VÍTEJTE V ČESKÉ REPUBLICE The main reason, I went to the Czech Republic at this time was because of TBEX – a conference for travel bloggers and other travel content creators like me. In their conferences around the world, they have interesting keynote speakers and useful workshop. In fact, I did one about starting a travel podcast. It took place in Ostrava [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ostrava], a small city in the eastern part of the country – and not in the capital Prague, as one might think. I’m actually glad it was here, because I’ve been to Prague many times before, and even though it’s a wonderful, beautiful and historic city it was great to see another part of the country. And after the conference, I got to see even more. I was invited on a press trip in The Liberec Region [http://www.visitliberec.eu/en] in the northern part of the country. They called the trip “Finding Your Peace in a Bohemian Paradise” – so that’s also the reason for the title of this episode. A quick disclaimer. Even though this is a press trip, where I was invited obviously in the hope that I’d say something nice about the region, I won’t say anything I don’t mean. Everything I say is my own genuine opinion. FACTS ABOUT THE CZECH REPUBLIC * The Czech Republic is also called by its short-form name, Czechia. It’s a landlocked country in Central Europe and is bordered by Austria to the south, Germany to the west, Poland to the northeast, and Slovakia to the east. * The country ranks as the seventh most peaceful country in the world according to the 2019 Global Peace Index [https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/GPI-2019-web003.pdf] . * The country has the most castles in Europe – more than * Beer is a big deal in the Czech Republic. Czech people are the world’s heaviest consumers of beer. The first pale lager, Pilsner Urquell [https://www.pilsnerurquell.com/], was brewed in the Czech city Plzeň in 1842. * Soft contact lenses were invented by a Czech chemist in 1959. * The world-famous Škoda Auto is based in the Czech Republic. Their cars are sold in over 100 countries. WELCOME TO THE LIBEREC REGION Despite being the second smallest region in the Czech Republic, Liberec region is well known for local glass and jewellery, and romantic scenery provided by rock towns and a mountain range. The Liberec Region lies in the north of the Czech Republic boarding Poland and Germany. On the first day, we head just outside the region’s capital, Liberec, to the top of Ještěd Hill [http://www.hoteljested.cz/]. It’s got a stunning view and a very unique round building containing both a hotel [http://www.hotels25.com/Hotel/Hotel_Jested.htm], a restaurant, and unique TV transmitter on the roof. This is considered the dominating feature of Liberec and the whole region. Our main guide on the tour is Eva Hornová, and throughout the episode, she will help me pronounce the different names of the places we visit. SUNRISE AT JEŠTED HILL After our visit, Eva asked us if we would like to come back the next morning to see the sunrise. And since she said it would be spectacular most us said yes… even though it meant that we needed to leave the hotel at 4.30 am. GLASS ART IN LIBEREC After breakfast, we went to see something this region of the Czech Republic is famous for, Glass art. The place is called Pačinek Glass [http://www.pacinekglass.com/index-en.html] and named after Master glassmaker, Jiri Pacinek. He is a talented glass artist-craftsman is truly a master – and captivating many glass art collectors and admirers around the world. Besides his own creations, he’s cooperating with several world artists and designers. A lot of their unique art objects have been created and many of them became a part of famous world museum collections. The garden is very unique. None of these glass flowers and plants can be found and seen anywhere else than right here. You can come and see it anytime through a day, and you should, since the garden looks differently in daybreak, in midday sunshine, or at a sunset… And there are new glass plants appearing every year. The Glass Garden is open yearlong. You don’t need to book, and the entrance is free. Find the links in the show notes. I’M BLOWING IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC And then the glassmaker hands me the tube with a piece of melted glass on the end and I start blowing gently and turning it slowly, so gravity won’t make it drop to the floor. The rest of the group is standing in a circle around me – looking very impressed. I bet they are thinking: “Hey, that radio guy is really a professional glass artist… he kept that a secret for a long time” … but then the bubble burst. Literally. CVIKOW BREWERY As I mentioned before the Czechs are famous for its beer. And this small microbrewery is called Cvikov Brewery [http://www.pivovarcvikov.cz/]. The beginnings of brewing beer in Cvikov dates back to 1560 when a privilege was granted to brew wheat beer and produce malt. They continued making beer here for more than 400 years, but in 1968 they shut down. First, after nearly half a century of nothing, an entrepreneur bought the devastated complex in 2013 and brought the tradition back. KUNST OG EN HAJ The next day after a wonderful breakfast we started The Regional Art Gallery Liberec [https://www.ogl.cz/en/]. Not only is it an interesting gallery but it’s also in a beautiful building. On the way to The Botanical Garden [https://www.botaniliberec.cz/about-us-s9EN], we had lunch in Restaurant ZOO1320 [http://www.zoo1320.cz/]. A very nice, beautiful restaurant and I highly recommend you go there if you’re in that area. BEING PRETTY IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC And then we head to Palace Plus [http://www.palaceplus.cz/], the largest jewellery shop in Central Europe. It’s 700m2(7500 square feet) and they sell more than 4500 styles of jewellery. After an introduction to the place by the president, we had the chance to design our own necklace, bracelet, or beaded earrings. So, here we were, threading beads in The Czech Republic. Now that’s a first. BOBSLEDDING IN THE HEAT At the time I was in the Liberec Region it was very hot. So, I had not expected what came next. Bobsledding. It was cool to feel appreciated. The place we-re at a place is called Bobová Dráha [https://bobovadrahajizerky.cz/]and it was so much fun feeling like a kid for a bit. And now it’s time to say goodbye to Liberec in The Czech Republic, and also the last episode in this season from Europe. I must say that it was great to see parts of The Czech Republic that I haven’t been to before. I hope it inspired you to head north after your visit to Prague. Thank you to Visit Liberec [http://www.visitliberec.eu/en] for inviting me on this wonderful press trip. And to Eva Hornová [firstname.lastname@example.org]for being such a nice person – and for teaching how to speak Czech. Well sort of. Now I’m heading back across the Atlantic Ocean for yet another road trip in the US. I’m going to visit all six states in New England and a whole lot more. We start in Boston and I’m so looking forward to that. My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See ya.