Monday, 28 November 2011

In Praise of Czech Windows

It has been freezing lately - see photographs of frost in my previous post - but my room is as they say in Britain 'toasty'.

One reason for this warmth is the wonder that is my wood-burning stove, of which I have blogged in the past. But another reason is Czech windows. In a Czech winter you need serious windows with serious double-glazing. The traditional windows in an old house like mine are made up of effectively two windows, each with its own handles, about four inches apart.

This arrangement has various advantages apart from keeping out the cold. One is that you can open the outer windows should you wish and leave the inner closed (or vice versa) which is useful for getting rid of condensation and cooling the place down a bit without having a breeze. Another is that you can put flowers in there - useful for deterring flies. And the last is that the space makes a brilliant fridge, allowing you to avoid having to go downstairs for the milk (see photograph above).

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Sometimes a Picture...

We have had freezing fog for two nights (-5 degrees yesterday early evening) which covered everything with sharp points of frost. Then this morning I woke to find the sun pouring through the windows. Under the warm sun the ice was already falling from the trees like snow, so I grabbed my camera and walked over the hill to Horice na Sumave. Here is a collection of photos from that walk. Half an hour when I returned it all melted away.






Friday, 18 November 2011

Calendar

I came across this calendar in a Czech second-hand bookshop or antikvariat. It dates back to 1975 and features the art of Cyril Bouda. Each month is decorated with traditional Czech scenes for the month in question. Above we see Cervenec (July) - note the delighted mushroom finder at the bottom and the woodsmen bringing a raft of logs down the river to the sawmills. In the centre is a list of name days for the month.  And below is Brezen (March) with easter celebrations, the traditional execution of winter and the arrival of the stork heralding spring.


What I love about the calendar is that it features both customs that still are alive and some traditions which have died out.

As for the artist: Cyril Bouda was one of the best Czech twentieth-century draftsmen and illustrators. A student of Kysela and Švabinský, he was famous for his illustrations (such as The Autobiography by Benvenuto Cellini or Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift) but he was also known for his tapestry designs. His motto was “Not a single day without a line”, attributed to Apelles, an ancient Greek painter and he kept to it, by the time he died in 1984 he had produced thousands of works of art. This means you can collect examples of his work relatively easily - why you could start with some of the 30+ stamps he designed!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

New Website

 

My apologies for not posting for a week or so. I have been very busy designing and creating a new website for my Czech holiday business. And inevitably it has taken longer than I thought - twice as long at least.

There are two reasons for the new website:
  • it became clear to me over the last year that in addition to my Czech Tours website I needed another to promote the Czech Republic as a tourism destination more widely as British people really don't know how wonderful the country is and what it has to offer
  • and to promote the other side of the business which I will be offering from 2012 - namely two-centre holidays in different towns right across the country and holiday cottages for rental. 
As a result the new website is very different from the Czech Tours one which basically offers the tours. The new site allows the visitor to explore by destination (ie by different areas of the Czech Republic or by town) or by accommodation type (hotel or country cottage) or by interest (eg cycling, natural history, arts and culture). 

The new website is on http://www.czechholiday.co.uk and already I am getting feedback along the line of "I never knew that the Czech Republic was so beautiful" which suggests that I am at least beginning to address the first of the issues.

Do please visit the website and give me your feedback - the email is on the site.

Thanks.

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