1991 Brian Smedley visits Czechoslovakia

In August 1991 Brian Smedley extended his useful Euro-hitch to include Czechoslovakia and follow up the invitation letter from Antonin Machala. The route went France-Germany -Czechoslovakia-Austria-Switzerland-back to France and back to UK. A mixture of hitch-hiking and cheap trains.

Sat 10 Aug– hitch hiked to London and caught Eurolines bus to Paris teaming up with Japanese girl Noriko from the city of Kobe (soon to be hit by a devastating earthquake)

Sun 11 Aug -hitch hiked across East France to Germany staying overnight in Friburg in the Black Forest with a Germany guy called Mateus he meets in a bar.

Mon 12 Aug -hitch hiked to Nuremburg but gets stuck in the village of Altdorf where there’s a Festival on. Stays overnight.

Tues 13 Aug -local train to Nuremburg and then a traina cross the border via Cheb to Prague. Arriving at Prague station mobbed by Czechs trying to help. Stays overnight at converted school in Roztyly.

Wed 14 Aug-train to Uherske Hradiste and finally meet ANTONIN MACHALA. Stay at his Maratice panelak with his wife Marie and sons Marek (6) and Martin (4).

Thur 15 Aug– Met the CSSD staff at the offices, visited Velehrad and Castle Buchlov where we saw Nohavica perform

Fri 16 Aug -saw an American rock band…who turned out to be Mormons trying to sell their religion to the heathens.

Sat 17 Aug Met Antonins parents  in his home village of Banov then went to his chata/cottage in the White Carpathians

Sun 18 Aug  spent the day visiting Antonins family and friends and discussing socialism and capitalism. Many misconceptions on both sides.

Mon 19 Aug Went with Marie to nearby Zlin (formerly Gotwaldov) and learnt of the Communist coup d’etat back in Russia. People were clearly very concerned that things would go backwards again. Havel had mobilised Czech troops on the border. Antonin said “If the Russians come back, this time the West must help us”

Tues 20 Aug went to the Slovak Capital Bratislava by train. There were small Slovak Nationalist demonstrations. Decided to get a night train through Switzerland heading for the South of France.

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