• Autumn,  Czech Republic,  Herbalism,  Lifestyle

    Mushroom Foraging on St. Wenceslas Day

    “Our Czech forests are overflowing with mushrooms.” — an actual line from a local news report St. Wenceslas Day (Sv. Václav) is one of my favorite Czech holidays. It’s right after the official turn to autumn, the school year’s right about to get into the usual swing except for this last holiday weekend to enjoy the simpler things about the start of the season. Normally, I like to visit some sort of happening to watch folk-dancing, browse the craft markets, have a glass of wine or if I’m lucky, burčák (Federweisser aka “fermented alcoholic grape juice” – a wine byproduct). I had every intention of doing that as we started…

  • Summer

    find your spring bliss {south bohemia easter hiking weekend}

    hi all, i hope you had a nice easter! it’s our tradition to go on a trip every easter (as here in the czech republic, we have a nice long four day weekend – five if you’re lucky!) and as this year it fell deliciously late into the season, we opted for another countryside hiking trip. last year’s trip was much too cold and bleak, and this year, all i wanted was sun and relaxation with a bit of hiking, which led us to the czech/austrian borderlands, basing ourselves in vyšší brod, a kilometer or two from the border. we had been to vyšší brod once before as we started…

  • Summer

    the first spring days

    i think many people feel the need after a long winter cooped up at home to seize those first beautiful warm early spring days and do something to make the most out of them! i sure do. last weekend, we had our annual garden day which involved me carrying some new plants and pots home in a big red basket and alex hauling a gigantic bag of soil over his shoulder, walking home from the garden center. (side note: we are still perfectly happy not having a car here in europe, even after trips like this! really.) i still haven’t planted my seedlings but with the lighter evenings and daylight…

  • Summer

    autumn leaves

    beautiful fall weekends are here! after last weekend in which we were mostly hanging around budejovice, i very much wished to get out of the city this weekend and enjoy the beautiful foliage this time of year. alex suggested popping over to třeboň for the day to walk around svět lake – it’s such a nice walk, and it occurred to me that i had never been there in the autumn before. in fact, the last time we even walked around the lake was over five years ago! those times that we were scrambling every weekend to see as much as the area as we could, thinking we could be…

  • Summer

    10 reasons why i (still!) live in the czech republic

    in the midst of on-going visa strife, i thought i would talk a little about the reasons why i like living in the czech republic. it’s bittersweet to post this today because i’m having a pretty low day in terms of my optimism. when no one can give you any definitive answers whether or not what you’ve submitted in your visa reapplication is good enough, it makes my mind do crazy things. i’m feeling a little numb, to be quite honest. what i wouldn’t give to have another visa card like the one (above) from a couple years ago. that funny time that i was given a large box of…

  • Summer

    goodbye to winter

    last weekend, we had the final snowy and sub-zero temperatures of the winter. as winter isn’t quite over yet, it seems rather presumptuous to assert this, but a good look at the ten day forecast gives me reason to believe that the spring rumblings have officially begun. so what better than to do all the best winter things?after waking up in flannel sheets with doggie cuddles and a long leisurely breakfast of omelettes, we headed out to buy ice skates. as this was the last cold weekend and the rivers (malše & vltava) had frozen, i was darn well going to get myself ice skates as i had promised myself…

  • Summer

    lately, september

    when you have too much to write about and get behind with recording life’s happenings that you just don’t even know where to start anymore so you don’t post. sound familiar? well, it’s finally  time to talk about september & all recent life things here in south bohemia! it’s clear to me now from my post earlier this month that i was hur-ting. still getting over a serious bout of homesickness involved with leaving washington, i was not over it. it took about two weeks or so but everything found itself back to normal here in budejovice. fortunately early september brings fun markets and happenings like the annual vltava žije…

  • Summer

    of czechs & germans (a short history)

    lovers of european history, i’m calling on you today!  the town i live in may be called czechimpossibletosay české budějovice, but it used to just be known as budějovice or budweis for decades, especially in the 19th century when czechs and germans lived side-by-side and it didn’t really matter who was a czech and who was a german. people here at that time just considered themselves “budweisers”.* although rifts were there at the end of the 19th century, it wasn’t until after the first world war which brought about the end of the austrian-hungarian empire and the creation of the czechoslovak state that the division started rapidly deepening, although from the…

  • Summer

    july things

    hello all! i’ve been a bit of a summer camp haze for a little while, but i got up today and realized that it is july twentieth and it weirded me out a lot. my favorite month full of all thing summer and fun is flying by!  you know what i got up to at the very beginning of the month, in karlovy vary! i spent an uneventful independence day (because, let’s be honest, it’s usually not so much fun abroad unless you’re traveling or at some kind of expat party). although, one of my favorite fourth of julys so far was spent nine years ago in switzerland at a…

  • Summer

    bohemian forest, pt. II

    three years ago, we spent our annual easter trip in šumava national forest (also known to german speakers as böhmerwald, bohemian forest). it was a simple hiking holiday where we stayed near lake lipno in a cheerful pension with a terrace and was so sore from all that wandering. isn’t it funny that sometimes the simpler trips can turn into the best ones? we’ve been talking for the past three years about what a nice time that was, and so thought it was time to reprise it this year. šumava is a big place. it is a huge protected forest area extending from the south at the austrian border near…