Czech Republic Photo Tour
Prague to the Moravian Tuscany
September 8-18, 2022
Budapest Extension Sept. 18-21
Jeff Hirsch Photo Leader
Tour Highlights ~ A Photographic and Cultural Adventure
- Prague, one of the most beautiful and unspoiled cities of Europe
- Be some of the first to photograph what is considered the Moravian Tuscany
- 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, experienced photographer & leader
- Accommodations in the center of your photography locations
- Optional Extension to Budapest and the surrounding countryside
Strabo Photo Tour Collection:
Prague and the Moravian Tuscany
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 You will have excellent opportunities to photograph the famous Charles Bridge, Town Square, narrow alleyways and other stunning examples from the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo architectural styles.. Take a day trip to the internment camp at Terezin.
Departing Prague you move in 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 with great
success, where you will photograph the lovely St. Barbara’s Church and Italian Court.
Explore Cesky Krumlov, 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. In 2017 Strabo made the addition of Moravian Tuscany, which was a highlight of the tour. It is a very picturesque region in the southern part of Moravia, located in the Hodonín District, near the town of Kyjov. Lastly you will travel a bit further to Budapest Hungary for your farewell dinner of the main program. Those that wish to immerse themselves in Buda and Pest for the optional extended stay will continue your photography exploration with Jeff.
Jeff Hirsch is a photographer and photo-educator with over 30 years of experience in the field of photography, digital imaging, and graphic design. A master of "geek-to- english" translation and an Adobe Certified Expert in Lightroom and Photoshop, he teaches photography and photo workflow to individuals and groups. Along with his own class offerings, Jeff also teaches for the International Photography Hall of Fame and the Missouri Botanical Garden as part of their “Shaw Photography Series”.
Jeff is a frequent presenter at camera clubs both locally and nationally where he speaks on a wide variety of photographic subjects including street and travel photography, black and white photography, color management, photo restoration, book and slideshow creation, photographic workflow and more. Photo education IS his passion.
When he’s not teaching or locked down by a global pandemic, you will find Jeff leading photo tours to beautiful locations at home and abroad including Iceland, Cuba, Italy, Greece, New Zealand, Cambodia, Thailand, and more. Jeff’s ultimate goal on any trip is to help photographers make more compelling and engaging images as they travel the world. Information about Jeff's classes and workshops can be found at: http://www.jeffhirsch.com
What to Expect
The emphasis of the trip is on photography, yet this is much more, one that non-photographic travelers can enjoy just as well. You will need comfortable walking shoes as many of the days are filled with walking the cobblestone streets and bridges with in the cities. Those who wish can always take an optional taxi which the guide can assist you in obtaining. There will also be days with less activity as you travel from one location to another. Your leader will seek out obscure settings to visit and photograph, places you would not find on your own.
This tour is designed to be a photo tour, and, as such, you must be flexible in our scheduling. Much of the itinerary, and when you do it, will depend upon weather and light. You will, however, visit the major sites listed in each city. There will be many early morning and late evenings so you can take advantage of the light. Depending on the location there may be opportunity to have a rest at the hotel during the afternoon.
Jeff is a comprehensive and thorough teacher, with a gift for patience and explaining things so that anybody can understand. He is comfortable with the basics, and he is also my most trusted coach when it comes to advanced technology and artistic critique. I grabbed the opportunity to go on a trip he led to Iceland: he was enthusiastic, encouraging, attentive to the needs of the participants, and friendly. My photography took a giant leap forward, and I had a wonderful time. It was my best experience ever as a photographer. - John May
Jeff’s leadership and superb organization led to a gratifying and totally enjoyable travel experience. Jeff is able to teach the technical nuances of my camera to employ the use of my eyes and mind resulting in an outstanding photographic experience. Jeff’s review of our group’s “best images of the day” employs thoughtful and constructive comments that improved our individual photographs. - Alan Morris
I have been on several trips and taken numerous workshops with Jeff Hirsch. The one thing about Jeff, in addition to his upbeat and enthusiastic personality, that allows me to recommend his offerings without hesitation is the amount of thoughtful planning and preparation he has invested in them. Mother Nature may let you down on your trip but Jeff never will. - Susan Hauser
Thu September 8 Home
Your journey begins with an overnight flight to *Prague, Czech Republic. Group transfer time will be announced for September 9. (meals on plane)
PLEASE NOTE: Main tour and Extension are completed in Budapest, Hungary. Therefore all flight schedules are to be issued multi-city: Home/Prague (PRG) – Budapest/Home (BUD).
Fri-Mon September 9-12 Prague
Arrive in Prague today, where you will have a group transfer (time to be announced) to your hotel, check in time 2PM or after. After having a chance to rest from the flight you will meet your guide in the afternoon, taking you to remarkable places in the most gorgeous city of Europe. “The City of One hundred Spires,” Prague is a history lesson that comes to life and is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. 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. The hotel is centrally located, offering plenty of time on our own for photography. Enjoy a group dinner on your first evening together in Prague.
Enjoy an early morning photo shoot with your photo leader the next morning on the Charles Bridge, the oldest original surviving bridge in Europe, then return to the hotel for breakfast. Your local guide will join you in taking the tram to Belvedere Park looking over this historic city. Highlights will be the ninth century Prague Castle, place of the coronation of Czech sovereigns and now the seat of the President. Enjoy photographing the St. Vitus Cathedral (entry if allowed), the Royal Garden and ramparts of the castle. After lunch this afternoon continue on to the largest graveyard in Prague, Olsany. Built during a plague epidemic it is a beautifully planned public work. Late this afternoon or early evening you will float along the Vltava River as you photograph the city from a different perspective.
Another day a pre-breakfast photo shoot could include a walk up to the Metronome overlooking the Vlatva River. Afterwards enjoy a guided photography walk in the Old Town Square, dominated by the Old Town Hall with the Horologe, the unique Gothic astronomical clock dating from 1410. There will be an option to walk along the riverfront to the ‘Dancing House’ (architect Frank Gehry), afterwards stop at a local café for a bit of Prague culture. There will be free time this afternoon and evening for you to wander on your own or with your photo leader.
Your last full day in Prague 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. Before returning to Prague there is a lovely non-touristy town of Ustek, where you can photograph traditional architecture and wander the quaint cobblestone streets. This evening is on your own where there will be free time with your photo leader and blue hour photography around the Charles Bridge and Old Town Square. Overnight Prague (D; B, D; B; B, L)
Tue September 13 Kutna Hora
Enjoy photography on the off the beaten path areas before departing Prague. Next move on to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kutná Hora. In the 13th century, silver was discovered here and a few decades later the royal mint was established. It became the second most important town in the Kingdom of Bohemia. Sedlec another UNESCO World Heritage Site holds the Sedlec Ossuary (a church decorated with human bones). The architectural workmanship and structure is composed of various Gothic elements. After settling into your hotel you will have the evening to photograph the square and the Gothic Saint Barbara Church at dusk. Overnight Kutna Hora (B, D)
Wed-Thu September 14-15 Ceský Krumlov
There will be photography in different light this morning of this beautiful region. Return to the hotel for breakfast and make your way to Ceský Krumlov, on the UNESCO World Heritage list. There will be a photography stop along the way to the very picturesque Cervena Lhota Castle. 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 next day 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. 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. Stroll the village cobblestone alleyways, lined with Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque burghers’ houses. Meet the group after and depart for the Vyssi Brod Monastery, landscapes along the Vltava river, and photography outside the Castle Rozmberk. Overnight Cesky Krumlov (B, L, D; B, L)
Fri September 16 Moravian Tuscany - Kyjov
Leaving Kutna Hora this morning there will be a photography stop at Cizov Iron Curtain. Kyjov is located in what is being called the Moravian Tuscany. This is a new addition to see an area few tourists are traveling to. Photograph amidst beautiful landscape locations in the rolling hills of this region, it will indeed remind you of Tuscany or Palouse. Various lines, lonely chapels, groves and tree “islands” in the fields will excite your senses and your lens. Overnight Kyjov (B, L, D)
Sat September 17 Bratislava Slovakia – Budapest
There will be additional photography this morning in this unique area before traveling further southeast to Budapest Hungary. There will be photo ops along the way to in another architecturally rich city, Bratislava, Slovakia. Continue on your route and after checking in to the hotel late this afternoon enjoy a brief walking tour in Budapest with your guide and farewell dinner. Overnight Budapest (B, D)
Sun September 18 Budapest – Home – or Optional Budapest Extension
There will be one group transfer (time to be determined) this morning to the Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, for your flight home.
Optional Budapest Extension Itinerary
Sun-Tue September 18-20 Budapest
Those attending the extension will have another 3 days to immerse yourselves in the history and culture of Budapest and sites surrounding the Danube River. Budapest is one of the loveliest cities in all of Europe. From the palaces, cathedrals, synagogues, quaint neighborhoods, and especially the Danube – at night. Photograph the hidden gems with your local guide and fellow photography instructors in the hilly Buda side of the river, to the flat Pest side. Your hotel accommodations are a perfect location to cross the Chain Bridge during the blue hour, when you can photograph the city, as it comes to life. Your first full day you will travel to one of the loveliest baroque towns on the Danube, Szentendre, vibrant with its pastel color buildings, picturesque squares, and alive with the arts and culture. Your driver and vehicle will depart you at Szentendre, where your guide will assist the group using public transportation back to the hotel and for our remaining days in Budapest.
From the Buda side there is the Castle district, where old cobblestone streets are filled with historic sights, the Royal Palace, Matthias Church, Medieval houses, and charming crooked streets following the shape of the hill. Your local guide will take you to a high vantage point, overlooking the city. As you move on, discover the labyrinth of catacombs below the castle area, the courtyards and fountains of the National Galleries, and the Great Market and citadels that overlook this amazing scenic city. After a break at the hotel you will enjoy Heroes Square and the architecture of the traditional Szecenyi Spa in this famous city.
The next day from Pest, take a leisurely photographic walk across the Chain Bridge, and along the Danube River to the Iron Shoe Memorial and the Parliament Building. Depending on the interests of the group you can return via the Danube or to St. Stephen’s Basilica and some street
photography. After another break at the hotel there will be an early evening shoot at the Fisherman’s Bastion and Castle District, looking out over the Danube, to its bridges and amazing architecture. Overnight Budapest (L; D)
Wed September 21 Budapest – Home
There will be one group transfer (time to be determined) this morning to the Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, for your flight home. (B)
Strabo Tours is committed to continuing the wonderful photography/cultural programs that we have offered for almost 20 years. We are very committed to providing you with a safe journey and therefore have adopted new protocols for Strabo and our partners. We need each of our guests to understand and commit to adopting these protocols as well. What we have all learned in 2020 is that we know how to better protect ourselves and those around us, whether we are at home or abroad.
The new protocols will discuss the issues that have the greatest impact on reducing the transmission of illnesses. In order to have the broadest protection for Strabo, our partners, and guests, we will all need to follow these guidelines to protect the health of each other. Please note that several resources have been reviewed to develop these new protocols including the CDC, WHO and WTTC.
Please contact Strabo Tours if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to help and guide you through your journey.
Estimated 2022 Land Cost: $4895* per person, maximum 12 participants, based on a minimum of 8 passengers. A $400 small group surcharge will apply for 5-7 passengers. Land cost is based on two people sharing a room.
Single room supplement: $895, Single rooms are subject to availability. We try to accommodate single travelers who request single accommodations, as well as single
travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, we are unable to find a suitable roommate, or you are in a single for another reason, you will need to pay the single supplement.
*Note: The land cost is based on current exchange rate between the Euro and US dollar. Should these rates change significantly, there may be an adjustment in the trip price.
Estimated 2022 Extension Land Cost: TBD The land cost includes:
- All tour accommodations and transportation in country for those traveling with the group.
- Most meals (as specified in the itinerary with B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner).
- Services of a local English speaking guide.
- Services and Photographic Education by your Photo Escort.
- Park entrance fees as shown in the itinerary.
- Extensive pre-departure information, services, and materials.
Not included: International air fare; airport departure tax; additional costs for transportation and accommodations for those not traveling with the group; meals not specified in the itinerary and beverages not included with meals; trip cancellation and interruption insurance; all personal expenses such as excess baggage fees, laundry, and phone calls; optional tips to the driver and guide.
Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds
A deposit of $750 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, 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 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 any time after departure: NO REFUND.
Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.
Fitness and Health
The majority of the tour is not strenuous and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most of the activities. There are two or three longer elevated hikes with many steps, you can choose your own activity level either by taking part in these hikes or photographing from afar (options are always available to accommodate everyone). 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. You will be on foot in each of the cities and be able walk a few miles at a time.
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).
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). Your tour could also be cancelled or cut short due to reasons out of Strabo’s control (pandemic, outbreak, or natural disaster are just some examples) and Strabo cannot be held responsible.
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 pamphlets, which outline their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. There are various levels of coverage you should be aware of before making your purchase. 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.