Near Tisovec

Taking a break from the narration of my days spent in Germany and Prague (mainly because my expectations for the next post are rather high and I am still editing), I return to a small trip I took a few months ago.

In late January, I went on a business trip with my host father for the first time. He and a German coworker were visiting a firm in the small Slovak town of Tisovec. Before they attend to their work, I was dropped off in a small valley among the mountains. There I explored, hiking the hills and stopping for lunch at a nearby Koliba. Koliba are traditional Slovak restaurants, usually decorated with items from folk life. There is something romantic in being served aromatic food on wooden platters, among the tools and art of long ago. Especially when the waiters and chefs are all garbed in folk costume and traditional music plays in the background.

It was a pleasant trip and I definitely hope to return once the weather is better for hiking. The mist shrouded mountains were haunting and bore a completely different air than the grand High Tatras. That is the amazing thing about Slovakia. You can drive across the country in less than a day, but you will see more than that amount of travel will show you most elsewhere.


Prague Day 2: The Modern Art Museum & My Host Family

It just so happened that one of my dearest exchange friends, who lives in the Czech Republic, was on a trip in Prague with her class while I was visiting the city! We have only seen each other a few times since we first met at the Rotary Youth Exchange Orientation in Ohio last Summer, and I was desperate to spend some more time with her. It isn’t often these days that I am able to just relax and chat with such a like-minded person in both opinions and disposition. We met in the afternoon, toured the city a little, and stopped at a quiet cafe for conversation and tea. We were only together shortly—she had plans to attend a performance at the National Theatre with her schoolmates—yet it was definitely one of the highlights of my trip.


However, my friend and I did not meet until that afternoon and I couldn’t think of a place to satisfyingly spend the morning. Many of the attractions on my itinerary were full-day affairs and I wasn’t familiar enough with Prague to know of something which could be done in just a few short hours. (Well, aside from walking more of the city’s beautiful streets… which my poor feet had had quite enough of the day before.) At a loss, I sought the help of my host aunt. A quick call with her recommended to me to the Kampa Museum of Modern Art. A lovely gallery, and a relatively short trip, it sits on the banks of the Vlatava River, surrounded by artistic oddities and one particularly historic landmark.

The Lennon Wall began when some anonymous Czech first painted the face of John Lennon on its surface in the early 1980s. The nation’s youth, dissatisfied with the communist government which controlled Czechoslovakia, latched onto this symbol of freedom and began to express their frustrations onto this makeshift canvas. Even if the wall was painted over, the graffiti would continue to appear, speaking the resolve that the Czechs felt in pursuit of freedom. To this day, the Lennon Wall is constantly compounded with new art, an evolving mural that has kept with the times since that first Lennon—now long buried beneath layers of paint. The following photos were taken throughout the site’s history;

My host cousin Max and I have a special relationship. I feed him the food from my plate and in exchange he gives me his friendship.

With that my day has been described, but I want to take this opportunity to thank my host uncle and aunt for all the things they did for me. They lovingly took me into their home for an entire week, made me a part of their family and paid for a whole lot more than they should’ve. I couldn’t have felt more at home with people I have known for years! My uncle, aunt, and their children were better hosts than I could ever deserve, and I look forward to visiting their lovely family in the future. Thank you for making my stay in Prague absolutely magical.


My Introduction to Prague

We arrived in Prague on the doorstep of my host uncle’s apartment. Built into a hillside which overlooked city center, the flat boasted a large terrace and afforded a spectacular view of the city. It was situated at the heart of the community Kobylisy and the subway station and tram stops there granted convenient access to the entirety of Prague. However, the entirety of Prague is a very large area and I was intimidated by the task of navigating it alone. Whether she meant to or not, my host aunt dispelled this fear in the most unorthodox of ways. She sent her kids to show me around.

I don’t mean we walked around the neighborhood and back. No, just before dusk on that first night, my eleven and eight year-old host cousins, young brother and I were sent to buy bread from a nearby bakery and to visit a park a quarter of the way across the city! The boys took me to the metro station where the bakery was located, showed me how to purchase tickets for the subway, bus and tram systems, then dragged me back onto the streets above. We caught a tram and rode it for several minutes until we reached a large park, which brimmed with streams and lakes. The temperature in Prague was frigidly below average and these small bodies of water were largely frozen over.

My three charges ran and slid and jumped carelessly all over the ice. I remember what it was like to be a young boy, so I could understand and didn’t want to spoil their fun. Yet, as the present adult, I suffered a small heart-attack every time the ice cracked. I was relieved when we finally returned to the tram. What a first impression that would have been! To step through the front door, carrying the half frozen form of one of my host cousins.

My host family spent that night in Prague, but departed the next morning for Slovakia. That left me in one of Europe’s greatest cities for the next seven days. What an opportunity… I simply had to see it all!

Image result for velvet revolution keysOn the subway the next morning, headed for the historic Wenceslas Square, my host aunt explained how to get around the city, what sites to see, what to do in case of an emergency and so on. When we reached the square, her lecture shifted from my well-being to the history of Prague. She recalled when her 12 year-old self had sat on her father’s shoulders, amid tens of thousands of then Czechoslovak citizens all jingling their keys and demanding the end of communism. As a result, just weeks later, the journalist, playwright and activist Vaclav Havel (above) would be elected president on December 29th, 1989 and begin Czechoslovakia’s first real foray into democratic government since the Nazis invaded in the 1930s.

Exiting Wenceslas Square, my aunt showed me to the tower which marked the entrance into Prague’s old town then left me to explore on my own. I spent the rest of the day wandering where I could, from grand squares to empty side streets. I have a method when it comes to traversing old European cities. Get lost. Just keep turning until you no longer have any way of orienting yourself. Then sit down at a cafe and enjoy the atmosphere. It is when you are lost that you find the places where they speak to you in the native language first and where you can watch local people go about their daily lives.

Large cities like Prague are designed to funnel tourists down the same avenues, to the same restaurants, shops and sites. These aren’t the places you find local spirit. Most of the people aren’t Czech and most of the things you will encounter are Americanized, so that we [Americans, as well as Canadians, Brits etc.] feel more at home while we travel, as odd as that might seem.

I managed to get lost wonderfully that first day in the city. After visiting Prague castle, I decided to return to Charles’ Bridge a different way than I had come. Climbing down the opposite side of the hill, I briefly passed through what looked to be a small business or government district of sorts. I walked a bit farther and the buildings suddenly parted onto a beautiful park—or what I assumed would be beautiful in the spring and summer months. This space was filled with hundreds of dormant trees, all laid out in the tell-tale array of an orchard. I walked beneath the barren boughs, to the opposite end of the park, wondering if there was another exit or if I would have to return to where I started.

As it happened, I discovered one of the most charming roads I have yet encountered in Europe. The winding cobblestone street snaked up the hills, lined first by crumbling brick and plaster walls the color of aged parchment, then by various classical homes and buildings behind the barriers. I mourn that my camera was not ready to catch the moment, for, as I paced down this enchanting boulevard, a nun stepped out of a wooden door set into the wall and glanced up at me. With the cityscape of Prague in the background, this would have made for a stunning shot. Alas, she turned and began briskly jogging down the road, black garments fluttering through the cold air behind her.

Still following this path, I encountered more and more people, though the majority remained local. I ended up in an area dominated by multiple foreign embassies. I walked past waving flags from across the world: Italy, Germany, Sweden and numerous others I couldn’t exactly place. The final one that I passed just happened to be the US embassy—immediately beyond it, the roads filled with tourists again… go figure.

That just about concludes my first day in Prague. It is a wonderful city and I hope that I get to return in fairer weather. There are many other destinations across Europe that I desire to visit, but I don’t know if I can return to the USA without seeing the “Golden City of a Hundred Spires” once more.



If you have read my previous post on Nuremberg, then you pretty much know the story of my trip to Regensburg as well. That is not to say it was redundant or boring! In fact, I enjoyed touring this Bavarian city just as much as the last! The similarity was in the fact that my family continued their trend from the previous day; short walk, cafe, shorter walk, restaurant and so on.

Regensburg is a very old city. Long before the Romans would set up a fort at the location in the year 90, it was known to ancient Celtic tribes as Radasbona. Since the Roman takeover, its history has been illustrious. Regensburg was home to bishops, royalty, and trading superpowers. The old city center is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany.

There was no in-between of shadow and light when I visited Regensburg. The sun seemed to shine with strength I’ve never known, though likely the cloudy Tatra winter just had me underexposed. It was often too bright to look down open streets and always inconveniently contrasty for photos, but I forgot about these detriments entirely as I enjoyed the sun on my face for the first time in what felt like an eternal winter.

Ethereally presiding over the city and instilling disbelief, the spires of Saint Peter’s Church appeared almost weightless and glowing in the bright sun. I can not imagine how the laborers and craftsmen who built this cathedral managed such an engineering feat without modern equipment. To haul stone all the way up there and set it intricately at such a height… it is no wonder construction took over 600 years! I encourage you to look closely at the photo and appreciate the almost lace-like quality of the steeple.

After I spent a bit of time exploring the old town alone, I rejoined my host family and their friend for lunch. We dined at an extremely nice restaurant. In decor at least, it seemed a palace! We sat in heavy wooden chairs, surrounded by fine rugs, artwork and floral arrangements. The food was distinctly German, but had a refined sense about it… at least compared to the wooden platter of sausages and mustard I’d eaten previous day.  I had to sneak a photo of the place. I doubt the management would have minded, but I didn’t want to disturb anyone’s meal.

Regensburg was a nice trip, short like Nuremberg before it, but, as I look back now, that was for the best. A few slow days of actual vacation were welcome respite before the intense week of exploring the laid ahead of me. The following seven days, I spent in Prague! Each one of them, I will cover in the following few weeks.



My endearingly stereotypical Slovak family seemed in little rush to see the plentiful sights of Nuremberg. Beneath spires and a castle, over the Pegnitz river and cobblestone streets, they elected to sit and experience the soul of the city… in their own way. In bars and cafes. I was granted freedom to explore, so it was no detriment to me, but I still chuckle at their predictably Slovak behavior.

I never expected my family to take as obsessive an interest in Germany as I did. While it’s an entirely different nation, it is still Europe and not nearly as fascinating to a Slovak as I find it. Nonetheless, as 11 o’clock came and went and we had still to leave the city of Freystadt where we were staying, I got a bit antsy. My parents and a Slovak friend of theirs who lives in the town, relaxed around a table of sweets and steaming coffee mugs for over an hour and a half before finally departing.

At noon, we finally walked out of their friend’s apartment. He would be accompanying us for the day, as tour guide and fluent speaker of German. His offer to drive us there—appealing at first as I marveled as his fierce, red Ford GT—proved to be one of my most uncomfortable travel experiences ever. The two towering Slavic men sat in front, their seats rolled back as far as they could go and still cramping their legs! That put my petite host mother and I in back. She fit perfectly and seemed comfortable the entire way… Average-build me, on the other hand, almost had to do the splits to fit my legs behind the seat in front of me and there simply was not room for my head! As it happened, I spent the following thirty minute drive with my head either resting on my shoulder or lying against the back dash, staring up at the sky through the rear window.

Once in the city, our first stop was the 14th century Schöner Brunnen fountain. This structure, shimmering, golden, and looking quite like the spire of a cathedral, climbs over over the market stalls which populate the main square. Dozens of examples of Christian iconography decorate the colorful exterior of this fountain and I can only imagine its beauty in the warmer months, when the water cascades from each tier to the pool below.

The sights of Nuremberg belay their history, and this fountain is no exception. The entire city once fell to ruin, shattered and burning, the rubble itself simultaneously creating and burying its victims. This wasn’t some medieval siege, no the strong walls and castle defended against those for centuries. An unstoppable barrage of allied bombs, however, decimated Nuremberg near the end of the Second World War, which was then an important sight for German military production. Within a single hour, nearly 90% of the center center had been reduced to husks and piles of debris.

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The symbolism of this wasteland in the wake of the Earth’s most devastating conflict was not lost on the Allies, who chose one of the few remaining buildings, the Palace of Justice, as the sight for the hearings against Nazi war crimes. In the infamous Court Room 600, Nazis and their affiliates were tried and sentenced for the horrors committed during the rise and fall of the Axis.

In the wake of the war, Nuremberg was rebuilt, true to the city which had stood before it. That means the old town, which to this day looks and feels ancient, is in fact less than a century old! And I cannot stress just how ancient it does feel. Nowhere more so than the Handwerkerhof. As you might be able to infer, the name means something like “Craftsmen’s Market” These little cottages and stalls, nestled into a corner of the old city walls, are dedicated to the handmade crafts and tools of Nuremberg’s long history.

It was an unbelievably atmospheric space. As I stared up at the massive stone tower, I imagined I would see carriages and peasants flowing through the gate below. There would be armed guards watching the crowd and inspecting goods, performers and farmers and merchants all mingling before they spread though the city about their business. Instead, I found crowds of tourists, noisy cars and electric trams—but that’s what Europe is! Ancient history and modern innovation fight for your attention, flashing in and out of focus constantly. For me, those brief moments when I can feel history in the present, they are why I love Europe and why I love traveling.

Nuremberg Castle was another one of the places which evoked this sensation. Certainly, throngs of tourists now marvel from the vantages that guards once patrolled. Yet, this marvelous structure is so faithfully preserved that even the noisy masses seemed to fade into the background.

One of Europe’s stoutest castles, Nuremberg Castle served as an imperial residence for Holy Roman Emperors (German kings after their papal coronations) throughout the Middle Ages. These kings did not hold any permanent capital, but moved on a whim throughout their kingdoms to different fortified seats. Nuremberg was a frequent choice for these powerful men, with some inhabiting it multiple times across their reigns.

We visited the castle for about thirty minutes just after arriving in the city, but the chilly wind blew my family and their friend into a cafe to warm up. There they spent about two hours, graciously allowing me to explore the city in the meantime. I visited the Handwerkerhof then moved on to some less traveled streets and parks just beside the main old town. The old city wall seemed entirely intact and it stood impressively tall! In its time, I could hardly imagine there was a force which could surmount such defenses. Below are an assortment of photos from this walk, including one from a humorous exchange between me and some boys lounging beside the river and wall:

My stroll concluded near the cafe, where I met my host family and we immediately proceeded to lunch. (They spent about 15 minutes outside between the cafe and the restaurant.) The meal was a plate of traditional German sausages, mustard and bread. Simple, but good. Another ride in the hot-rod clown car brought us back to Freystadt where we spent the rest of the day relaxing. It was not as deep a delve into Nuremberg as I had hoped for, but it was pleasant and I am glad I researched its history before visiting.


Freystadt, a Perfect European Town

The past week has been one of my best since coming to Europe. A full 10 days of traveling through Germany and Prague with no other cares than where I would venture next. To be honest, I abused my exhausted body, worn thin from trekking in crisscrossing webs around ancient cities and the erratic sleep schedule of a traveler. I put off recuperation until I returned to Poprad, though, determined to see everything I possibly could.

I stood in the sparse, upper-story bedroom of a house on the edge of the small Bavarian town of Freystadt, which I had yet to even see by the light of day. Despite knowing nothing of the place in which I found myself, I was amazed. No matter how much of Europe I have seen or how long I have been here, there are still moments in which I cannot believe my great fortune. I am living on a different continent for a year with no other purpose but to learn and travel. How few people ever get such an opportunity!


The sun rose over Freystadt and, after a simple German breakfast at a nice cafe, I emerged onto the main square, free to explore for a couple hours. I didn’t know what to expect of the town. My host parents had told me that we would be visiting Nuremberg and I researched that city quite extensively. The fact that our residence would be in a different location entirely came as a surprise to me! I took advantage of it though, altering the academic and historic perspective I had prepared for Nuremberg to a more experiential one. Freystadt became something like the travel equivalent of a Christmas present! I looked forward to each and every new and splendid thing I might find around the corner, no prior knowledge to form exceptions or guide my exploration!

This method certainly severed its purpose, leading me to several beautiful areas I would not have seen otherwise. The cemetery beneath a blanket of snow, a church which doesn’t seem to match the rest of the city, and the expansive fields that stretch into the horizon to name just a few! It also led me into a modern suburban area, which sounds rather more dull than the previous list. Contrarily, it was extremely special to me in its own way!

  1. Slovakia, for a number of reasons (not the least of which is several decades of communism) is less than exceptional in its public spending. Roads and sidewalks are patchy, many buildings rather dirty, and its infrastructure dated. I do not say this in any negative sense! I love my beautiful country of Slovakia and I have grown accustomed to these mere appearances. Germany, on the other hand, which has seldom in its history been anything less than an economic powerhaus, blew me away!

Each sidewalk looked as if it had been laid just days before, the roads seamless tarmac. Most of the houses wore fresh coats of paint and featured landscaped yards around which fences gleamed. The neighborhood was tidily planned out and maintained. Freystadt residents surely take pride in the appearance of their community and I really adore that.

Now, I must be fair. The reason we stayed in Freystadt was because the construction firm my host father works for is based there. When we visited their Freystadt office, I saw quite a quite disproportionate number of other administrative workplaces for such a small town. It is reasonable to assume that many of Freystadt’s inhabitants are white-collar workers and, accordingly, both the city’s expectations and financial resources are increased.

Whatever the reason, this Bavarian town is absolutely beautiful. The main square is perhaps the nicest I have seen in all Europe (for a village of course). I just loved the rainbow of burgher houses which wrapped town-center and the care that had been taken in maintaining city hall. Freystadt is no sleepy hamlet either! Despite the tiny feel of the city, it is home to 8.5 thousand people (a fact I could not have believed while wandering its streets) and a surprising amount of motorized and pedestrian traffic flowed around me that Saturday morning.

I fell in love with Freystadt. It was the little European village I dream of… and a perfect position from which to explore Nuremberg and surrounding Bavaria. Those stories, I will relate over the following week.


Wild Park

Europe has an issue with contact zoos. Hardly regulated, these businesses purchase young lions, tigers, and other exotic creatures, advertising adorable cuddle sessions to their customers. This is quite lucrative for a few months, but these animals grow quickly. Soon, they are large and powerful beyond their careless caretakers abilities and must be discarded. After months of hands-on care, they are far too familiar with humans and not familiar enough with their natural habitat and lifestyle to return to the wild.

Most zoos gladly take animals in this situation, but they only have so much room. That is why Wild Park was created. Strangely situated in the middle of the suburban city of Veľká Lomnica, this sanctuary strives to educate people on the plight of big cats in Europe and across the world! Additionally, they display and teach programs on all sorts of reptiles, birds, mammals, arachnids and insects.

I visited with my friend Milan, a former volunteer at the park. He essentially gave me a private tour, telling each animal’s story and, along with the keeper in charge of the cats, taking me unbelievably close to the tigers. This was one of the single most amazing experiences of my exchange thus far. Sure, it doesn’t have much to do with Slovakia, but to have my hand nuzzled by a Siberian Tiger! How could it not be?

Unfortunately, I was so absorbed by the cats that I quite forgot I had set my camera to manual focus because of the bars and most of my outdoor shots suffered for it. Oh well, all the more reason to return again!


GPDT’s Volleyball Tournament

To preface, I have virtually no knowledge about photographing sports. But! I was more than happy to receive an opportunity to learn when my schoolmates asked if I could take some photos of a small Volleyball tournament being held in the school gym. I tried my best to capture the action, taking (and discarding) more shots in an hour than I normally shoot in a day!

As close as I was to the game—and as tunnel-visioned as I was through the camera—the ball nearly hit me a couple times! Yet, fortune graced me with several close deflections that spared my camera… and face.

I relish these opportunities to expand my photographic skill-set. While I still have a long way to go in sports photography, I am rather pleased with how I performed at my first event.


The Fascinating American and a Slovak School House

Promptly after returning from Ski Week, I visited my host brother’s school on an invitation to present about the USA. The wooden, three or four room cottage is by far the cutest school house I have ever seen! Inside, I found the place just as satisfactory, though my attention quickly shifted to the ecstatic children anticipating my arrival.

One of the teachers, who has an English husband, greeted me fluently and helped me translate some more complex ideas from my presentation to Slovak. Otherwise, I managed to present in my new language and answer some of the student’s questions! They had many (much more than any of the teenagers I have presented to.) Though, I must admit, most were about the details of my flight.

“Did you fly over an ocean?” “Was it a big plane?” “Which ocean?” “How long did it take?” (Additionally) “Do you have helicopters in the US?” “What kind of pets do you have?” “How many years have you lived in Slovakia?” (I don’t know where this last one came from) etc…

I so enjoy speaking in front of people, capturing their interest and imparting what I know. This is especially true for children! Their curiosity is inspiring and their energy infectious. I am so glad I got the chance to visit this small, village school. The funny thing is, I spoke about doing just this sort of thing prior to even flying out of the US and now that I am here, without having to do any of the seeking, the opportunity just neatly presented itself! Intention is a powerful thing.

Andrew Dundas

Olomouc – Part Two

After quite a busy while elsewhere, my thoughts have once again returned to the historic Moravian capital of Olomouc and I wish to share the rest of the knowledge I gained of this beautiful city. Amid the dreary February weather that smothers Poprad and the Tatras, I am grateful for the beautiful (if chilly) days in which I was able to explore and photograph Olomouc’s labyrinthine streets.

Astronomical Clock

Horní náměstí (The Upper Square) is one of the city’s most decorated spaces. Like many old European cities, it is adorned with intricate facades and classical statues, like the ones described in my previous post on Olomouc. The City Hall, with its splendid clock-tower, dominates the skyline with uniquely Baroque elegance. Yet, something is out of place amid all these antiquated features.

Into the face of that tower is built an astronomical clock, one of only two in the Czech Republic. After a great deal of damage during WWII, the original 15th century construction was ordered to be rebuilt in the 50s by the communist government of Czechoslovakia. The style and motifs portrayed belong to that of the now uncommon Socialist Realist style. Instead of portraying saints and religious imagery–as its predecessor had–the restored astronomical clock depicted the working classes. At the top, a procession of people in folk costume celebrate, while below a carousel of various laborers, shoppers, and athletes go about their daily lives every half hour. The largest figures featured in the mosaic are that of a worker in a blue jumper and a chemist opposite him.

The oddity of this site is striking. To reach it from any direction you must walk past at least two or three statues of mythological figures, each idyllically draped in cloth and striking a legendary pose. Then, where you can’t help but expect the same, is a man holding a beaker, appearing like a stereotypical scientist who stepped from some cartoon. Nevertheless, on a whole the monument truly harmonizes with its surroundings. Unlike most soviet-era eyesores, effort was spent to respect the history and ascetic of the square and I can’t help but believe that the communist artists… may, to some eyes, have actually improved Horní náměstí.

On my second visit to Olomouc, I caught the clock’s noon display! Running late, I sped towards the square to catch a spectacle I thought I may not get to witness again. I have no idea what I expected, but it suffices to say I was humorously underwhelmed. A couple ditties chimed while the proletarians spun away on their carousal and a rooster noisly thrust back and forth from his perch. I found myself chuckling at the near 10 minute length of this mediocrity, feeling obliged to stay throughout it all, just in case something exceptional happened.

That something never came, however, and I wasn’t that disappointed either. The truly exceptional thing about an astronomic clock occurs over days, months and years, not in a few minutes alone. These constructions, which number very few nowadays, display the day of the week, month, year, season, phase of the moon, zodiac houses, and a map of currently visible stars. They are amazing contraptions and the fact that people as early as the 15th century could devise such an accurate instrument astounds me.

Czechs and Slovaks maintain the tradition of celebrating the day of the saint for which they are named. It is like a milder version of their birthday, with small gifts and candy being given. The Olomouc astronomical clock displays the Czech names for all 365 days of the calendar, as well as holidays, including communist era ones such as the International day of the Worker and the birthdays of Lenin and Stalin.

The Holy Trinity Column

Not far from the secular, Soviet clock, a gargantuan spire rises above the entire square. The Holy Trinity Column, contrastingly, was erected (partially) out of gratitude to God for sparing the city of Olomouc from destruction by a plague that swept the area between 1713 and 1715. Mostly, it is a representation of the affluence of 18th century Olomouc and its devotion to and desire to glorify God. Construction began at the end of that particular plague and lasted nearly 40 years! In that time, six of the seven head craftsmen that labored on the column passed away and only the master goldsmith, Simon Forstner, who gilded parts of the monument survived to see it completed in its entirety.

The Holy Trinity Column became a symbol of pride for the people of Olomouc. It was a true product of their city alone. All who worked on the column were natives, unlike the Italians and Germans which had predominantly designed the city’s iconic fountains.

Because of this devotion to their new landmark, Olomouc was understandably mortified when the Prussians besieged the city only a few years later and hit the column with several cannon balls. A procession of citizens confronted the Prussian forces and asked that they cease firing at the monument. In a surprising and sympathetic turn, their enemies complied and spared it further damage. After the conflict, the craters left by the Prussian artillery were filled, but one, sole gilded ball left in the spot where one of the cannon balls had stuck to memorialize the event. You can see it just above the head of the central figure on the second tier down in the above shot.

This column is not the only one in Olomouc. In the lower square a similar, though more modest, monument stands. It is referred to specifically as a Marian Column, one featuring the Virgin Mary and inspired by the gratitude surrounding the end of a plague. This is in fact the true plague monument in Olomouc, its glory stolen by the larger neighbor.


As before, here are a few more random photos from across the city, including shots of the Saint Wenceslas Cathedral. Its spires are the second highest in the Czech Republic and the whole structure is deserving of its own post, though I believe that must wait for another visit to this fine city.