Monthly Archives: December 2012

Prague Christmas markets? Bah humbug! says Girl in Czechland

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Prague Christmas Market 2012, Wenceslas Square

Apparently 21st December 2012 – in other words, today – is supposed to be the end of the world. It might seem that the apocalypse is nigh if you’re trailing around the shops trying to get your last minute Christmas shopping done.

For most of us the festive season means trying to find gifts for our nearest and dearest that they’ll really cherish for years to come.

Like socks.

For the city of Prague, December means the appearence of collections of wooden huts at the tourist hotspots like Wenceslas Square. These would be log cabins don’t signal a sudden invasion of lumberjacks (remember the Monty Python song?) but the arrival of the Christmas Markets.

Christmas market on Wenceslas Square 2012

I don’t like to be overly critical. But here’s the thing. The only good thing on sale on these stalls is svarak aka mulled (hot) wine.

Sausage stall selling mulled (hot) wine on Wenceslas Square

The rest of the merchandise on offer is pretty much identical to that sold in the gift shops only a few paces away.

Do yourself and your wallet a favour. Step away from the tourist trail and pay a visit to Holesovice instead.

Pražska tržnice is a huge market only one tram stop from Vltavska. It specialises in selling cheap mass produced goods mostly imported from China but the key difference from the cutesy stalls in Central Prague is that it isn’t pretending to be something that it isn’t.  Although there are some tourists to be found wandering around, this market is for locals. Come here to do a spot of shopping and you’re going to see a refreshingly different side of Prague.

Why not delight your child by buying them a brightly coloured plastic donkey?

What about something a little more practical? The snow might have stopped for the moment but it’s only a matter of time before the conditions turn arctic again. How about a furry hat to keep the cold at bay?

Men are always so difficult to buy for. Forget about the festive boxer shorts. What about a knuckleduster?

I’m particularly proud of the present I picked up for Czechman’s Dad just yesterday (not from any market but a proper shop):

Yes, it’s a battery operated singing carp: the perfect adornment for any Czech family’s cottage. It has a repetoire of two tunes: Don’t Worry, Be Happy (advice many Czechs could benefit from following) and Take Me To The River.

Hilarious stuff.  I’m sorry I won’t get to see the look on Czechman’s Dad’s face when he opens it. Will it be a look of horror or delight?

Back to those Christmas markets. Yes, they are a bit touristy and trashy but there is some fun to be had there. Just look at this Wenceslas Square Santa’s attempt to give the ladies a special surprise this Christmas. The picture’s a bit blurry but I think you get the idea:


I can’t finish this without sharing the news that I’ve recently been awarded a Silver Expat Blogs award in the Czech Republic category. A big thank you to all of you who left positive comments in support of my entry. Coming second means I did get my arse kicked by an American but hey, you can’t have everything…

Anyway, I’m off to finish packing for my flight to England. A Merry Christmas to you all dear readers: enjoy yourselves whether you dine on carp or turkey! Here’s a festive Czech tune to wrap your presents to:


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Girl in Czechland’s not-so secret identity: a magazine interview and an Expat Blog Award nomination

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Some of you will know that there have been some exciting developments recently chez Girl in Czechland (was it Orwell who said never use a French word where an Anglo-Saxon one will do?)

I was recently interviewed by Czech magazine cilichilli: check out (pun intended) Ms Girlova attempting to protect her secret identity with wig and sunglasses. I might publish bits of it in English here if Google Translate doesn’t suffice for my readers.

Back to that not-so secret identity. Recently, a co-operation with a national British newspaper (yes, that’s definitely Czechish) led me to step out from my Girl In Czechland persona. I decided to share a link to said article featuring my name and picture on Facebook and Twitter.

Czechman was unimpressed. Unimpressed is an understatement of epic proportions. He’s very cross indeed.

Anyway, I apparently have two options.

Option 1: Continue to write as Girl In Czechland but without making any further explicit reference to who I am in the offline world.

Option 2. Put my real name on the blog as part of the About page. This means a) having to stop writing about anything Czechman or Village People related b) sinking in Czechman’s estimation as I become just another online attention seeker c) losing a certain kudos.

I haven’t entirely made up my mind yet but for this post, as you’ll see, in my last couple of posts I’ve stuck with Option 1.

Even discussing this feels a bit silly and navel-gazing – what really matters surely is whether what’s written here is worth reading or not rather than whose name is or isn’t attached to it – but it is something I have to decide. I’m interested to hear what you all think.

Ooh, yes and more shameless self-promotion if I may. I’ve been nominated for an Expats Blog Award. To win, I need my loyal readers to pop over there and leave a short positive comment. Reading some of the ones there so far has really made my day so a big thank you to you all in advance.  The winners will be decided on Sunday 16th December so do cast your vote soon.



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