25 January 2017

My Czech Family Vacation, Prologue

As I trudged out of the Prague airport terminal with my luggage, on a bright sunny morning last November, I spotted two of my brothers waiting in a van to pick me up. I was the straggler, arriving a week late to join my siblings and parents on our first ever whole family vacation.

You see, I'm the oldest of 5 kids. I'm 65 years old, and I'm 17 years older than my youngest brother, Richard. Some of us have traveled together in the past. We even had family vacations before Richard was born. But I left home for college shortly after Richard was born, and we never had a family trip with the 5 siblings and our parents.
At the Prague airport returning home, minus Jim who left earlier

The Czech Republic, really more specifically the region of Bohemia, is our ancestral homeland. All of us have been there in the past; just not all together. Our parents, who are now 88 and 85, traveled there twice a year for 20 years after they retired. One of my brothers, Jim, has an apartment there and lives there much of the time. Jim and another brother, Michael, were in Prague in November 1989 when the Velvet Revolution occurred.

My wife and I have been to the Czech Republic twice, both times before I started writing this blog. The first visit was during hers and my first ever European vacation in 1999. On that trip, we stayed one night with Jim. But since he lives in a suburb (Nebusice) and we prefer to stay in the center city, we moved to a pension after that first night. On our second trip in 2005, we went with my parents. We saw Jim again on that trip, but didn't stay with him. We also took a day trip to Plzen. After I got this blog started, some friends asked about recommendations for Prague. So I wrote a post about those two trips. Click here to read it.

As my parents got older, they eventually quit traveling overseas. So it occurred to Michael and my sister, Joan that they might appreciate taking a trip where they didn't have to worry about the nitty-gritty details. Joan and Mike started to plan the trip and picked a time when Jim would be in Prague. As the plans developed, Richard said he'd like to go too. So now everyone was going to be on the trip except me. 

Unfortunately, on the dates they picked, I already had a trip planned with my wife, and I could not cancel out of it. (That was the trip to California that I wrote about in December. Click here and here to read about that trip.)

And so it was that I flew home from California on the last Sunday of October and the next day left for Prague. Obviously, it's taken me quite a while to figure out how to write about this trip. I think this is the first time in 42 years that I've taken a vacation without my wife. We always plan our trips together. But for this trip, Joan and Michael (and my Mom) did most of the planning. I finally decided to divide the trip into three posts. The first post covers our day trips from Prague. The second post covers an overnight trip we took to Moravia at the far eastern end of the Czech Republic. The third post covers the final day of the trip, the only day I went into Prague.

If you don't want to bother reading the other posts, you can look at a Facebook album I posted after the trip. It's got some commentary along with the photos. Click here.

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