LEAD 32 Intl Travel/Study - Czech Republic

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LEAD Group 32 International Study/Travel Seminar
Czech Republic

Monday, January 20

Audio interview with Matt Boos, LEAD 32 Fellow — 2 ¼ minutes
Audio interview with Kurt Kircher, LEAD 32 Fellow — 1 ¾ minutes

After our university visit in Krakow, we traveled to the Czech Republic to tour a Wooden Open Air Museum near the town of Roznov pod Radhortem. Here we were treated to a traditional Czech meal of garlic soup, deer meat, Carlsbad dumplings and frgal. Frgal is a traditional Moravian cake. We thought it was a poppy seed desert pizza.

After the meal, the tour began with a lecture on the history of the museum that dates back to the 1920's when locals decided to preserve old wooden structures that were disappearing from the area. Only a handful of buildings are original structures; however the museum is filled with recent recreations of original structures from the area.

About mid-day, the group boarded the bus bound for Brno, a city in the Southern Moravian Region of the Czech Republic. After a quick check-in at our hotel, we set out for a walking tour of the city in the rain. The photos below are of a few sites we visited, including the Parnassus Fountain.

Wooden Museum
Wooden Museum
Frgal, a traditional Moravian cake
          Brno at Night
Brno at Night
Brno City Hall
Brno City Hall
Sts. Peter and Paul Church
Saints Peter and Paul Church
Parnas Fountain
Parnas Fountain
From Brno website: In the Middle Ages, stalls had already begun to be put up around the Parnas Fountain. It was built between 1690 and 1695 according to the design of Vienna architect Jan Bernard Fischer z Erlach. The fountain symbolizes a cave among natural rocks. Three allegorical figures represent three old empires - Babylon, Persia and Greece. Water was supplied into the fountain by means of the oldest Brno water-conduit from the river Svratka.

Tuesday, January 21

Audio interview with Roman Hruba, Czech Republic Ag Producer — 5 ¼ minutes>
Audio Report of the day's activities — 30 seconds

Lead 32 Fellows spent the morning with Mr. Roman Hruba of Morvia, touring a farm and learning about current Czech Republic ag production. The farm Mr. Hruba works on, has animal, crop and value added production. This includes 600 cattle, wheat, barley and corn. The value added production is electrical power, generated from a biogas generator which consumes animal waste mixed with forage products.

The afternoon was spent at Lesany Farms where we learned about current Czech Republic dairy, pork and crop production. The owner of the farm spoke about his dairy herd as well as his unique blend of crops which include poppy seed and cumin. This farm also operated a small beef product fabrication plant.

To finish the day, we traveled to a local farm implement dealership and service center. P&L has several locations across the Czech Republic. One of the service technicians, Mr. Kubicek, gave the group a tour of their operation which sells New Holland, Kinze and Great Plains American equipment lines as well as other European machinery.

Dairy cattle barn
Dairy cattle barn
Farm visit
          Dairy Parlor
24 stall dairy parlor
John Deere Tractor
John Deere Tractor
Kolach, especially delicious on a cold wet day
Snowing during farm visit
Implement Dealer Lot
Implement Dealer Lot
Fuel prices
An item of interest, local fuel prices, when converted to U.S. dollars and gallon they are:
  Natural 95 (Regular Gas) $6.93/gal
  E-85 $5.28/gal
  Diesel $6.93/gal
  LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas) $3.39/gal

Wednesday, January 22

Audio interview with Warren Coulter, LEAD 32 Fellow — 2 ¼ minutes
Audio interview with Tyson Shimmer, LEAD 32 Fellow — 2 minutes
Video clip of the Changing of the Guards at Praha Castle — 25 seconds

The group left Brno traveling by bus for 3 hours to Praha. Upon arrival, we had lunch on the grounds of Praha Castle. The meal was followed by a walking tour of the Praha Castle gates and the changing of the guards, St. Vitas Cathedral and finally The Charles Bridge.

Landscape on the way to Praha
          Lunch at Praha Castle
Lunch at Praha Castle
Changing of the Guards
Changing of the Guards at Praha Castle
Tower along our walk with in Praha
Praha view
View of Praha
Praha view
Another view of the city
LEAD 32 Group
LEAD 32 Fellows still going strong

Thursday, January 23

Audio interview with Felipe Macias, European representative of U.S. Meat Export Federation — 4 ¼ minutes
Audio interview with Jessi Doke, LEAD 32 Fellow — 2 minutes
Video clip of the Prague astronomical clock striking the hour in Old Town Square — 25 seconds

This was our last day in Praha (Prague) in which the group spent the first part of the day visiting the American Center. There we had the opportunity to be briefed by several U.S. Embassy Foreign Service Officers, Including Steve Butler, Economic Officer, who talked about the Czech Republic's government, economy, agriculture and commerce. The foreign service employees were very kind to spend a few hours with us and provide us time to ask numerous questions about their jobs and the Czech Republic.

At the end of session at the American Embassy we had a tour and then we had some free time for lunch. Some fellows chose to visit local restaurants, while others made purchases from street vendors and did some sightseeing on their own. After lunch, we traveled by bus to the Jewish Section of Praha and visited several historical Jewish sites, including a museum with the names of Praha Jews that were deported during WWII, a medieval Jewish Graveyard from the 15th century where Rabi Low, creator of the fictional character Golem, in Jewish literature, is buried, and finally a synagogue.

The group then took some time to visit more historical sites and squares in Praha. Those sites include the Powder Gate of the Old Town fortification (1475), Tyn Church, a Romanesque church rebuilt in the Gothic style (1350-1511). Our final major stop was to watch the Prague astronomical clock, or Prague orloj, strike the hour in Old Town Square (link to short video above).

Steve Butler
Steve Butler speaking, he is the U.S. Embassy Economic Officer, serving his second tour of duty in Prague and has 16 years of total experience with the foreign service.
          American Center Session
Session at American Center
Powder Gate of the Old Town
Powder Gate of the Old Town
Jewish cemetery
Jewish cemetery
Tyn Church
Tyn Church

Friday, January 24

Audio interview with Stephanie Perry, LEAD 32 Fellow — 2 minutes
Audio interview with Terry Hejny, LEAD Director — 3 minutes