FACONE Tour 2021

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. Together we will travel through Poland, Slovakia and the  Czech Republic.

During your travels with us you will enjoy visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites and historical towns, meet people who practice traditional folk crafts and take hikes in beautiful surroundings. Together we will explore Prague, meet 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

This year’s Tour will officially start in Krakow, a beautiful and historic city in Poland. Some of you may want to fly directly to Krakow to spend some extra time there before the trip begins. We will send you a list of places of interest in Krakow, so you will have some ideas of where to go and what to see if you decide to come earlier on your own. It may be cheaper to book round-trip airfare to and from Prague. In that case, you can come on September 8 (or earlier) to Prague and go to Krakow with us by coach to meet the rest of the group. Because of the high season in September you may have problems to book your own pre-tour accommodation. To cover both possibilities, we have already booked rooms for the night of September 8 in Prague and in Krakow; you will need to let us know which fits your travel plans.

A month prior to the start of the trip all participants will receive a letter with further details, including the mobile phone number to call in case of unexpected incidents during your travel to Prague.

September 8, Wednesday
This extra night in Prague is for those who wish to ride the bus from Prague to Krakow. Cost of hotel tonight is extra, as is the cost of your dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow. 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. Later we will send you a directions how to do it. You will need some Czech money for the dinner and next day lunch, as well as for when we are back in Prague at the end of the tour. We will meet in the hotel lobby at 6:00 pm for tour registration. Then we will walk to a nearby restaurant for dinner.

September 9, Thursday
This day is primarily for travel, a long drive from Prague to Krakow. Because of the distance we don’t have time for too many interesting stops on the way. Anyway, we will have one – the blast furnace in Dolní Vítkovice, built up during the communist era. This is an unusual site that was a highlight for many on our previous tours. For lunch we stay together. Then we have less then 3 hours to Krakow. After arrival you will check-in and relax. Dinner will be in the hotel, so we will not need to walk somewhere. For people who travel directly to Krakow on their own, we will have registration after the dinner. Please let us know your travel plans so we can confirm the Krakow hotel reservation for you.

September 10, Friday
Officially our first full day. In the morning you will have time to exchange money (we will give you directions) and then we will discover the city of Krakow. With local guide we will walk through the most important places in the center and will end up at the castle. Then will have lunch by yourself. After lunch you will have free time to focus on your personal wishes. Krakow has a well-preserved historic center that dates back to the 10th century, and there is much to see within walking distance. Later in the afternoon we will meet again and go to dinner. In the evening we will meet with few members of  Polish folk dance group. They will show us some traditional Polish dances and will teach us some simple dances as well.

September 11, Saturday
This will be a busy day for us, leaving Krakow in the morning and heading southeast. Before we will do so, we will have one more stop in Krakow – the Schindler factory, well known from the film Schindler’s List. Our next stop will be Salt Mine. Yes, there is a better-known mine in Wieliczka, but because that place is really packed by tourists, we will visit a similar place where you will have a more enjoyable experience. Generally, we will go in and out of the mine by lift. There will be also many steps between. They offer part of this tour for people who can’t walk steps up and down. Before the mine we will have a lunch time in the city center. We’ll be at the square so you will have several possibilities to eat. After the mine we will cross border to Slovakia. One more stop before we reach the hotel. The wooden church from 15. century, listed as UNESCO heritage. Then we will check-in the hotel and have a dinner together.

September 12, Sunday
Today morning we spend in beautiful open air museum. Of course you will see traditional archirtecture, but also some of traditional handicrafts. Lunch time will be on your own. After lunch you will have three options. 1. Return to the hotel and relax, enjoy local swimming pool. 2. Spend more time in the museum – village and do some walk around. 3. Take a chairlift up to the mountain and hike to the edge and back. Then we all will meet again and go by bus to neighbours village. Here we will meet with young dancers who are funs of modern American clogging. Also we will do some American traditional dances together. Dinner will be in the hotel again.

September 13, Monday
In the morning we need to load the bus and will depart for Moravia. We have many miles to drive, but we have several interesting stops on the list. In the morning we will use the cable car. We don’t want to miss this chance, going up by cable car and walk down a bit over the edge. On other side we will find completely unique village Vlkolínec (UNESCO) which looks like an open-air museum, but still is a living village.We have some photos from this walk and you can see it here: beginning, middle part, next part and last part. Relax above the village :-).  The bus will wait for us below the village and will take us to nearby town for a lunch time. In the afternoon we will stop in small village to visit small church with unique frescoes.  Then you will have a change to rest; we have a long drive to reach Rožnov pod Radhoštěm in the Czech Republic, where we will check-in to our hotel.

September 14, Tuesday
We will depart a little earlier today in order to have time to exchange money again – this time to Czech Crowns. Our first sightseeing stop will be a local glassworks factory. We will not see glass blowing—it is done in a different part of the country—but we will see glass decorating by acid etching. If you are interested, you will be able to buy some glass souvenirs here for very reasonable prices. (Bring some bubble wrap in your luggage!) Lunch will be together in one of the mountain restaurants and then we will visit a very nice outdoor gallery of wooden sculptures. Afterwards you will have a rare chance to visit the private workroom of the last Moravian cart-wright.  For dinner you will be on your own in the city center of Rožnov pod Radhoštěm. That evening we will meet with a local folk dance group at our hotel.

September 15, Wednesday
After loading the bus we will go to nearby town of Valašské Meziříčí to visit a local tapestry workshop. We will spend lunchtime in the historical town of Olomouc with an unusual Plague Column (UNESCO). Our next stop will be a private Carriage Museum. During dinner in Svitavy we will be serenaded by a local accordion player! We will practice a few songs on the way so we should be able to sing several songs together. After our arrival in Litomyšl we will check-in and relax.

September 16, Thursday
We will have a relaxed start this morning. First we will walk around the historical city center of Litomyšl and end up at the UNESCO heritage chateau where we will take a tour, hear its history, and admire the stunning interiors. After the tour you will be on your own for the rest of the morning and lunch. After lunch we will visit a local artist who practices the traditional Czech handicraft: Kraslice (the art of egg decorating). After the tour you will be on your own until early afternoon, when we will go to small town Proseč to visit very special museum of pipes. We will have mostly non-smoking people in the group, I guess, but this museum will be interesting for all of us. After this short visit we have another chance for hikers. The trip will take us into a sandstone labyrinth. Fist part is little difficult, the rest is nice and flat. For those of you who would prefer to skip the labyrinth, there will be alternate possibilities of either a lovely, gentle nature walk or relaxing on the bus for a nap or a bit of reading. Dinner will be together with the group.

September 17, Friday
In the morning we will depart from Litomyšl and our first stop will be in Chrudim for their puppet museum. Then on to Kutná Hora, a very nice medieval town with the famous St. Barbara’s Cathedral that is listed as UNESCO heritage. We will see the cathedral first, then have lunch together and end the afternoon with a walk through the town. After a short bus ride we will finally reach Prague, check-in and walk to a local restaurant for dinner together.

September 18, Saturday
What can we say about this day?! The only possibly program is sightseeing. In the morning we will have a guided tour of the historical center that will give you a good introduction to the city.  In the afternoon you will have time on your own so you will be able to explore parts of the city by yourself. In the evening we will meet again for a dinner cruise on the Vltava River, a magnificent opportunity to see the city from a different perspective.

September 19, Sunday
Today is the time to say farewell. We do not organize transfers to the airport, so you will depart according to your own flight plans. If you are interested staying longer in Prague, let us know and we will help you extend your reservation in the hotel.