Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Oh, Prague, you're so charming in November

I made it to Prague! This means, lucky you, that I’m back to blogging. Despite not really being ready for this trip (my research is only half-planned and my conference paper for December 5 in Regensburg is only half-written), it’s awesome** to be back. It’s also nice to use blogging as a procrastination tool. Since I’ve been back, I’ve found Czechs to be friendlier and more laid back. Maybe it’s the upcoming holiday season. Or maybe it’s the noticeable decrease in tourists contaminating the picturesque streets and cafes. Or maybe my expectations are just lower.

My big accomplishments so far have been purchasing a mobile phone (entirely in Czech) and arranging a visit to Rachael’s distant relatives (also in Czech) in a town called Chodov, ~3 hours from Prague. I’ve been exchanging e-mails with 16-year Sylva, who is the granddaughter of Rachael's grandfather's second cousin Marie. Got that? Basically, distant relatives of Rachael's family, who have kindly invited me to stay with them for a night next Tuesday. (N.B. Rachael is my friend from Grayling.)

Here's a map showing the path from Prague to Chodov for reference:

View Larger Map

Aside from getting “research” done this week, I also hope to explore Prague a little more, as it’s quite charming on the verge of winter. At this time of year signs of the holiday season randomly pop up, much like little patches of snow, in unexpected corners of the city (and sometimes in expected corners, such as stores). I’m not sure if photos can convey any of this, but I’ll post some anyway.

Proof of Christmas cheer at Náměstí Míru, not far from my pension:

Christmas kiosks and Czechs shopping, also at Náměstí Míru:

And the famous Kavárna Slavia (Café Slavia), where the great Czech intellectuals used to meet (Prague Castle is looking ominous across the river in the background)…


**This “awesome” goes out to Carolyn Gardner ;) (Cf. No More Mess)


Sandra said...

CF, N.B.??? you must be a writer of serious stuff, I don't know those references, but I can guess. I got the ** though.
So Czech Republicans start celebrating the holidays disgustingly early too, huh? God, what a commercial world we live in...
Are the houses decorated in lights at night too?

Julia M. said...

Yeah, I guess I've accidentally carried those things over from academic writing.

I haven't seen decorations on houses, but people mostly live in apartments, not houses, here in the city. When I go to more rural areas I'll try to get pictures for you!