Monday, May 14, 2012

2012 Plzen Trip Photos

Pictures from the 2012 Liberation Celebration in Plzen, Czech Republic

Right turn out of JFK at night.
Same turn with western horizon still lit.
Sunrise over the English Channel
Jana.  The sweetest lady ever.

The Hotel CD.  A Communist era hotel.

Jana, her husband and Marion in lobby of Hotel CD.

My room

George's home with traditional welcome decorations

Party at George's home.

Two halves of a pig and a lady in traditional costume.
May Pole

Alan, pig and Marion at party.

Marion and his new bride and Doug at the party.

The ladies at the party.

The Party.

The Party.

The Party. That's Cooper in the back ground.  He is one of the smartest, well mannered, confident in himself fourteen year old's that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

The butcher making sausage.

The party with George, in yellow, and some of his fellow Czech buddies.

Kathy Hoffman and her husband and Marion at the party.

The Party.

The Party.

Seated at the party is General George Patton's grandson, Mr. George Patton Waters.

All those who made the party possible.

George's speech being translated by an expat neighbor the young Mr. Foye.

The Band

The Band

Boiled pork with spices.  Yum good!

Traditional welcome food...bread and salt.

The Party.

The Party.
The Party.

The Band

Part of WWII collection in George's house.

Breakfast with Eric and Doug

Breakfast with the party leftover goodies.

Breakfast plus Don and Allan.

Marylin at George's laptop.

Czech's in WWII uniforms of the US taking us to the Zoo.

George has his own uniform if he could just find it.

George's jeep on the way to Zoo.
The Kirkhams on the way to the Zoo

The Jeep.

Almost ready!

Well...almost ready
Now we are ready!

Farm implements at the Zoo

Plzen from the Zoo

Convoy through the Zoo

Bengal Tiger

The dedication of the M-4 Sherman Tank at the Zoo.

The dedication of the M-4 Sherman Tank at the Zoo.

The dedication of the M-4 Sherman Tank at the Zoo.

The dedication of the M-4 Sherman Tank at the Zoo.

Bald Eagle.

The dedication of the M-4 Sherman Tank at the Zoo.

A Cherub's head on the fence at the Basilica in the square in Plzem.  Students and visitors rub the head for good luck.  Note how shinny and deformed the face is after centuries of rubbing.
The Basilica at night.

Homes around the block George lives on.  These are beautiful homes but most are in very bad need of major restoration and repair.

This is Patrick and Barbara Foye's home.  More about it in the story.

The next twelve shots are of camps set up in parks that Czech citizens live and eat with authentic WWII army uniforms, vehicles and equipment.

A remaining piece of the original wall that surrounded Plzen.

This bike was built in the mid forties and was manufactured by a company called Auto Union.  It was made of four companies DKW, Audi, Horch and Wanderer.  Today the company is Audi which is a subsidiary of Volkswagen Grp.File:Auto Union.jpg

The George S. Patton Museum

There were 90,000 of these Harley-Davidson motorcycles manufactured.  30,000 were shipped to the Russians.

Complete paratrooper gear.  All the soldiers are Czech

First of many wreath laying ceremonies for the veterans

The mayor of Plzen.  I don't believe the guy in the background was a member of any army I know about.

Cooper hanging in there.

The Americans.
The guys returning to their seats.

Some times, we all need a helping hand.

Second Division memorial.

That sweet lady Jana again.
The 14th Armored wreath laying.

The flag memorial in City Hall in Plzen. 

This self photo may be the only one on the trip.
Dedicated to Patton's Third Army

The Mayors lunch.  I got to go to this one after listening, like everyone else, to never ending speeches.  It was especially boring because the speeches were either in Czech or the French of the Belgians which had to be translated.  It was even worse when there were several occasion at which their was no translator.

The next batch of pics are of the parade.  I will not comment on these pics.  Just remember that all you see are privately owned vehicles including tanks, half tracks, British tracks, trucks, weapons, clothing and all military gear.  Most of this comes from membership in restoration car clubs or reenactment clubs.

The Roman Catholic Basilica at night.

Below are pictures of the Great Synagogue of Plsen.  The corner stone was laid in 1888 and the structure was completed in 1893.  At the time, there were 1207 Jews living in Plzen. With the Nazi occupation, 2605 Jews were deported to the concentration camp at Terezin.  Only 204 returned. The Great Synagogue went unused for worship from 1942 to 1998 when major restoration was accomplished to save the building from the ravages of time.  I took these pictures for neighbor and friend Jerry Fischer.

    The Mayor's feast prior to the concert...I think!

Saltzman's Restaurant 

A return trip to the Zoo so that Pat Waters could see the results of all the hard work he and many others had accomplished to get the Sherman Tank to its place of prominence.

I am ashamed to admit that I was so engrossed in watching and listening to Patrick Foye proudly show me his home under restoration that I only took three pictures.  I will talk more about the home in the story.

A freshly restored Jewish cemetery about a half a mile from George's home. Note the graffiti that has been cleaned from the tombstone.

On the way to Virgil's memorial.

The memorial plaque at the government house in Ujezd.

Path to Virgil's memorial site.

The site from afar.

Up close.

The site from the log benches.

The restaurant in Trhanov.

A Catholic Bishop's memorial.

Domazlice:  A classic Eastern European town.

A ride through the country side from Domazlice toward Plzen on Hwy 193.

The yellow fields are Canola used for the production of BioDiesel.  Farmers are directed by Brussells as to what and how much of each crop is planted each year.

A memorial to Gen. George Patton in the little town of Dysina just a few kilometers north east of Plzen.