Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

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Karlovy Vary: a Russian city in the Czech Republic

In Culture,Czech Tourism,Economy on November 1, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , ,

Karlovy Vary is a city in the Czech Republic. It is a famous spa town where the internationally famous Mattoni mineral water is produced and where the annual film festival is held.

But the strangest thing about this place is its strong Russian influence. It is a favorite tourist destination for people from Russia, Ukraine and other former Soviet Union republics. Plus, many Russian businessmen opened their stores and other establishments here. Every once in a while a news story emerges about the negative aspects of the Russian influence, mostly represented by businesspersons who allegedly “ignore laws” (e.g. by building or renovating houses without proper permits, etc.). On the other hand, businesses that have ties to Russia or Russian owners give jobs to locals…

The town even has a Russian village where street signs are bilingual. Local people were shocked to find out that the village was built where a camp with a pool had been demolished.

And one can see the Russian presence on almost every main street in downtown Karlovy Vary, where even hair salons, post offices, hardware stores etc. have signs in four languages…

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Empty Brno Dam revealed its secrets: grenades and mud traps

In Brno,Nature on June 15, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , ,

The Brno Dam is famous weekend destination for families, lovers, sport lovers. It features beaches, boats, beach volleyball courts, hot-dog stands, biking paths etc.

Oh yeah, there is almost no water there now. The dam has been emptied to facilitate mud cleaning to prevent cyanobacteria formation.

Two World War II grenades were found in the mud today and the police warn that there will be more. People are discouraged from entering the banks of the “river” that flows in the middle of the dam valley. There are huge mud traps that can be even six feet deep and one can’t get out, if trapped. However, hundreds adventure and treasure seekers enter the restricted area anyway — to search for former houses that had been there before the dam was built. People had to leave the former village of Kninicky…

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Weekend in Croatia: 26 hours on the bus, 12 hours on the beach

In Travel on June 13, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , , , , ,

A few people said I was crazy, but I just had to try it. I bought a return bus ticket  (why did I write the word “ticked” without noticing??) to Rovinj, Croatia for the next week.

Leaving on Friday night, the bus arrives in Rovinj at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. I get to spend 13 hours in a beautiful town and on its beaches — and the bus back to Brno departs at 8:00 p.m., arriving in Brno on Sunday morning.  Hence, the total journey takes up some 25 hours while the rest-and-relaxation only lasts twelve.

But hey, the town is beautiful and the nude beaches are even better — plus I can sleep well on buses so the journey is not going to be exhausting…

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A Night at the Museum

In Brno,Culture on May 16, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , ,

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Thousands of people are in the streets of Brno tonight. Museum and galleries are going to be open until 11 p.m. for free. People can also visit fairs, wine tasting, medieval reenactments, etc. Special buses take people to cultural institutions around Brno, like the Rajhrad Monastery. The atmosphere is breathtaking…

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Charter flights between Prague and Miami cancelled before they started

In Czech Tourism,Economy,Travel on April 28, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , ,

skyeuropeThousands of Czechs were expected to visit the United States on Prague-Miami flights when the visa regime ceased to exist a few months ago. Travel agencies thought that with the favorable exchange rate they would fly some 7,000 tourists to Florida.

Nope. According to the Planes.cz server Czech Airlines withdrew from the route and so did the Travel Service charter airline. Both due to small demand.

I remember there were times when “summer holiday” in the U.S. WAS indeed ridiculously expensive. Airline tickets, visa fees and the fact that any immigration officer can send you home even if you have a hotel reservation and a return ticket — South Beach and Florida landmarks just weren’t worth it. Now the prices are much better, but Czechs -naturally- save money on things they need the least.

For example being fined by a beach buggy cop for sunbathing topless. I know, I know, Florida is more open-minded about this, but still 🙂

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Czech travel agencies: forget last-minute bargains this year

In Economy on April 19, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , ,

(c) Getty Images

(c) Getty Images

This financial crisis forces people to give up things that need the least, of course. In case of Czechs: seaside-resort holidays. For many families and couples there will be no Croatia, Greece, Spain or Egypt this year. Lucky bastards who live in Florida. 🙂

Czech travel agencies still do offer their services…  but they recently announced they significantly reduced their capacities (i.e. numbers of beds and rooms…) they pre-ordered last year, or well ahead. It means two things: they will sell out what they have faster and they will offer almost no last-minute departures that can be described as “buy today, fly in two days”.

Last year one could wait until a Tuesday, pick a destination, pay a ridiculously small price and pack to depart on a Friday. Not only there will be no such thing this year, travel agencies also INCREASED their prices, which I don’t understand, considering the fact that people have LESS money.

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Weekend photo-walk in Brno

In Brno,Photography on March 21, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , ,

A random selection of various parts of Brno during one 45-minute tram ride. Just point-and-shoot this time, with no real thought with respect to journalistic quality 🙂

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Bystrc borough. A 20-minute tram ride to downtown Brno.

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Bystrc borough. A 20-minute tram ride to downtown Brno.

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Pekarska St.

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Pekarska St.

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Old houses on Mendel Sq. housing a tea room, a pub and an army store.

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Wizzair to recruit cabin crew in Prague. Why do they have to be nineteen?

In Economy on March 12, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , , ,

(c) JetPhotos.net

(c) JetPhotos.net

Wizzair, probably the biggest Central European low-cost airline, will recruit its future cabin crew employees in Prague Thursday.

The company’s website is inviting young people who are interested in becoming cabin crew members just to show up with their photo and CV and they will be told in the afternoon. Told what?, I asked a friend of mine who plans to apply. They will be told who passed the preliminary interview-based selection.

Speaking of selection, the very first selection is weird already…

The airline is announcing age restrictions: only applicants aged 19 and over can apply. Generally, under the provisions of the Czech Labour Act age-based discrimination is illegal.

Of course there are exceptions, but they have to be legitimized, like by previous experience which will logically add up the years. Like ATC controllers can not be 18. And an actress to play Juliet can’t be a mom of five who is 40. But the minimum age does not make sense…it would be too early to jump to conlusions and claim it violates the Labour Act…but it looks like it… the legal age is 18 here, what difference does the one year make in terms of employment experience? A curious question sent to the PA and PR department…expecting a reply…

cc_wizzInsider look at the job interviews:
Only 30 people showed interest and showed up. They were invited into a room one by one and they were asked three lame questions (age, previous experience and why they want to do this). They were assigned numbers. Then they had to wait outside for the verdict. The committee went outside and said out loud seven numbers of people who obviously advanced into some kind of next round. The remaining 23 people were told “thanks and bye”.

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Escape from winter

In Economy,Travel on January 13, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , ,

Last year and in 2006 I enjoyed the month of January. It is because I spent one week in Maspalomas, Canary Islands, Spain. It was 27 degrees Celsius there.

Do the math, you can do it even if you use F. 🙂

This year, I notice it is only 16 degrees Celsius there and yet Czech travel agencies sell one-week vacation getaways for the same price as the last year. We have the financial crisis going on and it is terribly cold at this particular destination and yet the travel agencies won’t react accordingly? I don’t get this…

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U.S. visa regime ends November 17

In Politics,Travel,World on October 7, 2008 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , ,

It is really symbolical. As of November 17, which is the 19th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, Czechs can travel to the United States without visa.

They will still need to file an electronic application and wait for the embassy to send its yes/no. And they can still be sent home by an immigration officer once they have landed at JFK or ORD.

Michael Chertoff should come to visit the Czech Republic to sign the agreement on behalf of the U.S. government.

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