Recently I was fortunate enough to be whisked away for a romantic weekend by Czechman to a top-secret location in the Jizera mountains.
We even stayed in a hotel with a wellness as we say in Czechlish: I believe the correct term is spa. All very spoilt and western (in a modest way of course) which means I loved it.
Anyway, I got to go in a whirlpool – sorry jacuzzi – and to try out a Finnish sauna and of course, to do a lot of walking in the nature – I mean, the countryside.
Do we actually say ‘in the nature’ in English? Sounds wrong but I can no longer tell with certainty.
Whether it was in the nature, countryside or mountains, a good deal of exercise was required to burn off the calories incurred by indulging ourselves at the zabijacka or pig killing. No porcines were dispatched with in front of us, but on Saturday evening every imaginable bit of the poor unfortunate squealer was served up for dinner at a kind of feast.
There was goulash, black and white sausages, strange savoury mashed up bits of inside you serve on bread, tlačenka (bits of meat suspended in fat) and that personal favorite of mine, prdelačka - aka arse soup. Making our way through a sample of that was a workout in itself.
Anyway, while on our mountainside wanderings, we came across the ski lift I have obligingly included in the photo above. Those huge red metal pulleys look odd without the snow; they seem marooned with no purpose. Which brings me to my first point.
5 Reasons I’m Looking Forward to Winter in Czechland This Year
1. Learning to ski.
Maybe. I’ve done a spot of cross-country skiing but I’ve never even attempted downhill. Remember my fear of falling over in icy conditions in Prague? I’m afraid that any attempt to master skiing as an adult will inevitably involve a lot of ending up on my backside – or even breaking my neck. Czechman is keen for me to embrace this leisure activity. I’m less enthusiastic. He’s trying to bribe me with wellness hotels and švarak (mulled wine). I’m currently resisting but may give in simply because I’m sure my efforts would make an excellent blog post.
2. Drinking svařák on Old Town Square
I don’t care if it’s touristy or tacky. I’m partial to a bit of mulled wine on Old Town Square while admiring the enormous Christmas tree. It’s guaranteed to get me in the festive mood – but do watch out for rogue Segways.
3. Eating/making vánoční cukroví aka Christmas Biscuits
The English have mince pies; the Czechs have vánoční cukroví aka Christmas biscuits. They come in all shapes and sizes: there’s the wasps’ nests (tastier than they sound), vanilla crescents (vanilkové rohlíčky), bears’ paws (medvedi tlapicvky), mini-gingerbread thingys (perníčky), coconut balls (apparently the easiest to prepare): the list really is endless.
According to that great cultural authority Ona Dnes, it’s already a bit late to be preparing vánoční cukroví. Apparently, if I want to be in the running for Czech Super Wife of the Year 2012, I ought to have started baking about a week ago.
Oops. Don’t tell Czechman’s mum.
I am looking forward to the snow.
Let me get this straight. I’m not looking forward to traipsing around outside in the horrible grey slush which will invade Prague once the snow has come and then begun to melt. I’m not looking forward to gingerly traversing pavements in hiking boots while trying to avoid patches of black ice. Nor am I looking forward to dodging killer icicles as the thaw sets in.
I am looking forward to being ensconced in a cosy cafe/restaurant/my living room drinking something warm (tea, mulled wine) while watching the snow fall from the window. It’s pretty and soothing just as long as you don’t actually have to go anywhere in it.
5. Carp for Christmas Dinner
Actually, this last one is a lie.
I’ve done Czech Christmas. I don’t object to it in principle. It’s just for me, a bit of fried fish and potato salad isn’t really all that festive. Sorry.
My sister is preparing for a long weekend in Czechland as we speak to explore the Christmas markets. Expect some kind of amusing post all about the joys of trdelnik – shock news! it’s not actually Czech! – and the array of tourist tat on sale in those oh so cute little wooden huts very soon.
Oh, and they’ll be a few words about my (not-so) secret identity too…