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.
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.
Yesterday we felt like tourists with limited time to see so many sites before moving on again. Over the past few weeks we have been frustrated because there have been several events and concerts we missed due to not knowing about them in time to get tickets. So we have been busy researching upcoming possibilities. Suddenly an available concert popped up on a day we already had other plans so . . .
We set out for a light lunch at Galerie Le Court. Karin had gone here last week with a friend and wanted to show it to me. Very cosy atmosphere in both courtyard and inner room; very interesting art on display–erotic nature perhaps more suitable for evening then noon; good food and deserts; but poor service due to only one person doing everything for too many customers.
Then on to exhibition due to end this month called Faces of Courageous. It is first time display of newly discovered photographs of WW II parachutists who assassinated Nazi leader, Reinhard Heydrich, and other sabotage behind enemy lines. This was a major local event in WWII which we have followed. I assume some of these photos will go on permanent display at their museum on the subject in the crypt of Ss. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral (which is Orthodox by the way).
This exhibition was in a wing of the Prague Castle that we had never been in before and the entrance was off a part of the gardens we had not seen before.
We got back home about 5 P.M. for a rest and early dinner before walking to the Baptist Church on Vinohradska that we had walked by a gazillion times but never been in before. The facade looks like an apartment house with a decorated door; which it is. The actual church is situated in the interior courtyard of the block. A pleasant setting for a wonderful string orchestra concert that cost only $5 admission for the two of us. The music and the price must have appealed to pensioners; there was nearly a full house of several hundred people and, not counting the orchestra, maybe 10 people under 60 years old.
For the fifth event of the day we stopped nearby for a drink at the newly opened Beer Geek pub. We and maybe two others were the only patrons over 30 in the mostly full, modern space with flat screen menu of 30 beers on tap. I had one that I thought tasted like barbecue and heard described as bacon tasting. Karin had an Indian Pale Ale and decided she should stick to lagers. I look forward to trying their array of stouts. This too was in a spot we had never been in. When we lived in the same block the space was occupied by an all night bar. At the time I was amazed that we shared the same courtyard but never heard any late night noise.
So the moral of this story is whether you come to Prague for a day or for a year, it is easy to keep busy.
Photos by Karin except for last from Beer Geek Facebook
Last month we discovered that the Jicin International Shithead League, in which we enjoyed playing a couple of sessions at last year, had now expanded from the provincial college town to the country’s capital. Students from the large and prestigious Charles University –mostly from the law school if there is anything to be read into that– gather in a the back room of a city pub to play cards.
There is a well structured game plan with monthly tournaments that culminate in naming a Grand Champion at the end of the school year. Each player pays a few crowns towards the expenses and low value but highly sought prizes. The competition is intense yet friendly.
For us it always fun to associate with the young people as they try to guess our ages by asking questions about our past. Of course, when we eventually tell them they exclaim appropriate remarks about not looking (or is it not acting) that old. Our answer is that it is events like this that help keep us young in spirit.
Since this blog is meant as a personalized travel guide I will re-emphasize the point. The best experiences come from immersing yourself in the local life of whatever tourist destination you are visiting. Use your internet connection not to chat with your friends back home but to search out little known events in your vicinity whether it be a pig festival or oboe recital.
More about the card game of Shithead and its international popularity in my Oeuvre page
David Cerny made the news in October but as it was more a political statement than art I did not post about it then. This sculpture is anchored in the Vltava River and pointed toward Prague Castle, the seat of Czech President Milos Zeman.
Friday Karin and I dropped by the private gallery exhibition of some of Cerny’s current work. As always it was quite interesting. Though a couple of the better pieces are too explicit to be shown on this family friendly site.
The London bus is a miniature of the one I previously wrote about. The other pieces shown represent his current style of embedding anything and everything in clear resin that is shaped to characterize people, body parts and other objects. Example detail in bottom photo.
Although displayed in a commercial gallery there were no prices on any of the pieces and we didn’t ask. Any guesses?