Monthly Archives: August 2012

Some reasons to love (and hate) summer in Prague

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Men at work: Maniny tram stop in Prague gets an overhaul

There are many reasons to love summer in Prague. It’s an excuse to explore the city’s great parks, have a wander along the river or just chill out in a beer garden.

However, there’s one major downer besides the influx in tourists – and let’s face it, there’s no avoiding them in central Prague whatever the time of year.


I’m starting to associate summer in Prague more with the smell of tar than the taste of a cold pint. Everywhere I turn my ears are assaulted by the racket of a pneumatic drill or the chugging of a digger.

I understand that repairs need to made to keep the roads maintained. I know I’d soon be complaining if every stretch of highway was full of potholes which turned into mini lakes during the annual snow melt.


Girl In Czechland pauses to take a deep breath.

What exactly is going on with the trams?

Yes, I understand that there must be diversions. I’m partial to a diversion or two myself as readers of this blog will attest. Anyway, what’s the point of giving a tram the same number when half of its route is completely different? Isn’t that just bound to cause confusion?

Girl In Czechland continues deep breathing exercises.

I haven’t finished. Then there’s the issue of the metamorphosing trams. They aren’t mysteriously turning into beetles  – that’s a Kafka reference you ignoramuses – but changing their identity seconds before slamming their doors shut.

I was standing at Delnicka one Saturday afternoon. Having consulted with the timetables on display I realised that I needed to take tram 24 instead of the now defunct tram 3 in order to get to my destination. So far, so good.

As I was patiently waiting I noticed a tram on the horizon. Number 14 was approaching the stop.

Is this tram 14 or just a mirage?

However, this was obviously of no use to me, right? Wrong. Just as the passengers were getting off and I was returning to reading my novel (Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – those terrible Tudors) the tram magically become number 24!

Of course by the time I realised this, the doors had closed with a thud and I had to wait another fifteen minutes in the blazing heat until the next 14/24 appeared.

Don’t get me wrong: summer in Prague is still fantastic. The tram issue is just a very small fly in the proverbial ointment. However, public transport chaos is something I associate with the vast metropolis of London. Can’t something be done to make things less confusing?

Anyway, here’s a picture of some people peering into a hole in the road. Yes, I am that desperate for material.


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Wellingtons, potatoes and the 2012 Olympics

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In case you hadn’t already heard, the Olympics are on. My spies tell me that London is 2012’s host city. I say this with a slight hint of irony (isn’t every other sentence on this blog infused with it?) as I am told that the levels of excitement in anticipation of this epic event have reached levels of near hysteria back home. As I’m not a fan of hysteria, I’m glad to have missed out.

Still, there’s no avoiding the fact that the Olympics are here, even if you have emigrated to foreign shores to avoid the incessant media coverage. However, Girl in Czechland is not sporty – I spent the last year of high school hiding in the library reading Virginia Woolf during P.E. – and so it’s hard to take a passing interest in the event, even if it is being held in my home country. I most certainly didn’t think I’d bother to write a post about it, until I saw the Czech hopefuls’ uniforms.

Gasp in horror then chuckle loudly as you take a look at these:

The multicoloured cropped leggings are perhaps forgivable once you remember that many Czechs are stuck in a style time warp circa 1985, but what about the footwear? Wellies? Are you being serious? What sporting activities can be carried out in those apart from puddle splashing and – erm, wait, that’s about it. Self appointed style guru, Jakub Lohniský, author of blog Muži v česku (Men in Czechland – you see a connection?) also thinks the uniform is a sartorial disaster: “Wellingtons? For god’s sake! This year the circus won’t just be in Letná but in London too.”

It seems the style gods have decided to save the cruelest punishment for the Slovaks. Check out their get-up:

Words fail me – for once. Aren’t you Slovaks supposed to be more stylish than your Czech cousins? It’s hard to disagree with Muži v česku‘s verdict: they really do look like illiterate herdsmen rather than athletes. And how exactly are those hats supposed to help impove one’s sporting prowess? Take a look at the rest of Jakub Lohniský’s entertaining post to check out the best and worst of the other nations’ Olympic outfits.

Anyway, I’ve been teasing Czechman about the issue of the wellingtons. Czechs don’t know anything about fashion, here’s just another sad example of that fact, blah, blah, blah. However, it seems that the blue wellies have been a big hit and are fast selling out in shops back here in Czechland.

Czechs, I beg you! Listen to Ms Girlová! Wellies are not an everyday fashion item! You are only permitted to wear them on the following occasions:

a) at a musical festival where wearing them you get 10 points for cool as even Kate Moss dons a pair
b) in an urban environment when it is actually raining heavily but even then only when you’re under the age of 10
c) that’s it

Ok, enough fashion advice. Here’s a quick culture test: can any of you non-Czech readers correctly identify the reason why this athlete is nibbing a potato?

Kateřina Emmons missed out on gold, silver and bronze in the air-rifle eventbut fortunately the Czechs have something special for competitors who come in fourth: the bramborové medaile – in other words, a potato medal! So this is the land of Jára Cimnman after all. Anyway, by watching the Olympic coverage in the pub I managed to pick up a tasty new Czech expression. If I’d known that sport could be so educational, I’d have spent less time in the library and more time out on the hockey pitch. Perhaps…


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