We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Mrs. BD found this good deal from our friends at Club ABC: 8 days in Prague and Budapest. They do a very good job making world travel possible for the non-weathy and for those who are willing to fly economy and maybe endure a stopover.
I've always been more of a Mediterranean and UK traveller, but the Holy Roman Empire is growing on me. It's probably just a phase.
You can make online reservations for music and opera tickets way in advance. She wants to see Janacek's Kat'a Kabanova at the Prague Opera (where Mozart first conducted Don Giovanni).
I have never been to Hungary. Mrs. BD wants to see Hungarian folk music and dance troupes, and try some of the historic coffee houses. Here's a nice Budapest restaurant. Looks just like I would expect:
Thank God that the commies are gone from Czecho and Hungary. Maybe Cuba will be next.
Go back to the good old times to experience how life was when Big Brother ruled our every move, we drove Trabants, drank spirits at work, lived in block flats, stood in banana lines, had two passports, coupon books, no TV on Mondays and no freedom of speech! Written and raved about every year in major newspapers around the world, don't miss out on this bygone era.
Thanks for posting the Janá?ek. Since you and Mrs. BD are fans, I'd like to invite you to come over here to the Czech Republic and Czech out the Janá?ek with us.
I am an American living the last 20 years in the Czech Republic. I've been following Maggie's Farm the last 5 years or so if not more. My wife and I live in Valtice, on the old Iron Curtain border straight north of Vienna. Wife's late father was an orchestra conductor and a big expert on Janá?ek - it's in the family. Myself, I am the first and only foreign member of the Moravian Teachers' Choir - for whom Janá?ek himself wrote some works. His choral works for men are our specialty.
You know, seeing a Janá?ek opera in Prague is all very nice, but it's better in Brno, where Janá?ek lived and worked, and where his music was and is much better received than in Bohemia.
We are located in the Lednice-Valtice Area, the old home of the Liechtenstien family before they had to skedaddle to Vaduz after World War II. Two huge magnificent chateaus and a composed landscape in between (it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site). We are within a few minutes' drive of the town of Mikulov and the Pálava Hills, with medieval, Roman, and prehistoric history. We are within an hour of the Austerlitz battlefield - near Brno, where my wife grew up. We are also within an hour of Vienna by train or car. And it's a 20 minute walk to the old Iron Curtain border...
I work as a translator, wife leads tours of South Moravia and Bohemia. She is a naturalized American citizen who spent 10 years in the US after being exiled by the Communists back in the day. We met over here as English teachers back in 92.
We can easily keep you busy for a week or two and you can get the inside dope on the history and present of the Holy Roman Empire, the Czech lands, Janá?ek, and life as it has been here before and after the fall of the Iron Curtian. And did I mention this is wine country?
Although we are in the walking/bike tour business and can recommend some good and relatively inexpensive tours in the region, this is a personal invitation to you and your wife; you can stay with us at our modest house or we can put you up in a local pension. I am such a fan of Maggie's Farm and the implicit and explicit philosophy behind it. It would be an honor and a pleasure to have you as our guests. This would really be the insider peek into life over here. Wine cellar in Valtice, possibly a Janá?ek concert in Brno...
Think about it; we'd be so glad to have you.
Sincerely, Todd Hammond
PS Sorry to post a personal invitation into the comments; feel free to delete it, but please do consider the offer...
Thanks for the great post for our "socialist tours". I hope we can show you these old black times soons. And more, not only the bad things. Budapest is a nice living city with a lot of fun and sights and culture. I love it. I love to see the bank of the River Danube when I arrive home from the world, it's beautiful in summer and in winter also, and I'm happy to live here.
Huncool Tours Aniko
Remember also, in that egalitarian, centrally planned world, all restaurants were required to offer the same menus following the same state-mandated recipes, so that none would have any culinary advantage!!