Uherský Brod days #2 and 3

Our Saturday started with a guided tour of Uherský Brod. Walking around this town makes me feel so connected to my grandmother and her family.

We discovered that the birthplace of Jan Amos Comenius is Uherský Brod! This is serendipitous because John is teaching at Comenius University in Slovakia- named after the great Czech scholar, Protestant religious dissident, and educational reformer. There are many important sites dedicated to him.

One of the oldest Hussite churches with tributes to Comenius.
Comenius was a religious refugee and excommunicated from the Kingdom of Bohemia.
Comenius’s childhood home.
A famous sculptor donated a sculpture to UB in honor of Comenius. This represents a map of Moravia that Comenius made 400 years ago.
The North Gate of the city of UB is a museum dedicated to Czech history and Comenius. My cousin’s maternal uncle was one of the first curators of the museum.
A memorial to the end of the Velvet Revolution. This is a flag made of keys. The kids learned about the passive protest of clinking keys from the museum in Bratislava. Here, we heard stories of my family clinking keys in that very spot.

The museum was incredible. There were interactive areas for the kids and detailed and interesting accounts of Comenius’s life.

A replica of a classroom from Comenius’s time (400 years ago).
V was pretending to be the boys’ teacher.
An interactive more modern day replica of a classroom.
Comenius’s 6 categories of students (as we can see from category six, he created these in the….uhh less politically correct 17th century). The kids pondered which category they would fit into.
McCarthys were here. 😑
Uherský Brod means Hungarian Ford- this is an early map of the city.
Traditional dress- this is the UB folk costume and is likely actually from my family.
This is what my Grandmother’s living room looked like. We used to joke with her about the number of clocks she had.
Medival weaponry
The museum hosts concerts and dances in the warm weather.

The visit to the museum was really special and we learned so much about the history of the city and Comenius.

We took a lovely walk to go and visit Vera’s 96 year-old mother. Although she is bedridden, her mind is 100% intact. She remembered my visit 13 years ago with my mom and Veronica in my belly. It was so fun for her to see me again and meet John and the kids. Her granddaughter is also named Veronica and after the visit when I was pregnant, the decision to give Veronica her name was final.

Veronica especially liked meeting Marie.

Outside her door is a painting of my Great-Great Grandfather Rudolf.

This was also on a bench ❤️

Next we walked to the cemetery where my family members are buried.

My relatives from Canada had been here in the fall to visit and laid the heart of candles that Vera keeps intact.

Seeing Marie and visiting the grave of my family was overwhelming. It is hard to describe what that feels like and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have been there and to show my kids their roots.

The train station again.

Walking around UB brought up many stories that Vera shared with us. The reality of her life under communism came up frequently and although the kids attention would frequently wander off, they listened fully when we stopped here.

Vera told us a story about how when she was 16, she had been walking up this street with her girlfriend and her parents trailing when they heard some shouting from across the road. This was in 1968, the year The Red Army had forcibly occupied Czechoslovakia to crush the Prague Spring. There were Soviet soldiers literally all over the country, even in little Uherský Brod. Soviet soldiers were yelling at them, and the girls decided to not turn their attention but to keep walking. Frustrated, the soldiers started shooting and Vera and her friend rounded the corner to hide where the garbage bins are. Why did they shoot? Because Vera had on jeans- a gift to her that was very uncommon.

We ended up on this corner a few more times over the weekend and each time the kids remembered the spot and acknowledged what had happened there.

We had walked many miles and learned many things that were more interesting to adults so we promised the kids that we would check out the Aquapark near our hotel.

I loved the saunas overlooking the pools.
Ryan jumping on the water trampoline.
The slide- Joe also mastered this one which had many different trippy lights in it.

After swimming, Vera insisted we come back to her house for more food and drink.

The house shoes were waiting for my kids- perfectly sized because of their cousins.
The Slivovitz cellar (where the plum brandy is stored.

We thought it was hilarious how useful the slivovitz is. Are you cold? Slivovitz. Are you sick? Slivovitz. Everyday greeting? Slivovitz.

Our kids discovered the Czech version of “sorry” while waiting to see Marie (below) and so when we were at Vera’s, they got the game out again. The adults thoroughly enjoyed conversation while the kids got their sibling aggression out by knocking each other off the board.

We said goodnight and planned to meet up the next morning at mass.

Immaculate Conception

The kids were so good during mass in Czech. Again, I felt so connected to my family.

Vera told us that there is a small social gathering after mass outside. The kids were really excited for donuts. Better than donuts, there were many home baked goods and hot drinks. The kids were hoping for hot chocolate so they bounded up to grab some. There wasn’t hot chocolate. But there was hot mulled wine!

Before we left, Vera wanted us to see the folk dancers that were dancing all over the city. It was a celebration that only happens once a year- the weekend before Lent. Sadly, it was raining so the dancers were packed in tightly. However, the music and dancing were terrific! Ladia, Vera’s husband was a member of that folk band and so all of his friends were there.

Sadly, it was time for us to board our train. We had a spectacular weekend even though the kid cousins couldn’t come. The great news was that we would see everyone again!


3 thoughts on “Uherský Brod days #2 and 3

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