6-15-17 It’s Thursday and we are OUT of the house

Yes, we have vacated our home and are staying friends for a few days.  This lets the painters get in there and do their magic to the inside of the house for potential renters.  Janeen has a couple more doctor’s appointments (Friday and Tuesday AM and once she is ‘cleared’ we are OUT OF HERE!

6-13-17 In a Week….

Yes, in about a week – seven days – we head out.  So, over the last several months we have:  held a giant garage sale; unloaded lots of stuff to various charities; stored a bunch of stuff in various places; moved a LOT of wine from our on-site storage to off-site storage for duration; been to various doctors to get check ups (including a total Knee replacement for David); had the exterior of the house painted; termite work done; and general done everything except leave. Over the next two days we complete vacating the house so painters can come in and paint the interior of the place and next week our property manager will start showing it for rental. For a few days we will be staying with our friends the Bells so we can do final packing of the car and check on the painters.

So stay tuned as we head out for our Gap Year Adventure.


6-8-17 It’s actually happening

After talking about it for 6 months, the plans are coming together – the first being moving out of our home so it can be rented.  The last couple of weeks have resulted in empty rooms, boxes in storage and lots of items leaving.  Today is the 9th of June – next week the painters come in to spruce up the place and on the 21st or 22nd we leave…

6-6-27 The Clock Continues to wind down to departure

Over the last few days we have continued to pack up the house and make plans for our departure.  Right now we will be out of the house by the 15th of June and stay with some friends for a few days while the painters work on the inside of the house.  Once everything is complete and all the boxes we need stored have been locked away we will get into our car and head NORTH.  The first stop will be in Morro Bay and from there on to Cupertino.

So, stay tuned as the head out on our Adventure.

6-3-17 – 17 days to lift off

Work continues in our efforts to move out of our house.  Boxes have been filled and stored, furniture moved to the garage, address change submitted and packing for our trip is underway.  Over the next 2 weeks, we will be fully out of our home and getting the interior painted for new renters; have paced the car to make sure everything fits and finally stayed with friends for a few days.  First stop, Morro Bay to visit with our friend Clauda.  From there further north to Cupertino and various spots around SF Bay.  Lots more coming folks so stay tuned.


5-30-17 Counting the days

Right now, our plan is to be on the road around June 20th!  Before that, however, there are lot of boxes to pack, items to be tossed and  slew of other things to be able to hit the road.  So, stay tuned as we head out on our ‘gap year’ adventure.

4-10-18 – It all starts in July 2017

Starting in July we head out for our ‘gap year’ adventure which includes spending time in Oregon, driving across the country to Virginia, flying to Portugal for a river cruise, flying to Sttutgart Germany to pick up a new Mercedes-Benz and driving south throughout Italy before dropping the car of for shipment to Virginia.   Tag along via this blog to see what happens.

06-27-16 & 6-28-16 The end….

The 27th was a relaxing day of doing just about nothing.  We did spend some time visiting a couple of shops and packing but beyond that nothing major for sure.  Nice to have a relaxing day prior to flying home.

On the 28th, our driver picked us up and we headed to the airport.  After departing Prague we flew via Amsterdam back to LAX – resulting in being ‘awake’ for 24 hours.  It was a great trip and there are parts I can certainly see going back to for more adventures.  If you have followed along throughout our trip – I hope you enjoyed it.  We had a great time and are already looking forward to our next trip in September 2017!

David & Janeen

06-26-16 Kutna Hora, The Ossuary and several Castles and Churches

In 1278, Henry, the  abbot of the Cistercian monastery  in Sedlec, was sent to the Holy Land by King Otakar II of Bohemia. He returned with him a small amount of earth he had removed from Golgotha and sprinkled it over the abbey cemetery. The word of this pious act soon spread and the cemetery in Sedlec became a desirable burial site throughout Central Europe. In the mid 14th century, during the Black Death, and after the Hussite Wars in the early 15th century, many thousands were buried in the abbey cemetery, so it had to be greatly enlarged. Around 1400, a Gothic church was built in the center of the cemetery with a vaulted upper level and a lower chapel to be used as an ossuary for the mass graves unearthed during construction, or simply slated for demolition to make room for new burials. In 1870, František Rint, a woodcarver, was employed by the Schwarzenberg family to put the bone heaps into order, yielding a macabre result.

Kunta Hora - Ossuary coat of arms us 1
Standing in front of the Coat of Arms of the Schwarzenberg family
Kunta Hora - Ossuary 7
1870 the Date František Rint did the work in the Ossuary.

Kunta Hora - Ossuary 1 Kunta Hora - Ossuary 2 Kunta Hora - Ossuary 15

A visit to this Ossuary is a bit macabre what with all the bones around – many in piles, many in decorative forms – actually a little creepy.

Kunta Hora - Ossuary 6 Kunta Hora - Ossuary 10

After our visit, we walked over to the Sedlec – the first Cisterican monastery in Bohemia – founded in 1142.  An unusual feature is the ability to walk above the vaulted ceilings in the attic and see some of the construction required.

Kunta Hora - Church Inside
Monastery Church of the Virgin Mary – Santini’s vaulting
Kunta Hora - Church 1
Entrance to the Church
Kunta Hora - Church alter 1
Alter dedicated to Saint Mary.

On either side of the Alter were two glass cases hold the Relics of two saints – on the left is St. Vincent – Martyr of ancient room donated by Pope Benedict XIV on the occasion of the 600th anniversary of monastery foundation.

Kunta Hora - Church relix right side
Relics of St. Vincent
Kunta Hora - Church view under roof 3
Looking down at the top of the brick supporting of the Arch along the side of the Church.
Kunta Hora - Church view under roof 5
Beams and framework holding up the roof of the Church.

Another church in town is the Cathedral of St. Barbora.  Around the courtyard of the church was a medieval style fair happening with people in costume and period games and entertainment being performed.  We didn’t join in as it was rather cool and looking like rain.  However, we did venture into the Cathedral for a look around.

Kunta Hora - St Barbory inside miner
Silver mining was huge – this depicts what the average miner might have worn while working the mines.
St. Barbora Orgin dl
Very fancy pipe organ.

Kunta Hora - St Barbory side of church1  Kunta Hora - St Barbory inside Kunta Hora - St Barbory inside Side chaples Kunta Hora - St Barbory inside 2 St. Barbora stainglass dl  After a delightful lunch with Ilona, Kunta Hora - Lunch we heading out for more Castle visits.

One more stop for the day was to was to Konopiste.  This Castle had been modified many times ultimately being purchased by Franz Ferdinand d’Este  in 1887.  At the time, he was the richest member of the Habsburg family at the time and at 21 started to make over this Castle to his liking.  Franz was not considered to be a candidate for succession to the throne but that all changed when the King’s brother died of typhus in 1896.  Even with this possibility, he married Sophie Chotek – who was not considered of high enough birth to be present at the court of the King.  Regardless, Franz was in love and they married and lived mostly in Konopiste only visiting Vienna when required to do so.  The castle was modernized during the early 1900’s with electricity and additional bathrooms being installed.

Konopiste side dl  Konopiste exterior dl

The Castle had a large park around it – all the result of Franz buying up everything around and tearing down all the buildings including a small village.  Within the grounds he established various hunting areas, a pond, gardens and all related items to support his luxury lifestyle.

At the moat, just around the Castle, there were kept several bears – still to this day they are present.

Konopiste Beer Pit bear

Don't feed the Bears
Don’t feed the Bears

We didn’t tour the Castle as the last tour was being done in the Czeck language – didn’t think we could following along.

Konopiste interior dl  game on wall
Franz liked to hunt – all over the world.
Konopiste interior dl armor
Hugh collection of armor.

Konopiste interior dl

After walking around a bit, Janeen went to the Gardens of course.

Konopiste garden dl Konopiste peacock jpl 4 Konopiste greenhouse jpl 2

This Castle is significant as the Seat of power for Franz Ferdinand, the successor to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife Sophie.  When they were assassinated in 1914 it participated the start of World War I.


06-25-16 A guided Tour outside of town

Prior to leaving for this trip, I had arranged a guide to take us out of Prague and into some of the historical sites.  We were picked up by Ilona and her husband, Peter,  who acted as the driver and off we went.

The first stop was to Český Krumlov Castle located about 2 ½ hours outside of Prague. The Castle dates back to 1240 when the first castle was built by the Witigonen family, the main branch of the powerful Rosenberg family. For the next several hundred years it pass through a number of Noble families ultimately passing to the Schwarzenbergs. After WW II it ultimately became a property of the Czech government. The entire area, castle, village and surround areas, were declared a national monument in 1989 and in 1992 it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

We started our tour in the gardens of the castle at the top of the hill   Day Trip Cesky Krumlov Castle Garden JPL  and walked through several squares ultimately getting to the main gate of the castle and into the town. Along the way we had beautiful views of the river, the village and the surround buildings.

Day Trip Cesky Krumlov Castle Overlook of river 3

With each square there were interesting sites to see – faux windows and doors on the walls, Day Trip Cesky Krumlov Castle view courtyard crests Day Trip Cesky Krumlov Castle view courtyard wall at corner Day Trip Cesky Krumlov Castle view courtyard  representations of the coat of arms of the Rosenberg family and historical objects like rock cannon balls.  Interior shots of the Castle show how richly appointed all the rooms are.

The Theatre stage inside the Castle

Český Krumlov Castle Masquerade Hall    Český Krumlov Castle Masquerade Hall 1    Cesky Krumlov Salon

Rock canon balls
Rock canon balls

After leaving the castle we walked through a portion of the village and across a bridge to the main section.

Day Trip Cesky Krumlov Outside village street 6
Note the design on face of this building.
Day Trip Cesky Krumlov Outside castle red gate
The Red Gate – entrance to the Castle.

The village has winding small cobblestone streets lined with shops, restaurants and open areas – squares. We walked to an over look to look back at the castle and through the church.    Day Trip Cesky Krumlov church

Day Trip Cesky Krumlov Outside village street rocks at corners 1  Note the stones at the corner of the buildings.  This was to protect them from horse and carriage impacts.

View of Cesky Krumlov Castle from the village
View of Cesky Krumlov Castle from the village
Day Trip Cesky Krumlov water wheel
Old mill and water wheel.
Day Trip Cesky Krumlov Outside village street rocks at corners
Corner guards at buildings.

After a lunch of local fare  Day Trip Cesky Krumlov lunch main dish   we headed back to the car to continue our adventure.   Day Trip Cesky Krumlov castle arches and walkways  This view of the castle shows the walkways created to separate various levels of society.  The top level was for the Noble’s to walk from the Castle to the gardens, the middle level was for servants and the lower level was for access to the Theatre from the Castle.

After connecting with Peter, we drove to České Budějovice for a quick tour around the square with it’s impressive buildings.  Day Trip Cesky Krumlov bridge overlook us 2 Day trip České Budějovice square Day trip České Budějovice square 9 Day trip České Budějovice square 7

Budějovice has long been well known for the beer brewed there since the 13th century. For a time, the town was the imperial brewery for the Holy Roman Emperor, and Budweiser Bier (i.e. beer from Budweis) became, along with Pilsner from Plzeň, one of the best-known lagers. Brewing remains a major industry. This is the town that the American brewer took the name for Budweiser Beer

From here we went on to Hluboka Castle.   This historic chateau and is considered to be one of the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic. In the second half of the 13th century, a castle was built at this location and rebult several times over the years. Finally being modified into it’s current form by Adam Franz von Schwarzenberg in the beginning of the 18th century. It is in the romantic style of England’s Windsor Castle. The owner fled the country in 1939 to escape from the Nazis.  day trip Castle ala winsor day trip Castle ala winsor us at entrance day trip Castle ala winsor outside day trip Castle ala winsor garden jpl 2 day trip Castle ala winsor garden 6

Today’s adventures were all south of Prague.  Tomorrow we head east to see other sites not normally on the common tour route.