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Guiri Guest Courtney is one of the co-founders of Guiri Guide in Madrid. While not having lived in Prague, she has visited on numerous occasions and therefore considers herself quite familiar with Prague 6 and the Old Town. Courtney, while loving Prague, has encountered more than a few things to share – from gems to hardships – that she feels would most benefit those without any knowledge of the Czech language (like her).

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I have been fortunate enough to visit Prague and the Czech Republic many times. Its pretty easy when your very close friends from University live there and happen to be great hosts. Whether they are happy hosts is the question though…as I often just invite myself. In any case I visit a lot and each time I arrive for a visit it has been on a plane.

The Prague Airport  - Ruzyne is a nice airport. It is decently small with a spattering of good duty free stores and mostly-on-time flights. I can’t complain about the waits I’ve had while checking into my flight or going through security. Its a rarity for me but Ruzyne is an airport that I really don’t mind traveling in or out of. That is, until they lose your luggage.

Last Christmas my husband and I spent the entire holiday in the Czech Republic. Due to winter storms we were lucky to have barely made our connecting flight. Upon arriving to Prague we went with a group of new friends who had also barely made the flight to the Lufthansa lost baggage counter to fill out our claim. This process was easy. The women working the counter spoke English and took us through the standard questions (describe your bag, what’s your address and phone number…etc). We gave over our friend’s local phone number and off we went…bagless.

We had been told our luggage would probably come on the next flight, which was a few hours later, and then immediately delivered to the place we were staying. At 10pm, we phoned the Lufthansa desk to check on the status of our bags and never got through. We tried again at 11pm and 12am. The next day, same thing…no answer. We verified the phone number and tried again. We tried the main Lufthansa number and they just redirected us to the no-answer number. Things began to get irritating. As mentioned, I was lucky enough to have a local call to speak in Czech and still we received no answers. Eventually we gave up and drove back to the airport.

Now listen close. I’ve heard of others having done this before  with our same success so follow these steps if you find yourself in my same predicament.

  1. Try to reach someone on the phone from the hotel or home: Definiately try to call and reach someone in the airport before making the trek back out to Ruzyne. Here is a list of handling companies and their contact information, don’t be afriad to try various numbers and request they patch you through to the right person. And NOTE: All lost baggage claims go to the same desk, no matter your airline. Phone:  +420 220 113 314, +420 220 113 321
  2. Call from within the airport: Once you arrive to the airport go to where passengers exit the baggage claim. As your facing the exit door you will see to the right, past the cafe, an assistance phone along the wall. This is the advised first point to attempt to reach someone to locate your luggage (which is more than likely sitting in baggage claim – not being delivered). Give them your claim number and story.
  3. Physically go to the airline office: If no one answers the phone, or you run into a language barrier, I’d advise you take the escalators upstairs to your designated airline offices. Employees in these offices will often speak English and can call the appropriate person to come meet you and [hopefully] take you into your bag or in the very least to an agent who can assist you with your situation.

For us, it took all three steps to get our things. Once we reached someone to let us into the baggage claim area we were able to locate and grab our bags (they had in fact arrived on the next flight, as promised. Just not delivered). I was so relieved and yet I thought about those people we came from Milan with…how would they get there things? I had no way of knowing. I have no doubt the baggage claim department was swamped that cold Christmas but I’ve heard of this happening other times and I want to let you know that you don’t have to give up. You just need to work a bit! There is no reason you have to begin your time in Prague without your things. The city is too great for those stresses.

Happy Travels!

DOX – Centre for Contemporary Art

May 26th, 2011 | Posted by Klaraz in Entertainment | Klara | What's Happening Prague - (Comments Off)

I absolutely love DOX.  It is located in the neighborhood of Holešovice, a former industrial neighborhood, but definitely up and coming area of town.  DOX has a mini-Tate like feel to it but definitely with it’s own unique characteristics.  There is really nothing else like it in Prague.  It’s the biggest private art gallery in town. The building is fantastic as a gallery showcase.  The bright white walls make you focus on art and not get distracted by anything else around. I especially love the terrace and its overall simplicity.

DOX aims to support the Czech modern art world but also presents international contemporary art, architecture and design.  Last year, I had the pleasure of seeing the exhibit of David Černý’s wonderful and controversial sculpture “Entropa.”  It was fantastic.  Every time I visit, I never leave disappointed.  There is always at least one exhibit that I fall in love with.

Blue Light Tonite

Recently, when I visited, I very much enjoyed the exhibit “Blue Light Tonite” by Alžběta Jungrová. The title of this exhibit is taken from a text message “BL TONITE?”, which used to be popular with regulars at the Blue Light bar in Prague.  The projects resulted in a series of photographs of these people, some of them well known, other not so much.  The portraits are just marvelous.

The design shop is also something not to be missed.  There is a selection of wonderful and unique products from Czech and foreign designers, books about art, design, and architecture.  After you are done visiting the gallery and design shop you can relax at the DOX café.

It is a must visit from anyone living in Prague or from abroad.  If you are ready to be inspired, DOX is a good start.

Poupětova 1, Praha 7
Mon 10.00 – 18.00
Tue closed
Wed–Fri 11.00 – 19.00
Sat–Sun 10.00 – 18.00

 

International Children’s Day

May 25th, 2011 | Posted by Klaraz in Entertainment | Klara | Lifestyle | What's Happening Prague - (Comments Off)

Children’s day is celebrated on various days in many places around the world, in particular to honor children.  Major global variations include the International Children’s Day on June 1 as adopted in the former Communist bloc countries, and a Universal Children’s Day on November 20, by United Nations.  It is also often celebrated on other days as well depending on the country.  Here in the Czech Republic, Children’s Days falls on June 1.

The International Children’s Day is said to have originated in Turkey in 1920 and later in Geneva, Switzerland in 1925.  There were two events that coincidently took place on the same day. The first was the World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva and at the same time the Chinese consul-general in San Francisco gathered a number of Chinese orphans to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival. Since both these incidents had the idea of child welfare at their core, 1st of June began to be celebrated as International children’s day thereafter.

Prague Zoo

In the Czech Republic, the International Children’s Day was celebrated as early as in the period of the First Republic of Czechoslovakia. The editorial staff of Květy České – the magazine founded by the Czech writer and dramatist J.K.Tyl in 1834 – dedicated one issue in a year to children and adolescents and later to children on the occasion of the International Children’s Day. At that time celebrations of the International Children’s Day were organized in the form of various performances and shows and were mostly held at schools; their form and extent depended on the approach of the particular teachers.

Since June 1 falls on a Wednesday this year, a lot of the celebrations are happening this weekend.  Here are a few tips that you can take your children for the special day:

Great Gorilla Run 2010

28.5    All Day       Prague Zoo (Prague 7)
Many children’s activities will be around the zoo all day.  Also sign up for the Great Gorilla Run, which is the first event of its kind in the Czech Republic. It is a charity event, which is focused on support for gorillas living in the wild.

29.5    10:00 – 21:30    Children’s Day @ Baba (Prague 6 –Hanspaulka)
Located in the neighborhood Baba, there will be many games and also starting at 17:00 the stage will open up to several local bands.

30.5    15:00   Jungle in Barrandov (Prague 5)
Here you will get to make your own animal mask.  Fun games and attractions await you!

1.6     10:30 – 14:00     National Musuem (Prague 1)
The museum will turn into a football stadium.  Children of all ages can compete in many different activities and win prizes.

3.6     10:00     Petynka Pool (Prague 6)
You can find all sort of fun in the pool or dry land.  Many workshops, games and activities.

Don’t let the kids have all the fun.  After all, there is a child in all of us.  I know I will come out and play :)

 

Photography Courses in Prague

May 24th, 2011 | Posted by Klaraz in Education | Klara | Lifestyle | What's Happening Prague - (Comments Off)

After moving to Prague I was searching for ways to meet new people by doing things I enjoy.  A few years back, I purchased my first “better” digital camera and since then I have not been able to put it down.  Although, photography is just a hobby for me I still wanted to learn more and improve my skills.  So I turned to the good ol’  Google for help.   Luckily I didn’t have to search long and found some courses pretty quickly at the Studio PvM, School of Photography.  The school offers many different courses in Czech and English.

My nephew at the studio

I decided to start with Photography I, which focuses on the basic knowledge of photography.  The class was held once a week for two months in the evenings, which was ideal for my schedule.  Although I knew some of the basics, there were still so many new things I discovered.  It really forced me think about so many factors with each shot I took.

I love taking photos of people, mainly my family and friends.  So a few months later I signed up for the Portraiture class.  The focus of this course was how to utilize different light sources, from natural light to artificial lights as well as advanced professional lighting techniques.  I loved this course and even got to shoot my nephew in the studio.

Recently I finished up with the Night Photography course.  I hate using my flash and always struggled to get great shots at night.  We didn’t just focus on your classy night scenes but as well as luminography and other creative and fun techniques.  I feel much more confident when it comes to my night shots these days.

Todd doing his thing @ the Night Photo course

I had the pleasure of having the same instructor for all the courses I took and let me just say that he is AWESOME!  Todd R. Forsgren made sure the class atmosphere was always very laid back and flexible.  Not only is he very knowledgeable about photography, but also a super talented photographer himself.  Sadly, he will be leaving Prague at the end of the summer so the new replacement will have some big shoes to fill :)

Whether you are just a casual picture snapper and want to improve your skills or if you want to take your already good skills to the next level, you are bound to find a course that will suit your needs at Studio PvM.  I certainly can see the difference in my photographs already :)

Happy shooting!

 

Today is the official start of the Main Draw of the FIVB Swatch World Tour in Prague.  Country Quota and Qualification games have now ended and the top 24 teams are going to battle it out in Stvanice Stadium until Sunday when the Gold and Bronze matches will be played.  Following up on the interview with Martin Tichý, from one of the Czech Republic’s top teams to watch, today you will meet the other half of this duo – Jan Dumek, a.k.a Honza.

Honza
 

Jan Dumek

 Birthdate:  13.4.1986
Birthplace: Turnov
Height: 186cm
Weight: 77kg
Status:  Single [For all single ladies - he's a great catch!]
Occupation:  Student – Fluid mechanics (Aerodynamic of volleyball) [and a smart one too!]
Sponsors: Husky, Phoenix Zeppelin, Oakley, UnderArmour, Worldclass, Nutrilite, Zempronex, Ideastav, Kmotra -pizzeria

How long have you played beach volleyball?

7 years

Why did you choose beach volleyball / how did you get to play beach volleyball?

We agreed with a friend from an indoor volleyball team that we would try it.  I was hooked right away, and when I went to University I gave beach volleyball preference over indoor volleyball.

How often do you practice and what does your training consist of?

5x a week technical practice in the sand and 2x a week in the weight room

Where and when did you play your first FIVB tournament?  How did you feel?

Staré Jablonki (POL) 2007, it was a bit intimidating, especially when I saw the best of the best all around me  – Emanuel, Ricardo (BRA) for example

Is it difficult to travel and play around the world?  It seems to be a dream job…

It’s not necessarily a “dream job” because after a few tournaments travelling gets old.  Frequent long flights or drives in the car are really tiring.  Financially it’s also very draining.

As a professional volleyball player and having played around the world, what do you think makes the Prague FIVB Swatch World Tour special / different from the other events?

Praha is one of the nicest tournaments on the tour – beautiful city and a unique arena, that is not comparable anywhere else in the world.  For us, it is special as it is a home tournament.

What is the atmosphere like “backstage”?  Do most of the teams hang out and practice together or do they keep to themselves?

Some of the teams do keep to themselves more (RUS), but overall the atmosphere is very relaxing – especially at the player’s party after the tournament.  During preparations, a lot of the teams try to fit in practices with each other.

What is your goal for this year’s Prague Open?

We want to play the best beach volleyball we can.  Show people that great beach volleyball is played here in the Czech Republic and promote the sport a bit more.  The only way to do that is with very good performance and an excellent result.

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