Czech Republic Travel Guide
The Newbie Traveler / Photo Gallery / Prague Travel / British Airways / Castles / Czech Republic Travel / Europe Travel / Shopping Travel / → All Tags
What would your life be like if you hadn't yet traveled to Europe? If you'd spent years reading travel novels and fantasizing over guidebooks, but hadn't made the big leap? This is the case for Andy Miles, who in his late twenties just embarked on a trip to hit most of the cities for the first time. He's walking us through the emotions and observations of a true Newbie Traveler.
Since writing my very first Newbie Traveler article back in 2010, I have been to nine different countries. I'm actually starting to feel more like a seasoned traveler than a newbie, but I believe it's less about where you've been and more about where you're going.
I started off my most recent trip with a week's visit to London for a conference. All business. It was my third time in that beautiful city and as much as I hated to leave it, my itinerary this year was well worth leaving for. My girlfriend and I visited Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam and Bruges, all cities new to me.
After our all too brief week in London, we hopped a British Airways flight to Prague.
It’s not quite as close to home as the new airport name down in Little Rock, but another airport is getting ready to change and update plenty of signs. Prague Ruzyne International Airport is getting a new name, and it’s all because plenty of Czechs have been pretty vocal about changing it.
Residents think renaming the airport after former President Václav Havel is a great idea, and after plenty of pleading and petitioning it sounds like it’s a done deal. Even the Transport Minister is now onboard, and he’s thinking that the best day to change over the airport will be on October 5—that would have been the late president’s 76th birthday.
Movie Set Travel / Jaunted On Location / Prague Travel / Tom Cruise / Mission Impossible 4 / → All Tags
Tom Cruise stepped back into the shoes (and Russian disguises) of Ethan Hunt this week for the fourth Installment of Mission Impossible.
The movie commenced shooting in Prague on Wednesday, after Tom and the movie's producers spent several days last week scouting locations. During their trip they visited the city’s Vrsovice train station, and several sites in the Old Town of Prague, where Cruise is rumored to be staying. Old Town Square, which dates back to the 12th Century, was the once central marketplace for Prague and is now one of the most visited sights in the Czech Republic.
Obama-Around-The-World / Presidential Travel / Barack Obama / Political Travel / Prague Travel / → All Tags
Barack and Michelle greet Prague during their trip one year ago
It's been exactly a year since President Barack Obama first set foot in Prague, at that time taking Michelle along for the ride and giving public speeches in places like Hradcany Square. But this year, it's all business as Obama embarked on a whirlwind 2-day trip to the Czech capital for the purpose of meeting up with President Klaus of the Czech Republic and signing a nuclear arms reduction treaty with President Medvedev of Russia.
Sadly Obama did not enjoy the usual delights that Prague offers to tourists, with the exception of multiple visits to Prague Castle for his meetings. Prague Castle is the city's top tourist stop, and since it holds the Guinness World Record for being the "largest coherent castle complex in the world," we doubt that the whole thing had to shut down just for Obama's visit.
How to follow Obama into Prague Castle, after the jump
Thanksgiving Alternatives / Thanksgiving Travel / Travel Deals / Fall Travel / Virgin / Virgin Vacations / Prague / Prague Travel / → All Tags
Are you a last-minute planner when it comes to big holiday travel times like Thanksgiving in Christmas? Yes, we are too, especially because everything looks so darn expensive and plain booked up. This year, it's either another Thanksgiving of ordering Chinese takeout or booking it out of the country for some autumn appeal overseas...like in Prague.
Remember that it's not Thanksgiving over in the Czech Republic, so that means no dinner reservations or pressure to eat cranberry sauce. Virgin Vacations seems to have the best deal we've seen for this, with a 6-night hotel, airfare, and daily breakfast starting at $669 per person. Sure they have other deals for Thanksgiving to Barcelona, London, Paris and Rome, but the Prague trip sounds like the most fall foliage and old school charm for the lowest price.
We first heard about the Church of Bones--formally known as the Kostnice Ossuary--when Ewan McGregor stopped in here during his Long Way Round motorbike odyssey. It's a creepy collection of over 40,000 human skeletons, with all these bones carefully arranged by monks to decorate a small Catholic chapel. The skeletons are thought to be remains of people who died in the 14th and 15th centuries, but no matter how old they are, seeing the skulls staring out at you all around the church is more than a little disconcerting.
But it's fascinating, and easy to get to on a day trip out of Prague to a town called Kutna Hora. You can take the hour-long bus trip from central Prague for about $6 return and once you get there, admission costs 50 Czech crowns ($2.50). We recommend not souveniring any bones on this trip; a 500-year-old skull might be quite hard to explain at customs.
· Church of Bones - Kostnice Ossuary [Official Site]
· Czech Beer Still Tasty After NYT Treatment [Jaunted]
· Ewan McGregor Completes 20 Country Motorcycle Tour [Jaunted]
Airports / Prague Travel / Ruzyne / PRG / → All Tags
In one sense this clip isn't totally inaccurate. Every airport has its own quirks. Ruzyne Airport in Prague is no different - empty information desks, lost luggage, and the occasional empty cash machine that still debits your bank account. There's a reason they're trying to privatize it.
Getting into and out of Prague can also be a hassle. We strongly recommend that you avoid the fixed-priced taxis. Instead avail yourself of bus #119, which runs about every 10 minutes and takes you to the beginning of the city's gorgeously efficient metro.
None of which compares, of course, to the angst-ridden existential ennui uncovered by the Onion's intrepid correspondents as shown in the clip. They call the airport Franz Kafka International Airport but just like the security checkpoint officer who stamped the word "Liar" on a passenger's hand, the Onion is just poking fun. Don't try to book a flight using airport code FKI or anything.
What do you think is the most 'alienating' or infuriating airport? Let us know!
· Airports coverage [Jaunted]
· Prague's Franz Kafka International Airport Named 'World's Most Alienating' [The Onion]
[Front door photo: Solja]
If your boyfriend/girlfriend/significant other hasn't taken you to Prague yet, we recommend dropping seriously heavy hints. This weekend's UK Times reported that it's a bargain time to go, which will appeal to those looking for a cheap date, and also romantic because for once, the streets aren't too jam-packed.
Prague in winter is cold but undeniably pretty with a layer of snow, and what better weather is there for snuggling up with your sweetheart? It helps that most of the best hotels are offering rooms for nearly half price right now after tourism's dropped off (there goes that bad global economy again).
Apart from wandering the snow-dusted cobblestone streets hand in hand, you can also explore Prague Castle, gaze lovingly at art in the Veletrzni Palac, or take a walk through the woods of Petrin. If all that fails, there's always Czech beer to put you in the mood.
Low-key crooner Jason Mraz went all out for his new music video "Lucky," which places him and singer Colbie Caillat on two dream vacations. We've figured out one--now we need your help to crack the other.
Despite claims online that he shot the vid in Luxembourg, Mraz, who recently performed at the Nobel Peace Prize concert, is cruising through the streets of Prague in an old-timey car. Included are several shots of historic Old Town Square, which is given the "Vanilla Sky" treatment and appears to be empty. (It probably never is in real life, right?)
Now it's your turn: Where is Colbie Caillat in this video? She's on a beach that we think looks sort of Everglades-y, but we could be wrong about that. Keep in mind, Mraz's last video "I'm Yours" was shot in Kauai and Oahu, while Caillat recently shot her own video "You" in Seal Beach, California. Leave your best guess in the comments!
· Jason Mraz feat. Colbie Caillat, "Lucky" [PerezTV]
· ScarJo Fetes Peace Prize Winner [Jaunted]
· Singer Colbie Caillat Films Video at Seal Beach Pier [OC Register]
· Celeb Travel coverage [Jaunted]
We're all about trying out new adventures, but people in the Czech Republic may have started to take things a little too far. So far this year, 56 Czech tourists have died while traveling abroad.
Officials chalk it up to people being a little less careful when they're away from home. The "it can't happen to me" syndrome also appears to be a leading risk factor. Adventure seekers seem to have caused a spike in the numbers as well, as more and more people are looking towards mountain climbing, diving and other active vacations.
Most recently, one tourist perished will attempting to climb the Matterhorn in Switzerland. Trying new things and enjoying the outdoors is essential, but keep an eye on those local guidelines and safety warnings. And watch out for logs!
[Photo: Terry Wha]
The Czech Republic is a popular shooting location for directors looking to cut costs, as a back-drop to modern-day thrillers like "Wanted" and "Casino Royale," fantasy worlds like in "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" or the past ("Amadeus," Roman Polanski's "Oliver Twist"). This weekend, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (running through July 12) celebrates the fruits of some of those labors, but also the exploding film markets of Central and Eastern Europe.
In addition to the fest's official selection, it presents a special "East of the West" award to a pool of films made in and by crews from Germany, Hungary, Austria and the Baltic states. German actor-director Armin Mueller-Stahl (you know him as the Russian Mafia godfather in "Eastern Promises") exhibits not a film, but a set of his paintings at the festival.
Just in time for "Swingtown," Ukrainian-American director Paul Mazursky is dusting off his bed-swapping classic "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice," and Czech-born Oscar winner Markéta Irglová will play a concert July 10 with her "Once" co-star, bandmate and beau Glen Hansard.
Don't forget: It's pronounced CAR-la-vee VAR-ee.
· 43rd Annual Karlovy Vary International Film Festival [Official Site]
· Movie Set Travel: Casino Royale [Jaunted]
· Celeb Travel coverage [Jaunted]
[Photo of the Grandhotel Pupp, a Karlovy Vary landmark used in "Casino Royale": tofufah]
Summer's big action-adventure flicks are finally surfacing and "Wanted" won't disappoint. Angelina's back as a gun-toting, ass-kicking secret society trainer for a young man who finds out his father was an assassin. (You can barely tell she'll soon be a mother of 5!)
Wes Gibson (James McAvoy) is a boring office drone popping anti-anxiety meds when he meets Fox (Jolie) and finds out his father was a member of a secret society of assassins called "Fraternity." Fox takes him under her wing and trains him to bring out his own special powers and avenge his father's death. It's a comic book come to life, in which all the characters are stunning.
"Wanted" was shot in stunning Prague, so this Friday we offer you some cool things to check out in the Czech capital.