I’m more than halfway through my Christmas vacation in Prague and so far it has been wonderful! We flew in this past Wednesday. After checking into our hotel, we immediately left for the center of the city to see the Christmas markets. There are several Christmas markets in Prague and most of them have similar gifts and food. You can easily find sausages, a Czech version of spatzel, cinnamon and sugar covered dough circles, gingerbread, wine, and grog. Each tree has a wooden crèche below it, and there are Christmas lights everywhere. The markets run until January 8, so we can enjoy them for our entire trip. Christmas in the Czech Republic is celebrated on the 24th, and families traditionally eat carp for Christmas. Due to this tradition there were many large plastic pools around the city full of fish for people to buy.
|The Christmas Market in Old Town Square|
Our trip also comes at an interesting time because it follows the death of Vaclava Havla (Havel) who was the first post-communism President here. He is an extremely important to the Czech people and they were in mourning for the first few days of our trip. Havel’s body was lying in state in Prague castle, so we were unable to visit until Christmas day because it would have been rude to go as a tour group while people were saying their goodbyes. Friday the 23rd was the funeral and national day of morning. We were able to watch some of the funeral at the Globe, an expat hang out in Prague 2, and during that time there was also a national moment of silence. There are memorials set up all around the city to honor Havel, including homemade signs and billboards put up by the city. Following the funeral, there was a concert at night to honor Havel, which was projected on a giant screen in Wenceslas Square. Many people stayed in the square to enjoy the concert and it is obvious that he was very well loved here.
|The Astrological Clock in Old Town Square|