FACONE Tour 2020

Dear friends,

Dvorana and the Folk Arts Center of New England are pleased to invite you on a cultural tour into the heart of Europe – into the Czech Republic.

During your travels with us you will enjoy visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites and historical towns, meet people who practice traditional Czech folk crafts and take hikes in beautiful surroundings. Together we will explore Prague, meet Czech folk dancers, and learn first-hand about different aspects of local folklore.

This tour is organized by Dvorana for the Folk Arts Center of New England with whom we have collaborated many times over the years. Jan Pumpr with Dvorana and Marcie Van Cleave, FAC’s Executive Director, are coordinators for this tour. Jan is a native Prague resident, and Marcie has a lot of experience with Czech Republic from frequent ​tours and visits.

We look forward to welcoming you to Prague and the Czech Republic!

Jan Pumpr and Marcie Van Cleave

Tour program

September 16, Wednesday

You will arrive in Prague sometime during the day. After you arrive at the hotel, you will check-in and relax. You may need to exchange money; we will be sending you directions on how to do it later in the process, after you have registered. We will meet in the hotel lobby at 6:00pm for tour introductions, then have a relaxed dinner together in a nearby restaurant.

September 17, Thursday
Officially our first full day. After we load the bus we will head to East and stop in Kutná Hora – a fascinating medieval town listed as UNESCO heritage site specifically because of the local cathedral. We will visit the cathedral first and then walk through the historical city center. For lunch you will be on your own; afterwards we will have a short ride to a lovely forest where we will walk to one of the hundreds of ponds in the area. In the evening we will arrive in Hradec Králové. There you can exchange money, then we will eat dinner together. Afterwards we will meet with the local folk dance group Kvítek who will welcome you in this region with a show of traditional Bohemian dance and music. Later in the evening we will arrive in the hotel, check-in and relax.

September 18, Friday
We are staying a second night in Hradec Králové, so departure for our day trip will be very easy. Our fist stop will be the Trebechovické Muzeum Betlému; you will be amazed by the mechanical scene from 1926 with 351 different moving figures. Our next stop will be in local ribbon factory where there will be something for everyone – beautifully designed ribbons and impressive machinery . For lunch we will stay together, then in the afternoon we will visit a Baroque fortress, a very special complex of buildings, corridors and passages from the 1600s. The tour will be conducted entirely in candlelight! After we arrive back in Hradec Králové you will have time to relax, or, if you would like to you can join us for a  sightseeing of the town. For dinner you will be on your own.

September 19, Satruday
Today we need to load the bus and then move further east to our fist stop in Litomyšl. There we will have a tour of the local chateau (UNESCO). We will then cross into the Moravian region of Czech Republic on to our next stop in Olomouc with its unique plague column (1754) and where we will have lunch. In the afternoon we will arrive in Rožnov pod Radhoštěm, in Moravia’s Valašsko region and visit a depository of local traditional cultural artifacts museum. Then we will arrive in the hotel, check-in and have dinner.

September 20, Sunday
In the morning we will visit the oldest​ open air museum in Czech Republic. Then we will move on to the mountains, and walk through an open-air gallery of wooden sculptures. Lunch will be together in local traditional restaurant. After lunch we will meet with the last cartwright in Moravia in his workshop. If the weather is good, we will do a simple hike at the mountain ridge. For dinner you will be on your own. This evening we will meet with young folk dancers and musicians who will show us some of their regional dances and also will teach us some of them.

September 21, Monday
Today we need to load the bus again. Our first stop will be in a very established tapestry factory  that has been here for more than one hundred years. Then we will go just a few steps more to visit the local church that was finished 1605. We will move on to  Kroměříž for lunch, then off to Kojetín where we will meet with local dancers. This time, though, they won’t present traditional Czech or Moravian folk dances – they love traditional American dancing! So we will dance contras and squares together, with Jan and Marcie calling. In the evening we will arrive in Brno have dinner and check-in to our hotel for one night. 

September 22, Tuesday
Moving on! Our first stop of today will be an extraordinary display of Alfons Mucha’s Slav Epic (1911 – 1926) – a series of twenty monumental canvases, the largest measuring over 6 by 8 meters. Here you can read more about each of the paintings. For lunch we will stop in Třebíč, after which we will walk through the local Jewish Ghetto (UNESCO). And for our last UNESCO visit of the day we will stop in Telč to marvel at its beautiful Renaissance-era square. In the evening we will arrive in the capital of South Bohemia, České Budějovice. We will check-in and dinner will be in our hotel. If you have the energy and curiousity you can then join us for an evening sightseeing stroll through this beautiful and historical town.

September 23, Wednesday
What is the best way to start a morning in the Czech Republic? How about a tour through a brewery? Yes, we will visit the original Budweiser Budvar; first brewed in 1895, it proudly proclaims that it is the “Genuine Czech Beer”. Then you will have time on your own to recover. After lunch we will depart for a short and scenic walk to the ruins of a castle that was built in the mid-1300s. Afterwards we will arrive in the fairy-tale town of Český Krumlov, with its 13th-century castle and 17th-century baroque theatre, it is well-deserved as a UNESCO site. We will saunter through the town together and then you will have some time for yourself. Our dinner will be in a notable restaurant that is famous because it is located in the town’s original jail. Because Český Krumlov is as lovely in the evening as during the day, we will have time after dinner to again walk these ancient streets and take a few more inspired photographs before departing for the hotel.

September 24, Thursday
Today we will change hotels for the last time. Our first stop en route back to Prague will be a view tower with a commanding view of the south Bohemian countryside. Afterwards we will stop in Písek – There we will walk across the Písek Stone Bridge, the oldest stone bridge in central Europe – older than the Charles Bridge in Prague. Lunchtime will be on your own. In the afternoon we will go to a local farm that is no longer used for farming, but where we will learn about and try our hands at some traditional crafts. We will enjoy the company of local Czechs and eat dinner here. Later in the evening we will arrive in Prague and check in.

September 25, Friday
Our first full day in Prague – one of the most beautiful cities in the world! How to best describe the program? Sightseeing in the morning, lunch together, sightseeing in the afternoon. We will be shown around town by a very knowledgeable guide who has been leading tours of Prague for over 40 years, and who is a good friend of ours. Afterwards you will have time on your own.

September 26, Saturday
Today you can enjoy Prague on your own. If you would prefer to stay with with the group, we will be visiting the Prague Ethnography Museum, followed by another walk in Prague – off the main tourist stream. For a lunch and the afternoon you’ll be on your own. Then we will meet again for a dinner cruise on the Vltava River. This will give you a chance to see Prague from a different perspective.

September 27, Sunday
Departure after breakfast. 

Time to say goodby. We do believe you will take home nice memories and warm feelings for Czech Republic. If you decide to stay in Prague for few more nights, we are happy to help you to arrange the hotel if you would find that helpful.