Traveler Notes: Art and Film in the Czech Republic
Tiny World Tours, 25 June – 2 July, 2018
(VERSION dated 29 June 2018)
We recommend you take the following actions as soon as possible:
- Check now that your passport is up to date and is valid for at least 6 months after your arrival date, and preferably has two blank pages. Click here for express passport information.
- Scan or photocopy your passport identity pages and credit cards and leave one set at home with family or friends and bring one set packed safely in your suitcase.
- Inform your debit-/credit-card & ATM card companies by phone at the numbers on the back of each card of your intended travel dates and destinations.
- Arrange for appropriate travel insurance. We recommend Travel Select Insurance by Travelex. http://www.travelexinsurance.com/travel-insurance/plans/travel-select
- Contact your cell-phone provider to inquire about roaming charges or registering for an international plan. Most providers now offer a $10/day “international pass” that enables very low cost (and often unlimited) calls, text messaging, and data in a long list of many foreign countries that typically includes the Czech Republic.
- Install WhatsApp on your cell phone and send a message to Mark Holzbach
Weather in June and July
This is a wonderful time to visit the Czech Republic.
The daytime temperatures usually range around 65° to 75° F degrees, with cooler evenings, especially by the river. Cooler or warmer days and occasional rain showers may also be possible, so we suggest a small travel umbrella and layers, such as a wrap, sweater or light jacket, which can also “dress up” more casual daytime clothes for an evening out.
Try to pack lightly and efficiently.
On most days we will have a break between our daytime touring and evening activities, but to simplify your packing, items of clothing that can take you from day to night are the most practical. Exploring Prague on foot is the way we will maximize your experiences, but cobblestone walkways and stone stairs can be unkind to feet and knees. Bring more than one pair of reliable shoes. Close-toed, supportive walking shoes are a must—Dana and Mark will be wearing sneakers during the day, and comfortable shoes in the evening. Pack a light jacket or sweater in a neutral color for evenings when you're eating alfresco or walking to the bridge, theater, clubs, or concerts or making late-night bar stops. Most Praguers are pretty style-conscious and take pleasure in looking good; folk here still dress up for dinner.
In Karlovy Vary, during the days the international set will be dressing ‘smart casual.’ The June 29th Opening Gala is Black Tie, and gowns for women and tuxedos for the men are standard. We recommend that men bring their own tuxes because of the additional cost, inconvenience, and uncertainty of renting tuxes in Prague or Karlovy Vary. Dana and Mark and several guests are doing this. If you have forward travel plans and would like help shipping clothes such as formal wear home, please let us know. Our main group hotel in Karlovy Vary, the Atlantic Palace Hotel, located in the city center, offers many spa and wellness services, outlined here. Throughout history these services at Atlantic Palace have been quite popular, serving Goethe, Beethoven, Mozart, and Paganini, so reservations should be made in advance.
For a description of services and prices visit: http://www.atlantic-palace.cz/wellness/
And to make a reservation email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other convenient items include:
- European two-pin electrical adapters and transformers for higher-voltage equipment. Adapters are small and highly recommended (for an example, please click here). European voltage is 220, so you may need a transformer for US appliances that are 110. Computers, phones, and cameras are usually dual voltage and usually have 110/220 written on the charger in small print. Please check before you plug something in! When there, consider purchasing a cheap extension cord with multiple sockets because accommodations often are lacking in electrical outlets.
- Umbrella and/or packable waterproof jacket.
- A small day-pack (the smaller the better to avoid having to check it when visiting museums).
- A simple billfold or change purse to keep your Czech bills and coins easily accessible.
Travelers will be arriving both from the air and by rail—Mark Holzbach has your arrival details and will confirm with you personally your transport from the arrival spot to your hotel.
Please wait in the Arrivals Area for your transport; if after fifteen minutes you do not see someone with a card with your name, please contact Mark through WhatsApp or via cell: 001 512.689.6777. The Prague airport is approximately 45 minutes and the central train station is approximately 10 minutes from the Dancing House Hotel.
The Czech currency is the crown (Koruna česká; Kč). It is listed at banks and exchange windows as CZK. $1US = ~25 CZK, so for a quick conversion, so 250 CZK = $10, 500 CZK = $20, etc. Click here for more about currency and customs.
ATMs are widely available; be sure to call your bank before your departure and have a numerical PIN. International transactions are often blocked unless prior notification has been received; in case of problems, have bank phone numbers copied or written down separate from the card itself. The daily limit ranges from $300-$600, though some banks will allow you to request a higher limit. If you get a message refusing the withdrawal, try requesting a lower amount. Credit and debit cards are accepted in most hotels and restaurants; some cards have no foreign currency conversion charge, please call your card provider in advance to check.
The Czech Republic is not a traditional tipping culture, though service workers in contact with foreign visitors will expect something.
- Hotels Tip the bellman at top-end hotels 20Kč to 50Kč per large bag for assistance; gratuity for cleaning staff is at your discretion.
- Pubs Not expected, though you can round up to the nearest 10Kč if the service is good.
- Restaurants For decent service 10%.
- Taxis Not expected, though you can round up to the nearest 10Kč for good service.
Prague is 7 hours ahead of Texas and 6 hours ahead of New York. For example, when it is 8:00 am in Texas, it's 9:00 am in New York, and 3:00 pm in Prague on the same day. One can check the current time in any city or state using a cell phone’s international clock app or by google searches such as “Current Time in Texas”
Before leaving the USA, please install WhatsApp on your phone (https://www.whatsapp.com/) and then message Mark Holzbach (ideally within the app otherwise via email). It is critical that you install WhatsApp on your phone and have an activated international data roaming plan before leaving the US or we may not be able to communicate when time is of the essence for information about your trip. With WhatsApp you may also use hotel or public wifi to save international data roaming charges (and please just remember to turn off cell data at that time). Then please remember to do the opposite when you leave hotel or public wifi: turn off the wifi and turn on your cell phone data roaming or your cell phone may not connect to the cell network and we will be unable to communicate by WhatsApp. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of having the international data plan/WhatsApp combination for the relaxing flow of your trip and avoidance of stressful situations that we can easily and quickly handle with instant communications.
Public transportation in the Czech Republic is generally very good, saves time to get across town quickly and provides an authentic experience of city life. In Prague, we will provide you with a transit map and three-day metro pass allowing unlimited on-and-off tram, bus, and metro transport.
Passengers on public transportation must validate the pass on the first journey by inserting it into a validator found inside trams and buses and in the entry halls of Metro stations.
- Travelers may encounter plain-clothes ticket inspectors wearing small metal badges with “Přepravní Kontrola” on them at any time. Fines for failure to have a validated ticket range from 50 to 1500 CZK. In Prague, the usual fine is 800 CZK if paid on the spot or within 15 days. Inspectors should provide a receipt for on-the-spot payments.
- Trams always have the right of way over pedestrians, including at crosswalks. Remember to look both ways before crossing!
- Legitimate taxis are clearly marked, and the US Embassy strongly recommends calling for a taxi rather than hailing one on the street. If calling is not possible, visitors should get taxis at clearly marked “Fair Place” stands. The potential for substantial overcharging in taxis exists, particularly in tourist areas. Agree on a price in advance or ensure the driver is using the meter.
- Mobile “ride share” applications for transportation sharing are legal and functional in many Czech cities. For example, Uber is available in Prague.
Tiny World Tours: A few basic guidelines
- Everything is optional! We’ve planned a variety of experiences, but feel free to choose to explore on your own or take the afternoon off—please let us know by phone or What’sApp if you are opting out so we won’t wait for you.
- Out of respect for others, please be on time for departures, meals, etc, or let us know you are running late and we can make arrangements for you to catch up by taxi or meet us later.
- If you are unhappy with any part of the Tiny World Tour experience, rather than sharing it with other guests, please let Mark and Dana know as quickly as possible so we can address the issue.
- Please download the Vodafone KVIFF Guide 2018 for your mobile phone:
- Ms. Nela Siřínková is our KVIFF festival guide and will be accompanying us for some of our Prague activities as well as in Karlovy Vary.
- Milena Kalinovská, Director of Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art, National Gallery in Prague will join us for our welcome dinner
- Tomas Krejci, CEO of Prague Studios and Executive Producer of Milk & Honey Pictures, will join us for our welcome dinner
- Otto Urban, Independent Fine Art Professional, will be our guide through the Czech National Gallery (he
Monday June 25
Check into Dancing House Hotel, address: Jiráskovo náměstí 1981/6, 12000 Prague 2 (Czech Republic), tel:+42,0720983172
4:30 PM: Meet at the hotel front desk for an informal neighborhood stroll (optional)
6:30 PM: Hotel Rooftop Welcome Cocktails followed by Dinner – Hotel Rooftop followed by Ginger & Fred Restaurant
Tuesday June 26
Morning on your own
11:45 AM: Depart from the hotel front desk for luncheon at FIELD restaurant
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM: Spend the afternoon exploring highlights of Czech modern and contemporary visual art and design (including early abstraction, cubism, nationalism and socialist realism, political and conceptual art) with experts associated with the Czech National Gallery. Includes museums, galleries, and public sculpture walking tour.
5:00 PM: Return to hotel or continue exploring the city.
Evening on your own for shopping, dinning, or a concert.
Wednesday June 27
10:30 AM: Depart from the hotel front desk for a strolling Food Tour of Prague Neighborhoods
4:30 PM: Return to hotel
7:20 PM: Depart from the hotel front desk for the National Theatre - New Stage (Nová scéna) Laterna magika, address: Národní 4, Praha 1
7:40 PM (sharp): Meet in the lobby of the New Stage to get your tickets from Mark for the 8 PM performance of “Cube”
Description: "Cube is a new show within the successful LaternaLAB, a project that has primarily found inspiration in original Laterna magika productions, blending together film images and live performance. It makes use of the current video mapping from several projectors placed in different spots. The visual composition draws upon the motif of the “cube”, in all kinds of possible variants that surround us.
Owing to its structure and the potentialities provided by 3D visualisation, the Rubik’s Cube will represent one of the main motifs. By means of a very simple basic scenography and detailed, accurately focused projection, it is possible to markedly change its perspective, movement and surface, thus affecting the overall space, dynamism and time. A modern and precise choreography enhances the film illusion and, vice versa, the film illusion supports the performer’s movement on the stage."
Thursday June 28
10:00 AM: Depart from the hotel front desk for an Architecture Tour of Prague, including lunch (~1 PM)
4:00 PM: Return to hotel / time on your own.
6:30 PM: Depart from the hotel front desk for dinner at Eska restaurant.
Friday June 29
~9:30 AM: Check out of the Dancing House hotel and depart by coach to Karlovy Vary
late morning arrival at Hotel Atlantic Palace. Hotel address: Tržiště 23/37, 360 01 Karlovy Vary, tel.: +420 353 224 109
Lunch details to be confirmed.
Afternoon: Explore downtown Karlovy Vary, enjoy a spa service, hair and makeup appointments for the ladies
12:45 PM: Ladies depart with Nela for 1 PM (sharp) hair and makeup appointment at Grand Hotel Pupp
5:30 PM: Depart Hotel Atlantic Palace via motorcade for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (KVIFF) Opening Ceremony
18:00 Opening Ceremony with welcome speech, artistic performance by Bratri Cabanove; and recognition of Austin Film Society
Film Screening: Loves of a Blonde by Milos Forman
Break for drinks and food
22:45 From the VIP zone, enjoy the open air concert of the Czech National Symphony Orchestra featuring music from the films of Milos Foreman, followed by fireworks and van ride back to the Hotel Atlantic Palace
Saturday June 30
10:45 AM: Van departs from the Hotel Atlantic Palace for the Austin Film Society VIP Brunch at Male Versailles restaurant. After brunch, the van will drive you to the Hotel Atlantic Palace or to the Hotel Thermal (or you may walk)
12:00 PM - some members of our group will leave early for the 12:30 PM screening of DAMSEL
14.00 PM: Screening of Short films (Skunk, Rat Pack Rat, 1985, The Rabbit Hunt, Carne Seca, Pioneer) in Drahomira cinema, with a personal introduction by Rebecca Campbell.
16.30 PM: Depart Hotel Thermal for Walking history tour of Karlovy Vary
18:30 PM: Evening on your own:
Films (please pre-select so we can make reservations
Dinner--explore casual dining options on your own or
For finer dining, please select from these restaurants and notify Mark so we can make reservations:
- Embassy Restaurant : https://embassy.cz/en/restaurant
- Sasazu: https://www.sasazu.com/en/story
- Riverside: https://www.retroriverside.cz/gastronomy/
9 PM - group dinner reservation at Sasazu.
9 PM - Beale's dinner reservation for two at Riverside (La Terrazzo)
After party at Emperor Spa (in front of Grand Hotel Pupp)
23.59 PM: Screening of the film El Mariachi in Small Hall, Hotel Thermal, with personal introduction by Ms. Campbell. [OPTIONAL: Please notify Mark well in advance so we can reserve tickets]
Sunday July 1
Morning: AFS guests are welcome to take advantage of the festival program (Please notify Mark in advance so we can reserve tickets). Also, as a spa town, Karlovy Vary offers a vast range of treatments that they might want to enjoy. Book at the Hotel Atlantic Palace directly, or KVIFF can assist with requests.
TBD: Private group tour of Moser Crystal Factory including the glass blowing studios and history museum- please let us know if you are interested in reserving this tour - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
13.00 PM: Pick up by festival van at Hotel Atlantic Palace, departure to Dancing House Hotel, Prague. Lunch plans to be confirmed
14.30 PM: Arrival in Prague, hotel check in.
Evening on your own [Concerts, dinner, boat tour] or casual group activities.
Monday, July 2
Dancing House Hotel check out and departures for the airport or train stations by arrangement
Prague Restaurant Recommendations
- George Prime Steak (Steak House, Platnéřská 19, 110 00, Praha 1 – Old Town)
- La Finestra in Cucina (fine Italian, Platnéřská 90/13 110 00, Praha 1 – Old Town)
- Brasiliero (traditional Brasilian skewered meat, U Radnice 13/8 110 00 Prague 1, Old Town)
- Sasazu (very popular and highly regarded Asian fusion, Bubenské nábřeží 306
170 04 Prague )
- Sansho (Michelin Bib gourmand winner several times in a row. Asian fusion, Petrská 25, 110 00 Praha, New Town)
- Sia (asian fusion-V Celnici 1034/6 110 00 Praha 1,New Town)
- Next Door (traditional Czech-Zlatnicka 3, Prague 1, New Town)
- Café Savoy (evokes the atmosphere of the cafés of the First Czechoslovakian Republic, Vítězná 5, 150 00 Prague 5 - Malá Strana)
Karlovy Vary Screening Recommendations from Holly Herrick, Head of Film & Creative Media at the Austin Film Society and KVIFF Staff picks (marked by *)
- THE WILD PEAR TREE 9:00 AM
- DAMSEL 12:30 PM
- TOUCH ME NOT 12:30 PM
- 3 FACES 1:00 PM
- DIAMONDS OF THE NIGHT 2:00 PM (retro screening)
- SKUNK, RAT PACK RAT, 1985, The Rabbit Hunt, Dried Meat (Carne Seca), Pioneer 2:00 PM (introduction by Rebecca Campbell)
- THE FIREFLIES ARE GONE 5:00 PM (official selection / competition)*
- PUTIN'S WITNESSES 6:30 PM (documentary films competition)*
- CRYSTAL SWAN 6:30 PM *
- GIRL by Lukas Dhont 7:00 PM
- AND BREATHE NORMALLY 7:30 PM
- RAFIKI 9 PM (first Kenyan film to be chosen for Cannes’ Official Selection)*
- BLACKkKlansman by Spike Lee 10:30 PM
- SWEET COUNTRY - 9 AM*
- AMAL - 10 AM
- EVERYBODY KNOWS – 1:00 PM
- REDEMPTION – 5:00 PM
- BIRDS OF PASSAGE – 7:00 PM
A few Czech movie recommendations (most available via streaming online):
- 1967, "The Fireman's Ball": Milos Foreman's last film before he emigrated to the USA
- 1969, "Svetáci": a comedy depicting the lives of three country plasterers tempted by Prague night life in Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia
- 1996, "Kolya": a comedy/drama depicting the life of a concert cellist in Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia
- 1999, "Cosy Dens": a comedy/drama depicting two families in Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia
- 1999, "The Idiot Returns": a romance/comedy/drama about current topics in the Czech Republic.
- 2000, "Divided We Fall": a comedy/drama depicting a childless couple who agree to hide a Jewish friend at great personal risk of discovery and execution during WWII in Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia.
- 2005, "Something Like Happiness": A drama about current topics in the Czech Republic.
Shops Near the Dancing House Hotel (gifts):
- Papelote, https://www.papelote.eu/
- Hugochodibos, http://www.hugochodibos.cz/en/
- Zahrada na Niti, https://www.zahradananiti.cz/en/?h=1528991521
Shops NOT so near the Dancing House Hotel (gifts):
- Qubus Design, http://www.qubus.cz/en/
- Artel Glass Design, http://www.artelglass.com/stores/
- Kavka Art Books, https://www.kavkaartbooks.com/s/kontakt
Please let Mark or Dana know if you have any questions, concerns, or information to share.