a nice reunion, as she remembered him from a little boy. Continued our journey to Znojmo and visited the graves of Jaroslav's parents and also his grandfather. Jaroslav's father, also named Jaroslav, but nicknamed "Hombre", loved American westerns and dreamed of a visit to America to see his Uncle (my grandfather). We continued our travels onward to Ostrava. Though we did stop along the roadside to pick some wild poppies for a bouquet for Jana. Ostrava is an industrial city, where steel mills and other industries are present. The centrum of Ostrava is a warm and inviting place, and we felt quite comfortable and welcome.
5/25/2005 Today was a lovely day! A little warm in temperature, but perfect for being outdoors. We visited Roznov and the Valasske Museum. We toured the wooden houses of long ago, and took in the details of the centuries old lifestyles. We learned about pioneer people of the region who worked the land by farming. I also met with Ivan and Daniela Kocadja, of z Lintinchu Kennels in Slovakia. I appreciated their driving to Ostrava to meet me, and I enjoyed our conversation of German Shepherds, bloodlines and breeding. We are looking forward to welcoming our new German Shepherd, Farina z. Lintinchu to the USA very soon!
5/26/2005 Jana began our day with delicious chicken schnitzel and a wonderful breakfast! She packed us a terrific lunch for our train ride from Ostrava to Prague and on to Plizen. The train ride was delightful! We met a young Czech college student named Tomik, and also two young Polish girls named Marta and Renata, and they spoke English very well. Everyone was on their way to Prague. The train ride was about 6.5 hours long, but was enjoyable. It was my first train ride. Josef picked us up in Plizen, and we took a beautiful scenic ride through the Bohemian Forest on into Germany. We stopped at the Schinnes Guest House and had an excellent dinner and beer. We continued onward to Bamberg through many quaint German towns and saw many hills and cliffs.
5/27/2005 This day was a relaxing day, and a day to reflect on our many travels. Mary and Kristen went swimming in Hallstadt, and Birgit and I went shopping and had a nice tortellini lunch in Bamberg. In the afternoon, I was very spoiled by Mary, as she treated me to a manicure and pedicure ... in Josef's garden area. This was quite an event ... at least to the neighbors! :) Norbert made a surprise visit, and it was good to visit with him a few minutes.
5/28/2005 A bit more shopping in Bamberg, then Yvi and her sister, Nikki, took Mary and I to the Schloß Seehof, a beautiful castle near Bamberg. We walked the castle grounds in a maze of greenery, and enjoyed watching the fountains flow on the half hour. We completed our grounds tour at the Eis Café, and enjoyed a delicious ice cream sundae. Anya Pflaum is expecting a new baby, so Mary, Kristen and I decided to ... in an all American tradition, give her a Baby Shower! Her mom, Birgit baked two cakes (one cheese cake and one strawberry cream cake). We decorated the garden house in a typical "baby shower" motif, and placed our gifts on the center of the table. Anya worked a long day, getting off of work at 8:00 pm. But when she arrived home, her mom insisted that she come with her to the garden house. We were all waiting for her ... and shouted SURPRISE, as she entered the door. Anya was at first VERY SHOCKED. She didn't have a clue that we had anything like this up our sleeves. After we explained the idea of a "baby shower", she began to get into the swing of things ... opening the gifts and playing with the decorations, we had a wonderful time. After the baby shower was over, we (all us girls) talked about "girl" things and drank whiskey and beer long after midnight! Mary and I lasted until about 3:00 am, but Nicole and Kristen noticed the sun rising!
5/29/2005 The final day of our vacation came SUDDENLY. Wow ... where did the time go? After a late night, most everyone slept late. Josef took us all to the local guest house for lunch ... of course, it was wonderful. In the afternoon, Juergen and Jackie came by to visit, and we sit in the garden talking for hours. Us girls decided to go to the Eis Cream Parlor again, so that was a nice treat. Just a couple more whiskeys and coke for the evening ... and I said good night at 11:00 pm. It was a wonderful time in Germany and the Czech Republic visiting our special friends and our family.
* You may CLICK on highlighted names in the text above to find websites with more information about the city, castle or museum. Some website may be in German or Czech, but most do have English translation versions on their homepage.

View Mary's presentation to her local Czech Heritage Society Chapter after returning home. Note: Presentation requires Adobe Acrobat Reader

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