Our 2011 Eastern Europe Trip
Part 2 - Page 6

This is Jana Kucerova, a GCT Lecturer. She gave a talk on the History and Politics of the Czech Republic.

This was our next to the last day on the tour and was one of several GCT Cultural activities. It was very interesting.

Later in the morning we took another bus tour.

This is time we stopped at the Memorial to the Czech Paratroopers who participated in Operation Anthropoid which was the code name for the targeted killing of top German SS leader Reinhard Heydrich. He was the chief of the Reich Main Security Office, the acting Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, and a chief planner of the Final Solution, the Nazi German program for the genocide of the Jews of Europe.

Jozef Gabcík and Jan Kubiš were airlifted along with seven soldiers from Czechoslovakia’s army-in-exile in the United Kingdom. Gabcík and Kubiš landed east of Prague, where the attack was planned.

In Prague, they contacted several families and anti-Nazi organizations who helped them during the preparations for the targeted kill. Gabcík and Kubiš initially planned to kill Heydrich either on a train, in the woods, or in Prague. They ended up in Prague.

On May 27, 1942, at 10:30 AM, Heydrich proceeded on his daily commute from his home to the Prague Castle. Gabcík and Kubiš waited at a tram stop. A gun and hand grenade battle ensued. Heydrich was severely wounded and taken to a nearby hospital and operated on. He died a week later.

Hitler ordered the SS and Gestapo to “wade in blood” throughout Bohemia to find Heydrich’s killers. Hitler wanted to start with brutal, widespread killing of the Czech people but, after consultation, he reduced his directive to only several thousand. The Czech lands were an important industrial zone for the German military and indiscriminate killing could reduce the productivity of the region. More than 13,000 people were ultimately arrested.

The most notorious incident was in the village of Lidice, which was destroyed on June 9, 1942: 199 men were executed, 95 children taken, 8 of which were taken for adoption by German families, and 195 women arrested

The attackers initially hid with two Prague families and later took refuge in Karel Boromejsky Church. They were betrayed and the Nazis raided the church and after a 2 hour gun battle, all the assassins were killed or commited suicide.

This is the Prague "New Town Hall". It is in Charles Square and dates to 1377, but not much was left from the building from that time. Several parts were added at the beginning of the 15th century, the most noticeable one is the high tower with a big bell and a chapel inside.

The New Town Hall became very famous for the event that happened in the 15th century. In July 1419 a crowd of demonstrators demanded that several citizens should be released from the prison.

When the councillors refused to release the prisoners, the outraged crowd burst into the building and threw the present councillors out of the windows. The councillors who survived the fall were beaten to death. This event started the Hussite movement asking for reforms in the Catholic Church.

Here is The Dancing House. The building was designed in 1992 and completed in 1996. Originally named Fred and Ginger (after Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - the house resembles a pair of dancers) the house stands out among the Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings for which Prague is famous. Others have nicknamed it "Drunk House".

This is a view across the Vltava (Moldau) at apartments along the river.

Here is the entrance to the Strahov Monastry and Brewery. It's a beautiful place overlooking the older part of Prague. St Norberts Amber and the St Norbets IPA are brewed here. Supposedly it is super beer (What Czech beer isn't super?).

This is the view from the Monastry. St Vitus Cathedral and the Prague Castle are on the left. In the distance is the Vltava (Moldau).

At this point, Mary Ann, Heidi, and I separated from the group and ventured off on our own. Destination: The Old Town via the Charles Bridge.

This is the Charles Bridge.It is a famous and historic bridge that crosses the Vltava (Moldau). Its construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of the 15th century. As the only means of crossing the river Vltava (Moldau) until 1841, the Charles Bridge was the most important connection between Prague Castle and the city's Old Town and adjacent areas.

This "solid-land" connection made Prague important as a trade route between Eastern and Western Europe. The bridge was originally called the Stone Bridge or the Prague Bridge but has been the "Charles Bridge" since 1870.

The bridge is protected by three bridge towers, two of them on the Lesser Quarter side and the third one on the Old Town side. The Old Town bridge tower is often considered to be one of the most astonishing civil gothic-style buildings in the world. The bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries, most of them baroque-style, originally erected around 1700 but now all replaced by replicas.

This is one of the interesting sculptures on the Charles Bridge. I'm not sure what it represents, but it's kind of scary!

This is a final view of the Old Town Square. All those folks are waiting for the bugler to blow his bugle on the hour. It's a real neat place to hang out!

There was some sort of festival in the Square. One food vendor was roasting a pig. Yum, Yum!! As if we hadn't had enough of pork on this trip...

This guy was playing a "Hurdy Gurdy". I've heard of hurdy gurdys, but I never saw or heard one, until now.

I guess it's time to go home.

This is the group called Umarcanu(?). They played traditional Czech music with some unusual instruments: Bag pipes, a hammered dulcimer, a basson looking horn, and a device that sort of made fart sounds. They also had a young couple who danced and spun. They were great! I've got movies, but no stills. Sorry!

A highlight of the dinner was a sommelier who had two carafes with long long spouts. He could fill your glass with a squirt from across the table and never spill a drop! Again, movies, but no stils. Again, sorry!

Here's a last pic of our little group. We're all here except Claire Tuttle. She took the picture.

On the morning of our departure, I had to get one more picture of Edi. She was a super Tour Director. She handled everything with professionism and good humor. I hope GCT appreciates her - I know we do!!

We made it back to Boston after a long, but uneventful flight. Caught the "T" to North Station. Took AMTRAK's "Downeaster" to Wells, ME. Picked up our car and arrived at our summer home Sea-Vu South - tired, but filled with a jumble of memories and a lot of pics to sort through.

If you'd like to send me an email, click on my e-mail address below:


Go to Home Go to P.2 Go to P.3 Go to P.4 Go to P.5 Go to P.7 Go to P.8 Go to P.9