Christmas Season: PF

Well, it is December and the Christmas season is well under way in Prague.  The Christmas Markets opened last weekend and the IWAP Christmas Bazaar, our favourite, is this Saturday.

While I was working on a new page for this site, Annual Events Calendar, I came across an explanation of an abbreviation that we saw everywhere and had us mightily confused our first years in Prague.

Czech Christmas Greeting PF

PF stands for pour féliciter, supposedly a French phrase but only used in the Czech language.  It translates to American as Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

P.S.  Check out the calendar although it is still a work in progress.

Prague cemetery to become celebrated

Street of buildings in cemetaryOlšany, the biggest cemetery in Prague, although not featured on our Favourites page, is, nevertheless, a place we visit often.  We wrote about it here and Karin has a photo journal here.

Now, according to a recent press release from the Czech News agency it will no longer be known to locals only. The Prague Cemeteries Management wants to attract both locals and tourists by organizing cultural and social events on its 50-hectare premises.

Martin Červený, director, would like picnics and workshops in the Olšany Cemetery, as well as readings from books of authors who are buried here. He suggested, “Outside the cemetery gate, a café could serve up black coffee and a popular Czech dessert with whipped cream called “rakvička,” or small coffin.”

Most decorated grave“We would like to present Olšany Cemetery as a cultural site that is open to the living,” Červený said.  “Such is progress,” I say.  What say you?  Please comment.

Travel Advisory: Good & Bad

Easter Market at Old Town Square, Prague

Easter, Old Town Square
Photo by Karin

U Vejvodů  is a large and busy pub/restaurant in the center of Prague’s tourist area near Old Town Square.  On their home page they write:

“During our operation of this restaurant we have received several pleasant evaluations in the form of letters of thanks from the highest representatives of our government, artists and members of the diplomatic corps and authorities.”

They don’t write that they have been repeatedly fined (the most recent for over $8,000) for charging tips without notifying patrons, for charging for un-ordered bread, for serving short measure beers and other infractions.

Another on the list of heavy fines is the Mystic Cafe at Loretanska 174/3 above Prague Castle.  Their reviews are so consistently bad I am surprised they are still in business.  Other places recently fined include Bar Nebe(Heaven Bar) on Wenceslas Square, and two restaurants near Charles Bridge Čertovka and V Lázních.

Prague as any large city has problems with pickpockets and scamming taxi drivers and as any popular tourist area has unscrupulous people who take advantage of the naive. Just this week as I was visiting the Easter Market on Old Town Square I decided I wanted something to eat and settled on “Prague Ham 90 Kc” according to the sign on a permanent food stand.  I ordered and counted out 90 crowns. Immediately the guy said “No, not 90 crowns.  The portion is too small; it needs to be more.”  I replied that I only wanted to spend 90.  He shrugged.  I picked up my money and moved on.

So, as all the travel guides, I repeat this travel advisory:  Pay attention to what you order and what you get. Check your bill and ask questions until you understand and agree to everything on it.

Easter in WallachiaNow for the good:  Easter in the Czech Republic.  We are having trouble choosing how best to celebrate the holiday.  The weather is expected to be warm and sunny and our choices are too many.  Maybe you can help.  Check out this web page from CzechTourism:  Celebrate Easter Old and New  It lists local festivals all around the country.  Let us know which you would choose. 🙂

OpinionsPost — Read all about it!

I have not posted here for the last month because I have been writing for a new internet magazine, OpinionsPost.com     Self-described as “a multilingual newspaper based on the concept of citizen journalism. We are independent, impartial and honest.”

My latest piece for the magazine is my take on our recent trip to the Czech spa town Karlovy Vary and the large Russian influence we found there.  The article belongs in this blog as well.  So please go read it and then come back here.

A few Karlovy Vary photos that did not fit the article:

Becherovka

Our favourite Czech drink is made here and no where else because of the water.

Between Town And Spas

Transition between the Czech town centre and the Russian dominated spa region.

Elegant lobby of Grandhotel Putt

Money, money, money–so pleasant

Karlovy Vary monument to Karl Marx

a German philosopher who frequented the spas

mineral springs collonade

Ancient Greek elegance for strolling while taking the waters.

 

Other OpinionsPost articles that are more or less relevant are:

Should travel taxes affect your travel decisions? — with some tips for saving on taxes

Yes, you can live and work in paradise. Let your creative juices flow.

How inter-connected were ancient peoples?  Greek influence on China’s terracotta warriors.

Do you have the right stuff to live abroad? — Pros and cons of the expat lifestyle

Please read a selection or two and if you like them share the links.  This new citizen journal effort needs more exposure.  Cheers

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