Country Dance Tour

October 2. - 14. 2024

Dear friends,

We warmly invite you into the heart of Europe, into the Czech Republic. Each time we try to offer you an interesting program of many different activities and locations.
During your travels you will have a chance to meet Czech folk and country dancers, see interesting places listed as UNESCO heritage sites, visit historical towns, meet people who are engaged in traditional folk production, take several short hikes in beautiful surroundings, and also explore different aspects of local folklore.
Last three days we will spend in Prague, attending the Country Dance Festival Jasana Bonuše. Nine different callers will meet in Prague and call dances for fans of traditional American country dance. Dancers will come from several European countries. For more information about the festival visit please the festival web site.  
As we have prepared this tour specifically for dancers of country and contra dances, you will have opportunities to dance during your stay. We are so glad and honored to have Bev Bernbaum as our caller. 

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

Jan Pumpr and Bev Bernbaum

Tour program

October 2, Wednesday
You will arrive in Prague sometime during the day. After you check in at the hotel, you can relax. We will meet in the hotel lobby to register for the tour. Then we will walk to a nearby restaurant for dinner.

October 3, Thursday
Today, we will be leaving Prague and heading east. Our first stop will be in Kutná Hora, a medieval town listed as a UNESCO heritage site. Here, we will visit the famous local cathedral and take a stroll through the town. You will have lunchtime on your own, but don’t worry, there are many good restaurants in the area and most accept credit cards. Before we reach our final destination, we will make one more UNESCO stop at the Church of Zelená Hora, built in 1722 by architect Jan Blažej Santini. From there, we will proceed directly to Brno and check in. After a short time to relax, we will take a walk in the city and have dinner together.

October 4, Friday
In the morning, we will head south and make a stop at the chateau in Moravský Krumlov. Here, we will have the opportunity to see the world-famous exposition called the Slavic Epic by Alfons Mucha. These impressive and immense paintings depict the history of the Slavic people. From there, we will proceed to Dolní Kounice, where we will visit the renovated synagogue and learn about the history of the Jewish population in the Czech Republic, which tragically disappeared during World War II. Afterward, we will have lunch together as a group. Following lunch, we will embark on a tour of a fairytale-like place – the monastery, which will transport us to a different century. Our next stop will be the Baroque library in Rajhrad, which houses an impressive collection of 65,000 books. Afterward, we will return to Brno. Dinner will be at your leisure, and afterward, we will regroup for a dance party featuring local country dancers. American country dance has gained popularity in the Czech Republic, and we will have a great time together.

October 5, Saturday
Today, we will depart from Brno once again and head to the special region of South Moravia. Along the way, we will make a stop at the Austerlitz battlefield, where Napoleon led the famous battle in 1805. Our next destination will be the medieval castle of Buchlov. We will have a guided tour of the castle and enjoy the stunning view from its tower. Lunch will be enjoyed together as a group at a nearby restaurant.
After lunch, we will visit an exposition showcasing beautiful traditional costumes, offering a glimpse into the region’s cultural heritage. Our next stop will be a rather somber but intriguing one. We will visit a former prison where opponents of the communist regime were imprisoned. During the 1950s, this prison was known as one of the toughest. Following this visit, we will seek beauty and solace by exploring a local gallery featuring exquisite paintings by talented local artists. If paintings don’t pique your interest, you will have free time to explore the city on your own. Dinner will be at your leisure. Later in the evening, we will regroup and have the opportunity to meet with local folk dancers and musicians. They will perform traditional dances and even teach us a few steps. It will be a delightful cultural experience. Finally, we will return to Brno, reflecting on the day’s adventures.

October 6, Sunday
On our last day in Moravia, we will leave Brno and our first stop will be a view tower. It is easily accessible with a short climb, and due to its location on a hill, the view from the tower is breathtaking. Our next stop will be historical wine cellars that were used by the Templars in the 13th century. These cellars are still in use today, and we will have the opportunity to taste some wine here. From there, we will visit another set of wine cellars, but this time we will admire them from the outside. These cellars are built into a small wine cellar town behind the village, showcasing the unique architectural style. For lunch, we will dine together in the town of Lednice. Our main reason for being here is not just the meal, but also to visit the beautiful local chateau (UNESCO). After the tour, we will proceed to a neighboring city, where we will embark on a short hike that offers amazing views. For those not interested in hiking, they can choose to explore the city instead. In the evening, we will return to Brno, and dinner will be at your leisure. It’s our final evening there together, so you can choose to enjoy a meal of your preference.

October 7, Monday
Today’s itinerary includes visiting two UNESCO heritage towns. Our first stop will be Třebíč, renowned for its historic Jewish Ghetto. This well-preserved medieval area will allow us to immerse ourselves in its rich history as we explore its streets. Afterward, we will continue our journey to Telč, another UNESCO town with a different era and atmosphere. Telč was beautifully reconstructed in the Renaissance style during the 16th century, and its iconic square makes for a picture-perfect setting. You will have free time for lunch in Telč, where you can explore and eat at your leisure. After lunch, we will proceed to a weaving factory for a tour. Here, you will have the opportunity to purchase some lovely gifts made from 100% wool. Following our visit, we will continue our journey to České Budějovice. Upon arrival and check-in at the hotel, you will have some time to relax. Dinner will be enjoyed together at the hotel. For those interested, we will also offer a sightseeing tour of the historical city center after dinner.

October 8, Tuesday
For the next two days, we will be exploring the charming region of South Bohemia, which offers a completely different atmosphere compared to our previous destinations. And what better way to start the day than with a tour of a brewery and beer tasting? We will take you to the original Budweiser brewery, which has no affiliation with the American company. The name Budweiser actually comes from the city of České Budějovice itself. The German name for the town is Budweis. After the brewery tour, you will have a newfound appreciation for the taste of good beer. From there, we will visit another factory, this time a pottery workshop. They produce beautiful ceramics here with distinctive designs. After a brief tour, you will have the opportunity to purchase some of their unique creations. For lunch, we will return to the town where you will have some free time to relax and enjoy a meal of your choice. In the afternoon, we will visit a small village to meet with a puppeteer. This family-run company has been involved in puppet theater for generations, making puppets solely for their own performances. We will have the chance to see their work and also explore a small puppet exhibition. Our next activity will take us into nature as we embark on a leisurely hike through the pleasant countryside, meandering through forests to build up our appetite. Dinner will be enjoyed together, followed by a special meeting with local folk dancers. They will showcase traditional dances for us, and we will even have the opportunity to try some dances ourselves. Afterward, we will return to our hotel for a well-deserved rest.

October 9, Wednesday
In the morning, you have the option to enjoy a leisurely morning and take some time for yourself, or you can join us to visit a fascinating ethnographic exposition at the local museum. Afterward, we will board our bus and head to Holašovice. This village is recognized as a UNESCO heritage site due to its unique architectural style. Here, we will enjoy a meal together. Following lunch, we will arrive in Český Krumlov, another UNESCO heritage landmark. This town is truly enchanting, with a fairytale-like atmosphere. We will begin with a sightseeing tour, exploring the highlights of the town. Afterward, you will have free time to further explore and immerse yourself in the magical ambiance. Dinner will be enjoyed together once again. Today, we have pre-ordered two meals, as Saturday is a day when you will be on your own during the festival. After dinner, we will return to České Budějovice, where our hotel is located.

October 10, Thursday
Today, we will be changing hotels as we continue our journey. Our first stop will be in a small village, where we will visit a family distillery. Here, we will have the opportunity to learn about their work and sample some of their products. You will also have the chance to purchase gifts for your friends and family. Next, we will visit a village cemetery adorned with approximately a hundred arches, which were painted in the 19th century by a local priest. It is a unique and intriguing sight to behold. Afterward, we will arrive in Květuš, where we will have lunch together at a small, non-used farm. Following the meal, we will engage in traditional activities. We will learn how to make cookies, try our hand at Czech dances, and even attempt to sing Czech songs. For those interested, there will be an opportunity to take a leisurely walk around the village. In the early evening, we will depart for Prague. Upon arrival, you will check-in to your hotel. For dinner, you will have the freedom to explore and find a restaurant of your choice to enjoy a meal at your leisure.

October 11, Friday
Today, we have a full day to explore the beautiful city of Prague. We will start our day by visiting the Prague Castle complex, beginning from above and making our way down to the charming neighborhood of Malá Strana. Here, we will have lunch together, giving us a chance to rest and recharge before we continue. Afterward, we will cross the iconic Charles Bridge and continue our journey into the Old Town. Since sightseeing can be tiring, we will allow you some time to relax and enjoy the city at your own pace. Dinner will be at your leisure, giving you the freedom to choose a restaurant that suits your preferences.
In the evening, we will pick you up from the hotel and head to the festival dance hall for the opening ceremony. This will be a fun dance event for everyone to enjoy, lasting for approximately two hours. The hotel is within walking distance, so you can choose to leave whenever you feel ready.

October 12, Saturday
Today, you will immerse yourself in the dance festival. The program will feature two dance halls running simultaneously, allowing you to choose the type of dance that interests you the most. Upon arrival, you will receive a detailed program outlining all the available classes. In the evening, you can watch an exhibition of Czech country dance groups, showcasing their talent. This will be followed by a dance session accompanied by live music. For both meals today, you will be on your own.

October 13, Sunday
In the morning, we will attend the festival program, enjoying dance classes until lunchtime. After lunch, you will have the afternoon free, allowing you to explore Prague or relax.
In the evening, we will regroup for a dinner cruise on the Vltava River. This experience will allow us to enjoy a meal while cruising along the river, providing a different perspective of Prague’s stunning architecture and landmarks. It will be a memorable and enchanting way to end our tour.

October 14, Monday
Time say goodbye. We do believe you will take home nice memories 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 want.