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In Golden Lane of Prague Castle
Gary's buddy, Judy (left), and Donna's buddy, Arlita, in Golden Lane of Prague Castle

Hiking in Beskydy Mountains
Hiking in Beskydy Mountains

Hike break at Radegast Statue
From left, Gary with Bonnie, Sheila, David, Carol and assistant guide Levente at Radegast statue

Ben in Pustevny
Tour guide Ben entertaining and teaching us in Pustevny

Four Nights and Dazed in the Czech Republic

Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2007

Dobry den, Ceska Republika!

Population: 10 million (similar to Michigan). Area: 31,000 square miles (similar to South Carolina or Maine). Capital: Prague. Government: parliamentary democracy. Latitude: 45 degrees north (similar to Vancouver, Canada). Famous for beer (pivo), authors Franz Kafka and Milan Kundera, composers Antonin Dvorak and Bedrich Smetana, Art Nouveau artist Alfons Mucha, ice hockey.

Twin spires of Gothic Tyn Church Donna's Photo Album of the Czech Republic

Prague | Stramberk/Pustevny/Trojanovice

At memorial plaque in PragueHistoric, Artistic Prague

Population: 1.2 million.

Estates TheaterSept. 30-Oct. 2: We spent much of our time in Prague's wonderfully preserved Old Town Square, with its 14th century Church of Our Lady of Tyn (above), 600-year-old Astronomical Clock (below left), Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture, nearby Estates Theater (at right), and neighboring Jewish Quarter.

On the Charles BridgeBut we also visited the domineering, fortresslike Castle District overlooking the Vltava River, with its Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral and Royal Palace; the statue-lined Charles Bridge (and at right) across the river; New Town's sights before, during and after communist rule (also at top right); and unique art displays in Prague's Little Quarter (from a monument honoring victims of communism to a wall celebrating John Lennon and free expression).

Our evening treats included the opera (Bizet's Carmen), black-light theater and Prague's great beer. Na zdravi!

Astronomical ClockGary's Photo Album of Prague

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The Czech CountrysideChairlift to Pustevny

Population: Stramberk, 3,365; Trojanovice, 2,053

Oct. 3: We traveled through the eastern part of the country (Moravia), ate lunch in the small mountain town of Stramberk, and headed into the mountainous Wallachia region on the border with Poland and Slovakia. There, in the Beskydy Mountains, we took a chairlift to the little ridge-top resort village of Pustevny (and at right) and hiked through fall colors (below left) to the statue of Radegast, an old Slavic god of sun, friendship and harvest.

Folk-dancing in TrojanoviceAfter dinner in Pustevny, with tour guide Ben charming us with his humor (in column at left), we returned on the lift to enjoy local folk music and dancing (at right) at our hotel in a village at the base of the mountain, Trojanovice.

hiking in the Beskydy MountainsGary's Photo Album of the Czech Countryside

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Na shledanou, Czech Republic. Dekuji for a wonderful time!

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┬ęGary and Donna Larson, Seattle, Washington. Modified Feb. 24, 2008.