Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Can We Just Take a Minute

About a week and a half ago, Jess (above) and I were walking to get dinner in I.P. Pavlova and we saw something magical in Naměsti Miru. There was a Christmas tree and little stalls, with people mulling about in their winter coats. "Can we please take a detour to see what that is?" she asked. When we got closer, we found ourselves in a small Christmas market, which fill many of the squares in the Czech Republic (and as I am to understand, much of Europe) from the end of November until Christmas. The little wooden stalls harked back to a time before plasma screen advertisements covered every inch of a city. They sold mulled wine, Christmas ornaments, handcrafts, and all the things that would make one think of Christmas in a fairy tale world. It was like stepping into the world I imagined Hanzel and Gretel grew up in.
"Can we just take a minute to appreciate the fact that we live in a magical fairy tale land?" asked Jess.
"Yes, yes we can." I replied.

Little did I know that this small market was just the beginning.

While I spent actual Thanksgiving having a small wine-and-chicken dinner party with Czech friends, I spent Friday having a gluttonous feast with expats of all stripes and colors. Jess cooked a turkey (with my assistance via Skype) and we took turns carving the bird. I was quite proud of my carving skills, even if I did hack it to bits. I got the turkey off the carcass, that's what counts! I also brought a very well-received apple pie that I managed to bake in my oven without temperature control. It was certainly no Heaney family Thanksgiving, but we went around the room and said what we were thankful for, and on actual Thanksgiving, we toasted with cherry liquor, so I felt sufficiently at home.

On Saturday, the first day of advent, the holiday season kicked off in earnest. We went to watch the tree lighting in Old Town Square. Luckily, we entered through the least packed street, but it was still a zoo. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The tree in New York cannot begin to compare to Prague's Christmas tree. When it has a castle-like cathedral as a backdrop, what can you expect?

You can see the stalls all set up in this gigantic Christmas market. After the crowds dissipated, we wandered around the market and got some hot chocolate. I look forward to spending every weekend this way until Christmas! This place can only get more magical. On Saturday, I will enjoy my first Saint Mikulaš celebration, dressed as an angel, and look forward to reporting back all of the day's ridiculous events. I'll give this as a teaser: In America, you wait until you die for the devil to take your soul to hell, but in the Czech Republic, they like to nip it in the bud and take you straight away to hell as a misbehaving tot. Or so you are led to believe.

No comments:

Post a Comment