In August or September 1977 Joop was in between jobs and for some reason he decided to spend a week in Prague. He had been there before, in 1969, but that was with school, and it was more work than pleasure.
The photo's show the balcony terrace of the Jalta Hotel on Wenceslas Square. In 1977 there were tables and chairs and Joop spent a sunny afternoon there with vodka, caviar, eggs and a good book. It was his first encounter with the Interhotels chain in Czechoslovakia.
The communist regime was still strong then and thirty years of it had resulted in the proverbial, but very common, disinterest of the waiters. The one at the terrace of the Jalta Hotel was no exception, but as the afternoon went by he got friendlier and that evening Joop was treated to more vodka and food in his family's flat in one of the gray suburbs.

They only spoke Czech and a little German, so the conversation wasn't one to be remembered, only some naughty words in Czech have settled for life in Joops head.

Those words and the memory of that fun evening came back, when we received one of the decks here below from a Belgian collector and Joop recognized the name of that hotel on the Ace of Diamonds. The deck came without any description of age, maker or designer. When searching for this information, we came upon pictures of some other decks, that were published by the Interhotel chain. These were already in our collection and so the idea for a small, separate xpo about them was born. 
The third deck wasn't in our collection yet when this xpo was first presented here. It took a few months before we found one on the German Ebay, but unfortunately that deck was lost in the mail. We got our money back, but we would have preferred to get the deck instead. It wasn't until August 2013 before another one was found. It was put on Ebay by a Dutch fellow collector and when we won it, Joop went to Amsterdam to pick it up. We didn't want to take any chances of loosing it in the mail again! But..... the xpo is complete now. 

All the Čedok - Interhotel decks were published in order to show tourists all the attractions that Czechoslovakia had to offer. Not only a beautiful nature, with rivers, caves and mountains, but also culture, architecture and leisurely fishing. Of course there's always an Interhotel (or camping) at the best spots and Čedok will be happy to take you there.









Čedok is the largest travel agency in the Czech Republic. It was founded in July 1920 by the Czechoslovakian Railways, the State Foreigners Union and the Bohemian Bank, after having received the sole right to sell railway tickets. It was then known as the Czechoslovak Travel Bureau. The company not only aimed at domestic tourism, but opened branches in London, Paris and Vienna in 1922. Since 1926 the company started to use the (abbreviated) name Čedok. From 1939 to the end of WW II the company was incorporated in the German travel agency Mitteleuropäisches Reiseburo and after the war it was placed under state regulations, which resulted in a frequent change of managing ministries.

In 1954 the company was split up into two autonomous units: Čedok, managed by the Ministry of Transportation, specializing in foreign tourism and Turista for domestic tourism, which was managed by the Czechoslovak Union of Physical Training. But in 1956 Čedok was transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Trade and selected domestic hotels were incorporated in Čedok. A few years later the sleeping and restaurant cars of the Czechoslovak Railways were transferred to Čedok too.
We couldn't find any information about the Czechoslovakian Interhotel company, but in 1965 this network of hotels became part of Čedok. It coincided with the re-unification of Čedok and Turista in one company: Čedok.
Several sources date our first deck in 1958 and it advertises Čedok and Interhotel on the backs. So there must have been a close cooperation between Čedok and Turista even before the two companies were united again. It's possible that the selected hotels in 1956 were part of that network.
By 1970 the period of Čedok´s monopoly of tourism had started: the company comprised the Interhotel company with 150 hotels, a network of 135 travel agencies and 15 representative offices abroad. Basically Čedok kept this monopoly until 1989, when the Velvet Revolution made the communist regime collapse. Not long after both Čedok and the Interhotel company were separated again and later privatized. 
So the 1967, 1972 and 1975 decks date from the hay-days of communism, when everything was firmly under control and well organized. Still the designs of the decks may be called modern for their time and somehow they haven't lost their attraction either during the last 40 years.

We've added a Czechoslovak deck, which shows their fashion in 1971 and people that might have visited one of the Interhotels, restaurants or campings in those days.