Veranda - Winter at a traditional Cze...
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Panoramic photo by Jeffrey Martin PRO EXPERT MAESTRO Taken 13:44, 31/01/2010 - Views loading...

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Veranda - Winter at a traditional Czech mountain cottage (chalupa) 2

The World > Europe > Czech Republic

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Here is the veranda. There are probably hundreds or thousands of cottages in the Czech Republic similar to this one. This one is special because it belongs to my in-laws, and we get to use it! This cottage is on a hill near the end of the road, towards the top of the hill, in the village of Orlicky which is in Orlicke hory (the Orlicke mountains) near the border of Poland. This used to be Sudetenland. Maybe the original residents of this house were German - who knows. The history of such stuff is not recorded very carefully. As we know, history books are written by the winners. Anyway, the house still stands, and it is mostly as it was a hundred years ago - there is a water pump bringing water into the house (one tap in the main room), a couple of coal or wood-burning stoves, and that's about it. Oh yes, there is also a newly-renovated 21st century bathroom - quite a surprising sight when you open the bathroom door! Shot handheld with canon 5d, shaved nikkor 10.5mm lens, and "philopod".

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I: Christmas Holiday in the Mountain Cottage 6

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This panorama was taken in Czech Republic

This is an overview of Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is a cool little landlocked country south of Germany and Poland, with a national addiction to pork and beer. Potatos, cabbage, and dumplings are close behind them, and they also have this great bar food called "utopenec." It means "a drowned man," it's pickled sausage with onions, perfect with some dark wheat bread and beer. The Czech bread is legendary, like a meal all by itself.

Czechoslovakia first became a sovereign state in 1918 when it declared independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The state of Czechoslovakia lasted until the "Velvet Divorce" of 1993, which created Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

It was occupied by Germany in WWII but escaped major damage, unlike most other European cities. The nation's capital, Prague, retains some of Europe's most beautiful Baroque architecture as well as one of the largest medieval castle complexes still standing. The President of the Czech Republic has his offices in the Prague Castle even today.

There was a coup d'etat in 1948 and Czechoslovakia fell under Soviet rule. For fifty years Czechoslovakia was a Socialist state under the USSR, subject to censorship, forced atheism and even the arrest of jazz musicians!

In 1989, communist police violently squashed a pro-democracy demonstration and pissed everybody off so bad that a revolution erupted over it, finally ending the Communist rule.

The next twenty years saw rapid economic growth and westernization. Today in Prague you can eat at McDonald's or KFC, shop for snowboarding boots and go see a punk rock show.

The Czech Republic took over the presidency of the European Union in January 2009. This instantly created lots of political drama because the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, is a renowned Euroskeptic.

We anxiously await the outcome of "President Klaus vs. the Lisbon Treaty", a world heavywieght fight sceduled for spring 2009.

Text by Steve Smith.

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