my latest book: “A Heritage Journey”
I have just published my travelogue of 3 months in the Czech Republic …
This is the story of my 70 day adventure in the Czech Republic, with 20 days in Dresden, Germany in between. I went in the summer of 2006. Sure, I was a tourist, but I was more. I was visiting cousins that I had met before. I was a speaker at a history conference. I was on a mission to vastly improve my Czech speaking skills. I went to see the land of my heritage, the land from where my four grandparents came from. I wasn’t going to be in a tour group, seeing the sights from inside a bus, or following someone holding a banner. I was going to wander around by myself, and go meet people, and I met dozens. I went without much of a plan. I knew I would go to different cities, but I didn’t pay attention to any details about where I was going to stay or what I would do. In each new place I just winged it. I went, and then figured it out. All while speaking a passable Czech. I didn’t even have a guidebook. I knew the cities I wanted to go to. And from a lifetime in a recently arrived Czech family to America I had a fair idea of what there was to see. All my life I had seen photographs and paintings of these places. Now I was off to see them in person. I had wanted to go for decades, time and money conspired against me, now they came together.
My home base would be my cousin’s house in the Hlubocepy section of Prague. My watering hole would be the small neighborhood bar they operated in their basement. I would head out from there to different cities, then return for a bit, then go out again. My cousins don’t speak a word of English, so it was going to be interesting to be totally immersed in Czech. I would be meeting a few dozen family members on both my mother’s and father’s side of the family. In the middle of it all I would take two short trips to Dresden to see a friend I knew from New Orleans, and speak some English. Along the way I would finish my book on the Czechs and Slovaks of Louisiana. And all the while I would be visiting castles, palaces, churches, museums and historic sites. It was such an active trip I exhausted myself, and even had a significant medical problem. But well, I made it through, and now this is the story of the adventure of a lifetime.
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