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On the Road Again: Czechoslovakia

16 Nov

Picnic grounds in front of Santa Barbara Mission (California)

I so wish we had had iPads back in the days when we lived in Europe. My pre-Thanksgiving week trip to Santa Barbara last week reminded me of our Thanksgiving trips as newlyweds in Europe, when we lived in Stuttgart, Germany.

I have pictures from those trips, but none that can be fabulous digitally like iPad photos. Is it even possible to take a bad iPad photo?

I am thinking tonight of our trip to Czechoslovakia over Thanksgiving of 1990. It would soon be Czech Republic and Slovakia, but we visited when it was still one country.

We also visited within several years after Chernobyl blew up in the Ukraine of the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, the radiation fallout from that event killed all the turkeys in Czechoslovakia, or made them have to be butchered without being eaten. That was the only Thanksgiving we ever had rouladen of beef. It was delicious. Our hotel bent over backwards to make this American holiday special for us.

Prague was beautiful, though newly released from Communism. It had always been called the Paris of the East and thus 40 years of Communist rule could not fully cover its beauty (though the coal dust everywhere almost did! I guess communist countries never worried about having an EPA!).

We walked all over Prague that weekend, getting very familiar with the sites of its student protests that led to the downfall of communism there.

It was beautiful to see the human spirit yearning to be free from oppressive leadership and finding its champion in Vaclav Havel, who also was an award winning playwright as well as the first leader of the freed nation.

But greater still the freedom given us in the cross of Christ. Eternal freedom, that.

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