Prague and the Czech Republic

Tour Intro

Welcome to Prague, the Capital of the Czech Republic. Praha (The name of the city in Czech) is known as the pearl of Europe, it is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled cities in Europe. Here, the natural forms of the land and the river have been enhanced by ten centuries of constructing a significant cultural center. Although the city was isolated behind the Iron Curtain for more than forty years, it has now resumed its place as a major intellectual center of Europe.

For six centuries it has remained nearly untouched by war, leaving intact stunning examples from the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo architectural styles. We will have excellent opportunities to photograph the famous Charles Bridge, the Town Square and narrow alleyways.

Departing Prague for a few days, we move on to the Czech Republic countryside. Czech Republic is proud of the fact that UNESCO lists so many buildings, monuments and natural areas as 'World Heritage' sites of outstanding aesthetic, scientific or historical nature. Kutna Hora was added to the itinerary last year with great success, where you will photograph the lovely St. Barbara’s Church and Italian Court. As we return to Prague there will be photographic stops at Kuks, and time to visit the internment camp at Terezin. Cesky Krumlov is a perfect example, with its Gothic border castle, rebuilt into a huge Renaissance chateau by thirteenth century Italian architects; it is second only to Prague Castle as a fortified Bohemian palace and citadel. The last days provide us with an open schedule so we can return to photograph favorite places in Prague.

The program has been designed for photographers. You will take time to photograph the varied landscape, the distinctive architecture, and the people of this vibrant country. 

 

Tour Highlights

  • Prague, one of the most beautiful and unspoiled cities of Europe
  • Visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, rich castles and monasteries
  • The fairy tale village of Cesky Krumlov - historic jewel of South Bohemia
  • Limited to twelve passengers
  • Ten days with Instructor Tom Bol, experienced photographer and tour leader
  • Accommodations in the center of your photography locations

Tour Itinerary

October 10: Home

Photo By: Ron Rosenstock

Photo Location: Czech Republic

Your journey begins with an overnight flight to Prague, Czech Republic. Group transfer time will be announced for October 11. (meals on plane)

October 11-12: Prague

Photo By: Ron Rosenstock

Photo Location: Charles Bridge, Prague

We arrive in Prague today, where we will have a group transfer to our hotel, check in time 2PM or after. After having a chance to rest from the flight we will meet our guide in the afternoon, taking us to remarkable places in the most gorgeous city of Europe. Rightfully inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list, Prague reveals her renowned charm and beauty, bringing us unforgettable memories. The hotel is centrally located, offering plenty of time on our own for photography.  We will have a group dinner on our first evening together in Prague.

We have organized an optional photography session at Josefov or Joseph’s Town Cemetery, early the next morning. After enjoying lunch on our own in the old town square we will depart for the famous Vyšehrad area, a complex that is regarded as the city’s mythical birthplace. Later in the day you may wish to take a quiet stroll through the ancient gates, past the rotunda of St. Martin and on to the multi-spired church of Saints Peter and Paul, to get a feel for the inner city. St. Martin’s rotunda, reputedly, is Prague's oldest standing building; the small round chapel was once used as a powder magazine. Overnight Certovka, Prague (d; b)

October 13-14: Kutna Hora

Photo By: Ron Rosenstock

Photo Location: Kutna Hora

“The City of One hundred Spires,” Prague is a history lesson comes to life. As you walk among the long stone palaces and pointed towers all around, you will feel as though you had stepped back into the eighteenth century.  Highlights will be the ninth century Prague Castle, place of the coronation of Czech sovereigns and now the seat of the President; Charles Bridge, the oldest original surviving bridge in Europe; and Old Town Square, dominated by the Old Town Hall with the Horologe, the unique Gothic astronomical clock dating from 1410. Our guided city tour will also include St. Nicolas Church and the Vrtba Garden.

After which, we depart Prague, taking in a bit of history and photography. Kuks is an unusual name of a village situated in East Bohemia. It has a special place in the history of Czech culture as an outstanding work of European art. In the 17th century, a remarkable nobleman built within two or three decades a complex which is still a sample of Baroque art at its best.

A visit to the medieval silver mining town of Kutná Hora is a wonderful trip outside Prague. After settling into our hotel we will have the evening to photograph the square at dusk and have dinner. Kutná Hora and the neighboring town of Sedlec are an UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the 13th century, silver was discovered here and a few decades later the royal mint was established. The town became famous for producing the Prague Groschen coins, which were also used elsewhere in Europe, and became the second most important town in the Kingdom of Bohemia. Some of the important sights you will see include the Gothic Saint Barbara Church, the royal residence Wallachian Italian Court (former royal mint), and the Sedlec Ossuary (a church decorated with human bones). The architectural workmanship and structure is composed of various Gothic elements. The church’s interior is decorated with precious frescos illustrating both Christian themes and themes depicting the mining and processing of silver. Overnight Hotel Opat (b, l, d both days)

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October 15-16: Cesky' Krumlov

Photo By: Leslie Weidenman

Photo Location: Cesky Kumlov Castle, Czech Republic

After breakfast and our last photography this morning, we will make a brief stop at the Cervena Lhota Castle, one of the most charmingly situated monuments, set in the romantic scenery of Bohemia. This beautiful water castle is located on a rock, which was turned into a small island by damming up the valley, and raising the level of the surrounding pond. We will reach our destination after having a picnic lunch along the way, perhaps in the Trebon Lake District.

Ceský Krumlov is one of the best-preserved historical towns in Bohemia, with an appearance almost unchanged since the eighteenth century. The Gothic border castle, rebuilt into a huge Renaissance chateau by sixteenth century Italian architects, is second only to Prague Castle as a fortified Bohemian palace and citadel. The Renaissance lords of Rosenberg seated here, possessed the largest land estate in Bohemia, which was given to the Eggenbergs in 1622, and to the Schwarzenbergs in 1719. In 1922, the town was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. 

We will walk from the Inn to the castle, 1810 feet high above the town. Those interested can take an optional educational tour of the castle, or the Baroque Castle Theatre, the oldest and most completely preserved theater building in the world. This may be your best opportunity to select gifts, as you stroll the village cobblestone alleyways, lined with Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque burghers’ houses.

The next morning there will be an early photography walk with your photo leader, returning to hotel for breakfast. There will be free time to walk in town on your own, or if there is inclement weather there will be a photography discussion at the hotel. After lunch there will be photography outside the Vyssi Brod Monastery, landscapes along the Vltava river, and outside the Castle Rozmberk. Overnight Hotel Zlaty Andel, Cesky Krumlov (b, l, d; b, l)

October 17-19: Prague

Photo By: Ron Rosenstock

Photo Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Immediately following breakfast we head north towards Prague, stopping in Holašovice, an UNESCO protected village built in “peasant Baroque style”. Here we will have time to walk and photograph this quaint village, perhaps enjoying a coffee break before continuing north. There will be a photo shoot at the Karlstejn Castle before reaching Prague. We hope to find nice light this afternoon with fall foliage in the forest surrounding this amazing castle. After checking back in to your Prague hotel, there will be free time to have dinner and photograph with Tom.

Mid-morning the next day take a day trip to Terezin. During World War II, the Gestapo used Terezín, better known by the German name Theresienstadt, as a ghetto, concentrating Jews from Czechoslovakia, as well as many from other countries. Though it was not an extermination camp, of the over 150,000 Jews who arrived there, thousands died in the ghetto itself, due to the appalling conditions arising out of extreme population density, and the others were deported to Auschwitz and other extermination camps. This evening is on your own again where there will be free time with your photo leader late this afternoon and blue hour photography around the Charles Bridge and Old Town Square.

Your last full day in this beautiful medieval city, you may wish to rise early and get your best photographs before people fill the streets and bridges. Tom will arrange for either an early morning shoot from Letna Park, built on a plateau above steep embankments along the Vltava River. There will be time to photograph, wander the city streets, visit museums, other historical buildings or revisit some of the neighborhoods from our group walks. Your photo leader will organize specific meeting times for those wanting to photograph in the morning, prior to breakfast or perhaps later in the day. We will then all gather for our farewell dinner. Overnight Hotel Certovka, Prague (b, l; b, l; b, d)

October 20: Prague-Home

Photo By: Ron Rosenstock

Photo Location: Infrared Peacock, Czech Republic

There will be one group transfer (time to be determined) this morning to the Ruzyne Airport, Prague, for our flights home. (b)

Photo Leader

Tom Bol
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Tom Bol

See how Tom Bol got his start at https://vimeo.com/120904640

The September 2011 Photo District News education issue, listed Tom as one of the best photo workshop instructors in the country!

Tom Bol is a freelance photographer specializing in adventure sports, nature, and travel photography. He has been photographing full time for twenty years, and teaching workshops for ten. Assignments have ranged from national ad campaigns for clothing companies to producing images for worldwide tourism clients. With a background in guiding adventure sports, Tom’s editorial assignments often result in interesting situations, including shooting from the bottom of a crevasse on Mt. McKinley, to running into a snow leopard at twenty thousand feet in the Himalayas.

Tom is a regular contributor to Digital Photo and Outdoor Photographer magazine, a contributing photographer at Canoe and Kayak magazine, and a regular speaker at tradeshows representing Nikon and Manfrotto. He was also on the list of National Geographic Adventure’s “50 of America’s Top Visionaries” for his photography.

Note from instructor:

I think workshops are a fantastic way to develop as a photographer, both technically and artistically, and have a lot of fun during the process. On these workshops I’m available at anytime to offer advice and critique of images. I will offer formal classes as well as field demonstrations on technique and creative choices in image making. For those that are interested, we will explore flash technique and light painting. I will also provide participants with “workshop notes”, excerpts from magazine articles I have written on a variety of topics.

I really enjoy working with participants one on one, being able to focus on specific areas with individual’s results in faster, more effective learning. What I enjoy most on workshops is seeing how participants can improve their skills in such a short time.

Having been to numerous workshops over the past 5 years, Tom has to be my favorite instructor. With Tom you are guaranteed 3 things - an in-depth knowledge of photography and lighting with an ability and desire to share this with participants, energy and lots of it, and FUN! Tom loves spending time with his students and getting to know each one, as to maximize the workshop for each person. A workshop with Tom is time well spent.

B. Peterson

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 8 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $400 if 5-7 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.

Single rooms are subject to availability. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.

Testimonials

Having been to numerous workshops over the past 5 years, Tom has to be my favorite instructor. With Tom you are guaranteed 3 things - an in-depth knowledge of photography and lighting with an ability and desire to share this with participants, energy and lots of it, and FUN! Tom loves spending time with his students and getting to know each one, as to maximize the workshop for each person. A workshop with Tom is time well spent.

B. Peterson

Tom Bol is really inspiring and has great positive energy. As a teacher, he really wants you to learn and succeed. I really appreciate his selfless desire to help you improve. His enthusiasm is contagious.

L. Barcheck

Tom is the best. He, the hotels, meals, itinerary, everything was a 10. Jacque, thanks for putting this trip together.

S. Wolfe

Additional Notes

What you'll learn from Tom Bol
The September 2011 Photo District News education issue, listed Tom as one of the best photo workshop instructors in the country!
Tom Bol is a freelance photographer specializing in adventure sports, nature, and travel photography. He has been photographing full time for twenty years, and teaching workshops for ten. Assignments have ranged from national ad campaigns for clothing companies to producing images for worldwide tourism clients. With a background in guiding adventure sports, Tom’s editorial assignments often result in interesting situations, including shooting from the bottom of a crevasse on Mt. McKinley, to running into a snow leopard at twenty thousand feet in the Himalayas. Tom is a regular contributor to Digital Photo and Outdoor Photographer magazine, a contributing photographer at Canoe and Kayak magazine, and a regular speaker at tradeshows representing Nikon and Manfrotto. He was also on the list of National Geographic Adventure’s “50 of America’s Top Visionaries” for his photography.


Note from instructor:
I think tours are a fantastic way to develop as a photographer, both technically and artistically, and have a lot of fun during the process. I’m available at anytime to offer advice and critique of images. I will offer formal classes as well as field demonstrations on technique and creative choices in image making. For those that are interested, we will explore flash technique and light painting. I will also provide participants with “workshop notes”, excerpts from magazine articles I have written on a variety of topics.
I really enjoy working with participants one on one, being able to focus on specific areas with individual’s results in faster, more effective learning. What I enjoy most on workshops is seeing how participants can improve their skills in such a short time.

Please join tour leader Tom Bol for this incredible cultural and photographic opportunity. The emphasis of the trip is on photography, yet this is much more, one that non-photographic travelers can enjoy just as well. Days will be filled with unique photographic opportunities, in that there are so many wonderful hidden places to explore. Your leader will seek out obscure settings to visit and photograph, places you would not find on your own.

Terms and Conditions

Unless otherwise noted, this information applies to all tours.

Airfare

Contact Strabo Tours if you would like rates on International Airfare. Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties. Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.

The land cost includes:
  • Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
  • Accommodations based on two people sharing a room, singles are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
  • Services of driver, English speaking cultural guide (if applicable) and photographic leader, during the tour.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
  • Park entrance fees, day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary.
  • Extensive pre-departure information and services.
The land cost does not include:

Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, photographic equipment, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; fuel surcharges; exchange rate surcharges; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.

Fitness and Health

The majority of trips are not strenuous (see exceptions below for particular destinations) and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most of the activities. You may experience general fatigue due to the long flights and the change in time zones. You will need to be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the tour van and be able to carry and manage your own equipment. We will frequently hike trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some hotels do not have elevators or air conditioners.

If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).

You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.

Exceptions:

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

Deposits, Cancellations AND Refunds

A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic tours) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.

If a passenger wishes to cancel they must send notification in writing to: Strabo International Tour, Co., P.O. Box 580, Dryden, NY 13053; fax 208-545-4119. At the time we receive your notification, the following per person charges apply:

  • 91 days or more before departure: $300 cancellation fee ($150 fee on domestic tours), plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.
  • 61-90 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic tours) minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees may range from 25% to 100% of tour costs.
  • 60 days or less before departure or anytime after departure: NO REFUND.

Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.

Insurance

Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.

We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your trip. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum you’ve invested in it (see the section “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds” in the trip brochure).

Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.

There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.

Subject to Change

Itineraries have been carefully constructed to assure participants the best each destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. The itineraries summarize typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.

Photo Release

Strabo International Tour Company, Inc. reserves the right and permission to use photographs of individuals on tour for use in promotional and publicity purposes. We also reserve the right to use clients photographs for promotional and publicity purposes, when submitted to Strabo International Tour Company, Inc.

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