Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category


CSA strike: dozens stranded and flights cancelled

In Economy,Travel on December 2, 2011 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , ,

(c) Petr Bokuvka

Many Czech Airlines pilots have been on strike for two days now. They protest against the company management’s restructuring plans, which include, among other things, the transfer of a part of the CSA fleet to Holidays Czech Airlines, which is a charter airline which was established as a sister company.

Czech Airlines announced on its website that the protest is illegal even though only a court can declare with maximum certainty that a protest is illegal. The announcement says that due to the illegal pressure tactics the airline is unable to operate some of its flight. Earlier on Friday the management found a Bulgarian airline which has offered four aircraft and crew, the server wrote. Some of these aircraft brought home dozens of Czechs who had tickets on inbound flights.

In addition, the protesting pilots claim that the CSA management and Minister of Finance are not telling the whole truth about the company’s financial performance (which has been tragic recently) and that the general downsizing, in terms of its fleet and number of employees, is hurting the company “beyond repair”. According to a letter sent by the airline’s top manager to the employees, pilots will be able to fly for the sister charter airline. However, the company offers much lower salaries, the news server wrote. The chairman of the pilots’ professional association was quoted by AFP as saying that transferring aircraft between these two companies is just like holding your bag in your right hand and switch it to your left hand.

Czech Airlines announced on Friday evening that it had managed to make arrangements for all Saturday flights.


Join the joyride, in a tram with expats

In Travel on October 19, 2011 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: ,


We want to invite you to another event prepared especially for you, Brno expats. Based on numerous questions and requests gathered through time and linking on to our event in June, we want to present further possibilities for leisure in Brno, available to adults, children, families… everyone.

This time however, you will be able to see some of the places or try some of the activities yourselves. And, we will actually take you to locations you might not discover immediately. A very special vehicle full of interesting information, a tram all our own – or „šalina“ as we say in Brno – will take you for a ride, and you don’t have to worry about meeting a ticket inspector.

The event is scheduled to take place this Sunday, October 23. In fact, rent-a-tram events are quite common. Trams, including historical ones, can be rented for weddings, corporate parties, dances, graduation rides, etc.


Croatian police vs Czech pot smokers on holidays

In Law,Travel on July 1, 2011 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: ,

It is the first day of the official summer holiday (July 1 to August 31) and thousands of Czechs are on their way to Croatia. It is still the most favorite holiday destination. Since the tourist season started in Croatia, almost 30 Czechs have had problems with the police, most of them were even charged with the possession of narcotics – meaning “pot”. Several years ago Croatia adopted very strict drug control legislation and the authorities have said repeatedly that it will apply to tourists and that the “I had no idea” excuse will not be acknowledged. Border patrols have started thorough inspections of vehicles, their occupants and their luggage. According to local news sources, cops have been instructed to focus “on young occupants in more expensive cars” who are thought to be the more wealthy youth who go on holidays without parents (duh, they are over 18) – but with money and recreational drugs. In the past, Croatian border patrols focused on the “poorer” tourists from the Czech Republic who wanted to save money and brought their own groceries, alcohol, canned food etc., so that they could avoid buying them in Croatia, or even spending money in restaurants. After many protests the Croatian government realized it was not that big a deal and that many Czechs would not go to Croatia at all, if they had to leave their food at home (similar protests from pot smokers are not expected).


Wizzair to offer a new destination: Eindhoven

In Travel on June 8, 2011 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , ,

Starting December 16 the low-cost airline Wizzair will fly a new route from Brno – to Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Planes will make a quick turnaround in Brno around 10:00 a.m. twice a week (Mondays and Fridays). 

Governor of the South Moravian Region Michal Hasek said during a Thursday press conference that his administration has been negotiating another new route – to Brussels Charleroi, which was thought to be the new destination to be announced today. So far Wizzair offers flights from Brussels to Belgrade, Bucharest, Budapest, Prague, Sofia and Warsaw. For the time being, two routes from Brno serve London and Rome.


Flights between Brno and Moscow to be terminated

In Brno,Economy,Travel on January 2, 2011 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , ,

Brno Turany International Airport is a small one. Not so long ago international passenger traffic was represented only by London-Stansted (Ryanair) and Moscow (Atlant-Soyuz). Now Ryanair serves two airports (London-Stansted and Milan) and there is a new airline, Wizzair (London-Luton). According to the server, flights to Moscow will most likely be terminated as of January 16 due to financial situation of the carrier (the name of which is now Moscow Airlines). The company hasn’t paid insurance and leasing fees since September… Flights might resume under the name of UTAir. Last year in July, the airline celebrated its third anniversary of the Moscow-Brno route.


Thousands of Czechs stuck in London due to weather

In Travel,Winter on December 19, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , ,

As many as 2,000 Czechs are believed to be stuck in London due to the recent snow storms that shut down the four airports from which one can fly to Prague or Brno (Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted). Prague is served by EasyJet, British Airways and Wizzair and Czech Airlines (Daniel Duda noted that CSA does not serve Heathrow as of November 1 -ed), while Ryanair and Wizzair operate flights to Brno.

There are limited opportunities when it comes to ground travel: according to the reservation system of Student Agency (major Czech operator of international bus lines) seats are sold out through the Christmas Eve. Eurolines has a few seats left for December 23 (as at Sunday at 10:50 p.m. CET). Naturally, most Czechs who are in the U.K. now are on low budget and cannot afford staying in a hotel voluntarily wait until departures are resumed.

Of course, the flights between the Czech Republic and the U.K. are significantly disrupted by the fact that some planes had to stay in Prague (or even in a different city while making their daily roundtrips around Europe), so they will not be readily available at Luton or Stansted.


Prague Castle Guards celebrated their 92nd anniversary

In Czech Tourism,Prague,Travel on December 11, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , ,

Tourists who enter the Prague Castle like to have pictures taken with two statue-like soldiers in light-blue uniforms standing in front of tall wooden booths at each side of the main gate. The Prague Castle Guards symbolically “protect the president” and they are used for ceremonial purposes. Of course, the president’s real bodyguards are from a different branch of the police force.

The Prague Castle Guards celebrated their 92nd anniversary. Founded in December of 1918, less than two months after the independent Czechoslovak Republic was born, they were mostly “mounted police”. As at 2010, the unit has 655 soldiers and civilian employees…

Photo (c) The Prague Castle (


Czech Republic paralyzed. By eight inches of snow

In Brno,Cars,Travel,Winter on December 3, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , ,

Two consecutive snow storms and almost the entire country is paralyzed. The first snow storm took place on December 1 (Wednesday). Some parts of the Czech Republic got 8 inches of snow, but other regions had only as little as 5 inches, which was enough to stop cars, buses, streetcars and trains. And when vehicles don’t move, people don’t move. Some inbound freeways in Prague became huge sidewalks on Wednesday when people gave up waiting for, or sitting on, buses.

The main Czech freeway (D1) gets blocked regularly, mostly by ill-fated trucks. Jack-knifed is the better scenario. However, the heave snow combined with high winds rendered railway switches inoperable and sometimes the layer of snow was so high that trains could not even pass through it. In downtown Brno, for example, snow got packed into streetcar switches, causing delays as drivers had to leave their cabs and un-jam the switch…

Most dailies were not available in Brno on Thursday.

Some villages that are connected to the outside world via Class III roads became isolated altogether. More snowing is expected on Friday night (tonight). Most Czechs tend to blame the road maintenance authorities and their plow drivers. They often fail to realize that high winds often blow snow back in a few minutes, or that the salt that is used on roads becomes ineffective at certain temperatures. Plus, many trucks (!) still have their summer tires.


New trams for Brno: no more subway-like seats

In Brno,Economy,Technology,Travel on November 24, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , ,

The Brno public transportation authority, DPMB, operates nineteen trams (streetcars) known as 13T from Skoda Transportation. Some of the seats used are installed like subway seats and many people really hate it. They usually have two reasons. One, the aisle between the two rows is way too narrow, allowing only one person to stand between the two sitting persons. It is so narrow that the person’s crotch or butt is uncomfortably close to their fellow passengers’ faces. And two, as the streetcar accelerates or slows down, some passengers say their backs and necks hurt.

So there will be ten new streetcars that will have normal seating now. As to why the original nineteen were not manufactured with ordinary seating arrangement, there is no real answer, except for – according to what specialised discussion forums say – we did not think it was that big a deal. The good thing is that the low-floor parts of the streetcar can accommodate up to six wheelchairs or baby carriages.


Bus To Bohemia: witty observations by an Englishman in Prague

In Culture,Entertainment,Language,Life,Media,Prague,Travel on November 14, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , ,

I am a fan of witty books written by foreigners about a country they visit, or about their new (temporary or permanent) homelands. I liked Stephen Clarke’s Merde books and I enjoyed For the Love of Prague by Gene Deitch.

Bus To Bohemia by Posh Parker is another one of these works of art that are, in my opinion, written mainly for the author’s fellow citizens who are less fortunate and have not had the chance to visit a foreign country and dive into its everyday life by attending local bars and communicating with local people, instead of just eating at KFC and shopping like ordinary tourists. Of course, just like most authors of all genres (be it comedy or university textbooks) there are a few very minor cases of jumping to conclusions — but hey, we ALL do it.

Books like this one may also be of interest to Czechs who want to know how the nation is perceived by foreigners and who do not take things personally. Many Czechs do take things personally and any comments and remarks regarding aspects of everyday life result in their unspoken remarks “Go back to (insert country here)”.

Of course, one has to have in mind that books written by the author’s foreign experience are often written from one specific perspective. Had the author arrived as a first-class British Airways passenger and stayed at the Radisson and dined in the Alcron’s La Rotonde, it would be a different — and boring! — perspective. 

The author’s website is here. You can also buy his book.

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