The End of Prague or just the beginning . . .

Welcome to our blog about our 2008 visit to Prague.  It is best read in chronological order starting with Hello World!

For our current Prague Blog please go to the link at the bottom of this post.

We’ve finally and sadly come to the end of our trip.  However, I want to mention a few things…about Christmas.

I had snuck Michael’s Christmas Stocking into my suitcase and surprised him a few days before Christmas when I had to let him know about it.  Why?  Because I knew he would be embarrassed to not have anything for me!  So I had brought with me a little Christmas bag "stocking".  I hung them off the knobs of the cupboard in our apartment living room,  with ample warning that as we walked around, he would have to find me some "little things" for Christmas morning!  Ha, ha. (I had found things already on Paros).

Which he did…in one of the interesting little markets we discovered.  A couple of times when tired of walking, we got on a tram and headed into the suburbs where we found a little shopping malls. (And walked around in neighborhoods to get the feel of real life away from the city.  In one of those malls I had to "look the other way" while he did my Christmas goodie buying! 

Besides the little Christmas Stocking Treats we both found that we had purchased some little gifts for each other!  For me  a Mucha Calendar, and a History and Picture book of Prague.  For Michael I found the hat he really wanted and a pretty brown shirt!  And together we gave each other the Gift of Prague!  I paid for him to go to Prague, he paid for me.  I paid for him to stay in the apartment, he paid for me.  I paid for events we went to, he paid for me.  I paid for Christmas Dinner, he bought me mine!  Etc.!!!

Oh yes, I also got a Prague bag which is very handy for grocery shopping in Alyki!  And I see a jar of peanut butter…Santa found that for Michael as well.  Santa had to be careful to not make our already heavy suitcases any heavier!

Our Christmas Dinner was a spur of the moment decision and we really lucked out.  We found the Mucha Museum to be open on Christmas Day!!! so I went there and Michael went to a Wi-Fi place to spend time waiting for me.  The Museum was fantastic!  He is one of my most favourite artists! 

alphonse-mucha-the-four-seasons When my daughter was young I bought a picture for her bedroom wall of the "Four Seasons" painted by Mucha, the man who started Art Nouveau.  I always loved his stuff.  He was born in the part of the Czech Republic known as Moravia.  The museum is now run by his grandson. There are Mucha shops all over Prague selling nice items.  That is how I learned there was a museum…I also asked at the Museum how to say his name correctly…she told me most Americans say Moo cha.  In Prague they say Mu ha.  But sort of make the H have a guttural sound.  Like saying the H in the back of your throat rather than a soft sound.  The sad part was the Museum Gift Shop was super expensive.  Ridiculously so…therefore I only bought a few postcards.  Oh yes, I did find in a bookstore a 2009 Mucha calendar MUCH cheaper than in the museum store, so I bought it!

Well, after I finished we met up and while walking and looking for a place to eat a nice young man came out of a restaurant (a tout) and invited us in…our first impression was, (sorry to say) "leave us alone!".  (We are not fond of touts).  Anyway, it was an Argentinean restaurant and had STEAK!  That grabbed Michael’s attention, as he has not had a good steak in years.  (Beef in Greece sucks).  So we discussed it and decided to go in and we are so glad we did!  We had a wonderful glass of wine each, a fantastic steak, and other goodies.  The service was great also.

Another event we managed before leaving was a concert inside a real church – not a little chapel.  I love the old Gothic and Baroque Churches.  Right behind us was a beautiful church called St. Ludmilla.  I noticed an advert on the door so went up and discovered on our last night, a free concert was to take place inside!  So we went, and really enjoyed it.  My head was turning all around and up and down, looking at the beautiful pictures, frescoes, and wood carvings and granite pillars with statues!  WOW, to think people actually call this a "neighborhood" church!  It was very cold inside, however they had heaters under the seats!  Michael had to sit in front of me, and I am glad he did, because every now and then I had to raise up and pretend to whisper into his ear…my butt was burning!  I really wondered if it was only mine that was so hot, because no one else was bobbing up and down to cool off!  They must be use to it, because Michael told me later on his was burning too!  I finally got up and walked around (lots of people had to stand as it was a wee bit crowded inside), so no one cared that I got up. 

ChristmasOldTown I might have mentioned that we also went to a free concert in the Old Town Market Square on Christmas Eve before the Mass.  It is an annual event.  You have to stand, of course, which we did not mind too much.  It rained a bit, but we had umbrellas, and the markets were open so we could get hot grog or mulled wine to sip on.  Besides, the music was so great, it was no problem at all…we felt like we were in fairyland what with the lights on the big Christmas tree, the markets all lit up, the steeples lit up on the big churches and the old baroque buildings.

It was with real reluctance that we had to leave the next day (26 Dec).  The apartment price became a lot more on Christmas day and stays that way through New Years.  (High Season).  Anyway, we had the wonderful 10 days build up to the holiday…so actually there was no REAL reason to stay longer.  All good things must come to an end…etc.

So to bed early, up very early, our taxi was on time, and off to the airport…where we were eagerly anticipating our first cup of coffee!  Wrong!  Nothing was open…and never did open!  So we sat there in a stupor…until our flight left, about 7:00 AM.  We had a 3 hour lay-over in Budapest where we drank coffee, ate breakfast, and bought a salami sausage to bring home!  A real Hungarian Paprika Sausage!  We enjoyed it for a week with red wine and crackers. 

So we got home…safe and sound.  Happy to be back…Sad to be back.  And now thinking how nice it would be to go back.  We have decided the perfect solution would be a few months in Prague and the rest of the year on Paros.  Well, who knows?

I have enjoyed "writing" my memories of this lovely trip, and sharing.

Yes, our holiday dream came true!  For 2009 and 2010 we are going back to Prague for three months.   For this adventure we expect to live in the city as expats rather than cramming every day with seeing the sites.  We also intend to take side trips to other parts of the Czech Republic as well as Budapest, Salzburg and other relatively close cities.

Read all about it at http://parosparadise.com/CzechMates/

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