Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Deadly Translations

The other day I saw a strange McDonalds advertisement for Happy Meals. In big cheerful letters next to some cute animals, it proclaimed, "Die pets!" I was shocked that Happy Meals had become so violent, and it took me a minute to remember that I was in Germany, and "die" means "the." 
Ah...deadly translations.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


July 6:  Radhošť is one of the tallest mountains in our region, and famous as a spiritual spot.  Once upon a time it served as a sacred place of the pagan god Radegast.  Now a Christian chapel stands on the highest point, along with statues of Cyril and Methodius, who brought Christianity to the Slavic people and helped develop a written language.  Those who aren't religious still make the pilgrimage because of the history, the great views...and the blueberries.  When they're in season (this year starting in early July, but often later), you can pick so many you won't know what to do with.  Go prepared with containers.

Me picking blueberries on the walk from Pustevny to Radhošť:

My friend Katka and I at the statue of Cyril and Methodius:

The views:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Vsetínský Krpec--A Czech Folk Festival

The Vsetínský  Krpec is an International Folk Festival in the small town of Vsetín, in the eastern part of the Czech Republic.  Held every other year (on even years) the festival draws groups from nearby countries and even further.  This year one contingent came from South Korea.  The first year I saw it, they hosted dancers from Georgia (the former Soviet Republic, not the US state).

I love Czech folk dancing, and I've loved all the visitors too.  I had fun comparing styles and traditions.  This year my favorites were the Serbians:  so energetic, with such great music and nice costumes.  Here are a few pictures.

Members of various groups posing for a picture:

Polish dancers:

Serbian dancers:

If you want to go, here's the website:  The festival usually takes place at the end of June/beginning of July.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Awesome Czech Words with No Direct Translation

Aren't these Czech words great? 

Přiotrávit--to almost poison
Sezvánět--to call together with bells

"Přiotrávit" is is apparently more of the "Oops, I accidentally put the wrong mushrooms in this soup" as opposed to "Darn, I didn't put enough arsenic in his food" or "Wait, dear, don't drink that.  I do love you after all." 

"Sezvánět" isn't much in common usage anymore...but seriously, how beautiful would it be to call people together with bells?

I love words like these.    

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Kutna Hora Silvering Festival

Kutna Hora is a historic royal town in central Czech Republic.  At one time the town rivaled Prague in power and importance, chiefly because of the silver mines.  Now they have a medieval festival every year, where they pay homage to the role of silver.

A falconer--with the impressive and unique cathedral in the background:

The King and Queen with their entourage:

One of the many miner-related works of art in the cathedral (the man is wearing the traditional white robe of miners--which you can also wear to go on the awesome underground mine tour):

And, of course, Kutna Hora is also famous for its ossuary (also called the Bone Church).  Yes, these are real bones.  No, it's not as morbid as it seems:

If you want to go to the festival, which takes place every year in June, here's the website: 

It's also a great place to visit other times of the year.