Longhorns Reconnect with Friends and Family in Prague

A recent Flying Longhorns trip to Prague in the Czech Republic was more than just a vacation for several travelers. Old friends reunited and distant relatives finally met in the “city of a hundred spires.”

Group overlooking Prague

When Bruce Ansley, BA ’85, Life Member, learned about a trip to Prague scheduled for this past May, his mother Frances encouraged him and his sister Leslie to go. She had traveled on several Flying Longhorn trips before, and liked the sound of the eight-day excursion. They convinced her to join them for some much-needed family time. It would be their first time all together since their father’s death in January. It would also be a chance to finally meet their mother’s Czech cousins.

Doris' picture_editedThe family was able to fit in a reunion with their three cousins during some free time the trip schedule had allocated. The cousins picked them up in a 1929 Ford Model A (a special import form New Zealand with the steering wheel on the right) and took them to an authentic Czech Pub, Karlínská Pivnic. They were encouraged to try the house special of crispy roasted pork knuckle on the grill, or pig’s knee. “I’m glad I had plenty of Pilsner beer to wash that down,” Ansley jokes. He notes that the Czechs take their beer-drinking very seriously. “As soon as you’re halfway through with your first stein of beer, there is another one already waiting for you,” he says.

The trip’s itinerary included a visit to the largest ancient castle in the world: Pražský hrad, or Prague Castle. The 9th-century palace sits on almost 70, 000 square meters. The group got to peer out of the same window that four Catholic Lords Regents were unceremoniously thrown out of in 1618.

karlinksa-pub-pragueDoris Mohler, Library Science Certification ’86, was another traveler who caught up with a longtime friend on the trip. Dorothee Pautsch, MA ’81, journeyed from Germany to Austin in 1980 to attend UT, where she and Molher became fast friends. Over the past 30 years, the two have kept in touch through letters and phone calls and a few face-to-face meetings in Europe. Prague was new territory for them both. Elizabeth “Beth” Mohler Kohlman, BA ’84, joined her mother on the trip.

Pautsch traveled via train from Berlin to explore the Czech Republic for the first time. “We tried to explore different things besides just castles since Dorothee has lived with them all around her.” Mohler says. “We decided to see Alfons Mucha’s Slav Epic since it was a little less touristy.”

The group also visited the 13th-century Jewish Quarter and attended one of Prague’s most important art events of 2013, an exhibit displaying the posters of Alfons Mucha. They also ran into a few Longhorns on a separate trip who had spotted Ansley’s burnt-orange cap among the crowd of more than 2,000 people in Old Town Square and stopped to chat.

“Prague is a world-class city,” says Ansley. “I was impressed by how modern it was, yet [it] still had the old-time charm of cobblestone streets.”

Prague and Vltava bridges

The group overlooking the city (Jim Walsh); Elizabeth “Beth” Mohler Kohlman, Dorothee Pautsch, and Doris Mohler; the Ansley Family with their Czech cousins (Bruce Ansley); Charles Bridge on the Vltava River (Jim Walsh).


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