Girl in Winter Wonder (Czech) land

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‘So what are you going to write about this time?  Snow in Prague?’ said Czechman a moment ago as he came to take away my empty mug of tea.

‘Umm, yes,’ I reply.

‘No-one will be interested.’

Oh well.  I have to break the silence somehow.

Everyone knows that eskimos have a hundred different words for snow.  Its only since living here in Prague that I begin to understand why.  There’s the fresh, powdery stuff that you can kick up in the air like walking through those tiny little balls of polystyrene.  Then there’s the kind that’s crunchy when you walk on it.  You can make neat footprints in both. 

Its very satisfying.  Those footprints are small acts of defiance. It might be minus 5 degree but I am here.  I am alive.

However, snow doesn’t just freeze, it also melts.  And then turns brown or black and freezes again.  I am not friends with this kind of snow.  It is out to get me and make me look silly.  Its Eskimo name would be Girl in Czechland slayer. This is the reason I wear my hiking boots at all times. 

I don’t care what I may have said about fashion.  I want to be vertical.

In my desperate mission to stay upright I find myself walking close to the walls but there lies another danger: killer icicles.  These icy stalactites have made their home on a shop front in Dejvicka.  Imagine the damage one of those could do if it fell on your head. 

‘They don’t look very big,’ says Czechman peering over my shoulder at the screen. ‘Can’t you get a different photo?’

‘What are you talking about? They’re huge!’ I reply in a shrill tone.

What is he talking about?  To an Englishwoman – or this one anyway –  those icicles look menancing.

Winter here means business. There’s not much in the way of  fog or smog or damp or drizzle but that’s a good thing.  Czech weather may be many things but it is not ambivalent.  The same might be said of Czechs themselves.

The novelty of watching snow fall hasn’t worn off just yet so long as I can watch it from the window of a nice warm – not overheated -room inside. However corny it seems, it still makes me feel like I’m in a snow dome. Wikipedia says that they have been used in modern cinema to evoke childhood nostalgia.  I may enjoy raising an arched eyebrow at life but even a tough old cookie like me cannot resist the lure of a little fairytale magic sometimes. 

I’m disappointed there aren’t more women in giant fur hats though. And headbands. Why focus only on keeping your ears warm when twenty percent of your body heat is lost through the top of your head?  They make as much sense as socks with sandals.

This Christmas will be the first I will have spent in Czechland and the first with Czechman.  We will of course be heading to the village next week which will hopefully mean plenty of time to blog and plenty of material to blog about.  Will Girl in Czechland break a leg skiing down the local slope (or should I say hill) or choke to death on a rogue carp bone? What will the Village People make of plum crumble? Watch this space.

P.S  Apologies to anyone still reading this for not having posted for so long.  Or having replied to your (generally very kind) emails.  I’ll endeavour to be better on this front now I’m feeling (a bit) better, I promise.


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12 Responses to Girl in Winter Wonder (Czech) land

  1. Are you kidding me Czechman? Snow in Prague is exactly the kind of post I want to see. Thank you Girl in Czechland, they are lovely. Please post more with the buildings and the statues and the snow!

  2. I hate hate HATE snow. Makes me fall on my arse and potentially grounds my flights home for Christmas!

  3. misunka

    Last week I was walking in the center of Prague when I see a sign:

    Pozor na sníh padající ze střechy/ Beware of the snow falling.

    It made me smile. Foreginers, watch out, the snow is falling!! :))

  4. Richardinprague

    Hi, Girl!

    I was only thinking about you this afternoon, and wondering whether you are ok. Very pleased to hear from you again 🙂

    From my experiences with my own “Village people”, who are not far from Krusovice, my APPLE crumble goes down a treat, and some of them have even stolen the recipe! I’m sure they will love the plum verson – though if you serve custard with it, they will sniff at it rather suspiciously! Try good old cream – or good ice cream instead.

    Hope you enjoy your Czech Christmas, and dobrou chut’ for the Carp!


    ps: I wonder whether the anagram from the word CARP is a coincidence??!!!

  5. girlinczechland

    Hello Misunka,
    It’s funny isn’t it, how so many things end up in English but those signs never seem to… Perhaps I need to go around with a big permanent marker pen as well as my camera and do some guerilla translation 😉

    • Richardinprague

      Signs in English?
      How about “starý český guláš” which sounds great in Czech, but not so appetising when described in English as “Old Czech Goulash” (Sign at restaurant near Charles Bridge).
      On the other side of the bridge a gift shop proudly announces (in english), “Czech beer stains”. It probably does, but I think they mean “Steins” (German for beer glass), rather than “Stains”!!
      Hezky den!

      • girlinczechland

        Hello Richard,

        Ah, there are dozens of examples of this kind of Czechlish in Prague although I must confess ‘Czech beer stains’ and ‘old goulash’ do sound particularly unappetizing!

        Vesele vanoce!


  6. Hi GIC,

    Nothing wrong at all with blogging about the snow. I did the same a few days ago:)) And I agree with you – staying upright and staying warm are far more important than fashion in these current snowy conditions.

    I hope you have a great time with the ‘Bohemian Village People’ over Christmas & I look forward to your usual wry, perceptive observations in future blog posts in due course.

  7. Marta

    Well, I life in Liberec, and in my entire life I have never seen so a lots of snow,

    and the worst part of it is that they don’t clear snow here so going outside is always adveture

    I come here at the begging of the year and the taxi driver told me that a lot of snow in Liberec is when until your belly are the hills from snow and now I get the picture, the snow just doesn’t stop to fall down

    and in past week when I was in Prague I was happy to see just 10 cm of snow instead of 50 cm which we have here in Liberec

  8. Helena

    I enjoy your posts, I just wanted to point out that the Eskimos actually don’t have a hundred words for snow. In fact, in their languages there’s about the same number of expressions for frozen water as in English.
    “Everyone knows” this only because it’s one of those ever-perpetuated legends. And since we tend to exagerate when talking about anything that’s foreign and new to us, it probably will hang around for ages to come 🙂
    Anyway, enjoy the holidays and don’t worry too much about icicles 😉

    • girlinczechland

      Hello Helena,

      Yes, I was afraid the Eskimo thing was one of those urban myths. Still, there *should* be at least half a dozen words for snow in my view – and whether you’re in Prague or near the North Pole you should always steer clear of the yellow kind 🙂


  9. Stace

    I’ve recently returned from my first (and definitely not last!) trip to Prague and it was amazing! 😀 Since I’ve never really experienced snow before, I was constantly in a state of awe! However, this could possibly be attributed to the fact that I’ve also never consumed so much beer in my life, as well as some very evil double shots consisting of some kind of cherry liqueur and vodka 😀
    Not to mention the tourist-trap Christmas markets which caught me hook, line and sinker – those trdelník pastries… Yes please!!
    Keep up the good work, I really enjoy your writing 🙂

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