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.
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.
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.
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: