Palace of Culture and Science, Warsaw © Ricky Yates

Following lunch on Sunday 25th September, which marked the official end of the 2016 Eastern Archdeaconry Synod, quite a number of the Synod members stayed on for an afternoon walking tour through the centre of Warsaw. It was good to have the opportunity to see something of the Polish capital before returning to Prague the following day.

The first building that caught my eye after the taxi dropped me off in the city centre, was the tower of the Palace of Culture and Science. This building is a classical example of Stalinist-Baroque architecture and bears a striking resemblance to Hotel International here in Prague, located just a few hundred metres from the Chaplaincy Flat. Both are based on the design of Moscow State University. . . . → Read More: Warsaw


The twin spires of St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Görlitz © Ricky Yates


The town of Görlitz is located in the far south-eastern corner of Germany and is about two-and-a-half hours drive directly north from Prague. Back on Tuesday 18th August 2015, Sybille and I drove to Görlitz, in order to spend the following week walking the first part of Der Ökumenische Pilgerweg. This is the first of three long-promised posts about that week mentioned in my summary post entitled ‘All those things in the second half of 2015 that got missed‘.


Having securely parked the ‘Carly’ in the gated backyard of the Peregrinus Herberge, we spent the rest of Tuesday 18th August, exploring Görlitz, before setting out walking along our pilgrimage route the following morning. On Monday 24th August, we returned to Görlitz by . . . → Read More: Görlitz


St Mary’s Basilica, Kraków © Ricky Yates

Ever since moving to Prague just over seven years ago, Sybille and I have adopted the view that we should take full advantage of being based in Central Europe, to explore both the Czech Republic beyond Prague, together with neighbouring countries. So earlier this year, we decided that we would spend two weeks of my 2015 annual leave, visiting the Czech Republic’s immediate northern neighbour, Poland.

Whilst Sybille had made a previous brief visit to Poland in the early 1990s, my only experience of the country was through briefly walking over the border from Ceský Tešín with Sybille, in 2010, and when climbing Snežka in 2011. We also briefly drove into Poland when staying in the Orlické hory in 2013.

Our Polish odyssey began last Wednesday 7th October, when . . . → Read More: Kraków

Hora Ríp

Hora Ríp as seen from Vražkov. Note the yellow waymark © Ricky Yates

Hora Ríp is a prominent hill, located about 48 km/30 miles north of Prague. It protrudes from the otherwise relatively flat Central Bohemian Plain, and is very visible and easily accessible from the D8, the Prague-Dresden motorway. Of course, there should be a hácek, a little hook, above the ‘R’ in ‘Ríp’, as there should be above the ‘c’ in ‘hácek‘. But as I have explained several times previously, the set-up of this blog cannot cope with many Czech diacritics and instead renders them as ‘?’ 🙁

Wearing my geographer hat, I can tell you that Hora Ríp . . . → Read More: Hora Ríp

Villa Tugendhat, Brno and the novel by Simon Mawer entitled ‘The Glass Room’

Villa Tugendhat © Ricky Yates

Villa Tugendhat in Brno, was designed by the German architect Ludwig Mies van de Rohe and constructed between 1928 -1930 on a hillside slope overlooking the city centre. It was commissioned by the wealthy Jewish industrialist Fritz Tugendhat and his wife Greta and was their home for eight years before the couple, along with their children, were forced to flee to Switzerland following the dismembering of Czechoslovakia brought about by the Munich agreement of September 1938.

An icon of modern architecture, today Villa Tugendhat is considered one of the finest examples of functionalist design anywhere in the world. A revolutionary iron framework allowed Mies to dispense with supporting walls and massive plate glass windows give the extensive living space a wonderful feeling of space and light. The minimalist interior is famous for featuring an onyx wall and for using rare tropical hardwood.

Interior . . . → Read More: Villa Tugendhat, Brno and the novel by Simon Mawer entitled ‘The Glass Room’