Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Prague and Vienna 2013

Prague and Vienna are amazing cities, they are a departure from what we Americans are accustomed to on an architectural, cultural and social level.  Its amazing how the cites have integrated the historical infrastructure with the latest technology.  Today in Vienna a construction company was digging up the center of the existing road to put down new Tram tracks on a street not currently providing that type of service, thereby expanding the cities mass transit capabilities without interfering with the historical presentation or footprint.

Having not visited any European country, this MBA International business trip to Prague has been an unique experience for me, so far.
I am amazed with the progress the country has made from the time Communist rule ended in 1989. When I compare Czech Republic with India, my birth country, the major difference I see is the restrictions India has for multi-national companies. From what I have seen so far, Czech Republic is open to multi-national companies, which has helped the country grow in relatively short period of time. Their proximity to other developed countries and free trade with EU countries has also helped them grow a lot in this relatively short span of time. I can see the country progressing still further as the new generation takes charge of the country, the generation which has not seen or dealt with communism.
On a side note, the population of Czech Republic (10 million) is the number of illegal immigrants we have in the USA.
Today we visited Vienna for Hotel Management and a tour.  It was interesting seeing how a former palace markets itself under the Radisson hotel name. The hotel was quite nice and the rates reasonable for such a historic place. They have a disadvantage in that they can't change the inside structure to make it modern but being kept as it was has its own Vienna charm.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Similarities between the U.S. and Czech Republic

We've had some fun in the Czech sun over the weekend! We started our site visits on Monday and I found Roman Joch's talk very interesting, despite the incredible heat! It appears that the US and Czech have similar issues. The Czech government provides an unfunded pension similar to U.S.’s Social Security System. Like the U.S. the Czech population is declining and the funding for the program may cease. Mr. Joch noted he does not expect to receive a single CZK! In addition the Czech Republic is dependent on foreign recourses, just like the US, including gas from Russia and Oil from the Middle East. The Czechs are facing a similar energy issue and are exploring alternative energy sources. It’s been very interesting thus far, can’t wait for the next visit.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A little bit of home...

We had a great tour of central Prague on our first day.  The architecture and history of the city was impressive, and the heat wave made the gelato taste even better

Throughout the tour I noticed a few signs of home as well.   If you look closely you will notice the McDonalds location.

Ready for day two!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Prague City Tour

Ahoj From Praha.  After arrival on Saturday the group had an excellent time on our tour of the city.  Among the notable sights...

Prague's Astronomical Clock

Installed in 1410, it is the world's 3rd Oldest Astronomical Clock.  It is located in Prague's Old Town Square:

Old Town Square

There is a little "Venice" here in Prague!

"Venice" In Prague


Welcome to Prague!

I didn’t know much about the Czech Republic prior to our class trip and after a day of travel – whew – we took a walking tour of Prague.  As tired as we were, the tour was well worth it.  If I had recorded and translated our tour guide’s comments to text, I think it would have created a 100 page book.  He did an excellent job describing the city, it’s culture and rich history.  Below is a quick visual tour of the trip (no making fun of the hat – it was in the mid 90’s and I don’t have sun block!)...
Our Tour Guide (below).  We all had ear pieces so we could listen to him without being within earshot.  He is holding the microphone and being a good sport about the photo.

Street performers

The entrance to Charles Bridge

View from Charles Bridge (North)

View from Charles Bridge (South)

Making a wish on the bridge...

Old Town Square

A picture of the house from the movie Amadeus.

A performance in Wenceslas Square.

What a way to kick off the trip!