Irregular Post; Terezin

An hour or so from Prague is the small town of Terezin.  It is not a pretty Czech town; no quaint picturesque buildings with red tile roofs.  In Hapsburg times, late 18th century, it was a town with a fortress near the confluence of the Ohre and Elbe Rivers.   In World War I, the fortress was a prison camp.  In World War II, the Gestapo evacuated the entire civilian population.  The town became garrison for the Gestapo and the fortress was made into a concentration camp for POW hard cases, political prisoners, and Jews.  155,000 people were held there. Prisoners worked in nearby industry as slave labor.  When 88,000 could no longer provide useful work, they were sent to Auschwitz where they went directly into one of the gas chambers that looked like the shower room at Terezin.  33,000 died at Terezin; their ashes were eventually dumped into the Ohre River to hide the evidence as the Russians liberated the camp in May 1945. It was over 90F when the bus dropped us off at 10 AM in front the Museum in Terezin. The last return bus would be at 3 PM; five hours to get a feel for this place.  We passed the tracks that the prisoners built so the nearby town would not see the train unload the prisoners and then walk to the camp.   We, and the prisoners, walked by this apartment/garrison on the way to camp.   Everyone was greeted and processed here before entering the camp gate. All concentration camps had this welcome sign.   No heat in winter, no light, no open window,...

Irregular Posts: Cesky Krumlov

Wednesday, July 4, 2012; Prague Dobry Den, Down the subway escalator with the Tuesday morning commuters.  The point of view was disorienting; a 25 degree incline moving at speed while the tiles on the wall are actually vertical.  People look like they are falling over as the move by on the opposite side.  It is best to look at the end of the escalator for stability. On Tuesday we were off on an overnight to Cesky Krumlov.  It took a long train ride to the outskirts of the city to board the bus ride for a three-hour ride to the popular tourist town in Bavaria. The bus ride was very pleasant as it sped through the countryside.  Fields of wheat and rye, and corn, and hay-grass spread out between farms and villages.  We arrived about noon.  Carrying only camera and a day pack, we walked from the station over the Vitalva River to the old town.  On the hill across the river we could see the Castle rising above the town’s red tile roofs. It sits high on a rock cliff overlooking the river valley below.  In the humid heat, another thunderstorm arrived.  We had made it to the shelter of a balcony overhang in the village square.   Crowds of visitors and locals huddled in doorways, and under awnings, and overhangs with their umbrellas waiting for the deluge to stop. In a light rain, we headed down the narrow cobbled street and into the door of our B&B.  Our room was small and comfortable overlooking the narrow side street.  We had our late lunch as we talked to our...

Irregular Posts; Prague, Monday

Monday July 2, 2012, Prague Chilling in the afternoon.  Too many people out in the streets and the light is not right to shoot.  So, we are resting after three hours of morning meandering and shooting, and then a three hour “Free Tour” in English (the guide’s pay is the tip that you give).  Question; What is an appropriate tip for three hours of informative walking and information about this beautiful city? Our afternoon lunch is a mix:  rolls and hard boiled eggs from breakfast, a bag of rosemary flavored potato chips, two Radlers.  What? Radlers?  Like the snakes??  Nope.  Thinks sangria but instead use a light beer with the fruit flavor.  We are trying the orange one, as well as the lemon one.  Both are pretty good with a slight bitter taste that reminds me of Seville oranges.  Last night we had a “grep” one.  I think that was a pink grapefruit!! flavor in the beer.  Refreshing 2% alcohol, and thirst quenching – not sweet like soda, not heavy like beer, not heavily carbonated either. We are in a small hotel in Old Town.  Last night before going out to watch futbol, we ate dinner here.  The restaurant is run by a young couple; she from Toronto and he, the chef, from Czech Republic.  He loves Italian seafood and is trying to bring it into a meat oriented culture.  We had a seafood platter.  No, not a fried bit there.  It was a 12×12 inch plate covered with poached and steamed; calamari, mussel, tiny clams, shrimp, “crawfish”, and mullet.  Some red pepper rounds, julienned  carrot, celery, and asparagus. ...