Welcome to My Website





Hello and welcome on the web page of Jana, an enthusiastic guide and a globe-trotter!

As a child growing up in the communist Czechoslovakia I already longed to know what is hidden behind the horizon, to touch and taste distant countries. I spent hours browsing the geography textbook and planning my journeys. But this was just a dream for a girl born behind the Iron Curtain.

Later I studied translation and history of art and I hoped that foreign languages might open the door for me - the door I knew must be hidden somewhere in this obscure curtain. The freedom came with the Velvet Revolution in 1989 and suddenly everything was easy. In the nineties I lived in Spain and France, but I realized more and more that my place was here, in the Czech Republic, although my open and spontaneous character must repeatedly contend with the shadows hovering over this country from time to time.

When I came back to Prague, I started my career as a translator. The EU directives I was translating on daily basis gave me a cheeky Kafkaesque grimace as soon as I opened my computer. I realized I must swap the keyboard for an umbrella and started to work as a guide. This has made it possible for me to share what I really love – beauty, art, people´s stories. And so I became a “bridge” connecting and bridging different cultures. This is an image I naturally identify with both when I lead guided tours in the Czech Republic and when I travel alone. One of my journeys was to West Australia, where I strengthened the basis of my English language. This year I embarked to see the Big Apple, to improve my English even more and to get to know the country of freedom. Today, after having travelled to over forty countries (yes, I never gave up my dream) I feel that I should stop chasing one new image of reality after another and rather stay longer in different countries. With this in mind, Thailand has become my second home.

I have been guiding groups travelling to the countries of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire for many years now. I have had a growing feeling that I would also like to establish a parallel platform for individual travelers and design tailor-made programs for them, so that they could discover highly interesting places off-the-beaten-path. I decided to create programs enabling visitors to feel what is our historic experience and everyday life nowadays in a city which encompasses both amazing historic monuments and modern life. What is it like to be in city currently undergoing an intensive culinary revolution. This desire of mine found an expression in a small travel agency which I founded and called the Prague Arts Tour. Most tours are organized in three or four hour blocks. And then a nice break over a good coffee or tea comes handy. During this break I can inform visitors about the current news from Prague that they might be interested in – such as exhibitions, theater performances, newest ratings of restaurants. Perhaps during our meetings both the visitors and I can slightly change the way we understand our world.

Each tour is different, created during mutual interaction: I will introduce you to the city of Prague, almost 1000 year old lady, where I have lived for more than 20 years. Its flirty charm has never ceased to surprise me. And I will also show you beautiful small towns, situated in picturesque landscape with green hills – different points of view, different contexts.
 
And here you can find individual facets of Prague that I would love to introduce you to:

a surprising melting pot of a variety of architecture styles. In Prague this mixture is characterized by remarkable elegance and harmony – a real life textbook of architecture…and by the way – it is exactly this interweaving of individual époques and styles that make this city so special within Europe.

…the Jewish culture, inseparable from Prague for more than a thousand years. I have worked as an official guide in the Jewish town for many many years and in a way the issue of a town within town surviving miraculously until today is very personal to me. The Jewish town represents the best preserved collection of Jewish monuments in Europe.
 
…kaleidoscope of art and styles – from medieval art and its impressive artifacts in the so called “Beautiful” or “Soft” style, restless and distressing Baroque sculptures and frescos to Cubist style and Art Nouveau – emblematic in the Czech lands. And of course I will also point out the provocative work of contemporary artists or spiritual art relaxing the mind;

…human face of history; I perceive great historic events as a framework for individual human destinies – those are more interesting and touching to me personally than the anonymous “grand history”;

…spiritual and esoteric Prague: the city represents an actual manual to sacred geometry as well as a dictionary of magic symbols of those, who can read them. It is a place with many locuses of power, where W.A. Mozart drew his inspiration, when meeting with his Free Mason friends;

…traces of five war years in the capital. The time when the city and its inhabitants suffocated under the Nazi oppression – Sudetes, the occupation, brave men and women in the resistance movement, the assassination of Heydrich, Prague uprising, liberation;

…forty years of communism: what was life like behind the Iron Curtain, The Prague Spring, “live torches”, the power of the powerless, grey years of so called “normalization”, Václav Havel leadership, The Velvet Revolution…and freedom;

…Prague and photography – I am myself an enthusiastic photographer; owing to the fact I was walking the pavements of this city and the roads of this land for more than two decades, I have a list of places, unusual angles, from which to take the shots and thus make them look gorgeous…and I am always on hand to push the trigger button on your camera…:)

the best beer in the world, a cup of tea (we drink more of this beverage than the English do), a tasty meal… this country is right in the middle of a culinary revolution: it is better to know where the gourmets eat, rather than having a nasty experience...

…there are infinite number of ways how to approach a city tour. Possibilities are enormous. I would definitely appreciate it if you just write to me what you´d like (and what you would not);

…and maybe together we may touch if only for a tiny while the soul of this picturesque country in the heart of Europe and its inhabitants. As a poet says: „the road is made by walking“.


See you soon, your guide Jana



 


P.S: And where does the heart come from? I was inspired by our former president Václav Havel, who often attached this universally understandable symbol to his signature.



 







 
iGap Travel Guide wrote about us


Customer Feedback:
 
Thank you Jana for the excellent tour of Prague Castle and Jewish Quarter! You are the best! I enjoyed all the history you have shared. I also appreciate your flexibility during the lunch break. Thank you for being so gracious and hospitable! (Joseph D. Tariman; USA) * Thank you, Jana, for your wonderful history lessons. I wish I could remember all that you told us. You were a great guide. Best wishes. (Joan Welsh; Great Britain) * My wife and I made a a tailor made trip to Central Europe last Year that Prague Arts organized for Us. It was a wonderful experience. Everthing was excellent, more than expected. JANA was was either with Us or in close touch with Us to make sure everthing was going on as planned. (Jaime Benítez and Elvia, México) * On behalf of the Nursing Students of DePaul University, Chicago, we would like to thank-you for our wonderful guided tour through Prague Castle, Strahov Monastery, and the Jewish Quarter. You are so knowledgeable regarding so many areas: art, architecture, history, literature, and more-we learned so much! Likewise, we appreciated your advice on area restaurants and other exhibits, as well. We are most grateful for your expertise and can highly recommend you for other groups desiring a most competent and knowledgeable English-speaking guide.(Linda A. Graf, USA) * We also have just returned from a magical trip to Prague and having the use of Prague Arts Tour. Jana was an exceptional tour guide who made our trip to Prague all that more interesting and informative. After the tour we felt quite at home and we were able to explore the city with a firm understanding of the history of the city that we received from Jana. Prague Arts Tour and Jana are spot on. Thanks again Jana. (Margo and Guy from Canada) * Last September we toured the main cities of Central Europe with a bilingual group from Canada. During two weeks, Jana guided us through the different cities and buildings sharing with us her vast knowledge of art, history and daily life in her part of the world. We found her to be very professional at all times and eager to make sure everyone questions and worries were answered. She was flexible to the demands of the group and always tried to please everyone. She communicated clearly the daily activities in both languages and made us feel safe at all times. Jana's greatest asset is her love for her job and as a result she paints for you a picture of the beauty, opulence and the grandeur of these imperial cities. Her passion and professionalism made it all worthwhile. Thank you Jana. (Lise and Frank Loiocano; Canada)