Showing posts from 2017

A Very Unique Christmas Dinner

I had the experience of eating a very unique Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve this year. The main course of the meal consisted of potato salad and fried carp, and of course, a glass of beer. Basically, a Friday night fish fry anyone from the upper Midwest would be very familiar with.

As it turns out, this Christmas meal was the same that almost every other Czech citizen ate. This traditional Christmas menu comes from the French Alsace region. Carp has been on dinner tables for this special day since mid-1800s. The recipe has been passed down from mother to daughter since then. I was brave enough to try it in a restaurant on Christmas Eve.

When we first heard of this, we were astounded. Carp? A delicacy saved for Christmas dinner? In the United States, our only remembrance of this freshwater fish was that carp are a nuisance at best. The one fish you'd toss overboard if snagged on a fishing pole. Not so in Czechia.

The most interesting thing we've seen about it was how the ca…

Postcard from Christkindlesmarkt - Nuremberg, Germany

Last week I had the opportunity to spend a couple days wandering around the Christmas Market in Nuremberg. I'm not a big shopper, but the experience was well worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing this German tradition and wanted to share it with you.

The Christkindlesmarkt was set up mainly in one large city square in front of the Marienkirche. The area near the church doors had a stage where choirs sang or musicians performed. We heard several different choirs/ bands performing during our time at the market - day and evening.

From there, the rows of vendors filled the entire square with aisles for shoppers to walk through. All the vendors displayed their wares in wooden stalls built side by side.

Since it's for the Christmas season, the majority of booths sold Christmas ornaments, decorations, nativities, and presents for everyone in the family. The German-made decorations were so beautiful that it was a joy just to view all these crafted items.

To many people, the Ger…

Surrogate Santa

Last week my husband and I traveled to Olomouc, a town in the eastern part of the Czech Republic, to meet with our missionaries there who have formed a group of Czech college students to learn English.

This English Talk Group wanted to have a discussion about the traditions and meaning of Christmas, so we were invited to attend. We went to explain the theological importance of the coming of baby Jesus on Christmas.

When he opened the meeting, my husband asked the college students to explain the meaning and traditions of Czech Christmas. We needed to know where they were in their understanding so we could expand their knowledge.

We were pleased to hear that they were very familiar with the facts about the birth of Jesus - Bethlehem, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels singing, three kings, etc. All the churches have a nativity scene in them. Many people go to a church on Christmas Eve to see it or attend the midnight service (the only time they'd attend church all year).

The disturbin…

No Checks for Czechs

Banking in the Czech Republic is much different than we were used to back home. We were taken to our bank the day after we arrived in Prague in May. When our account was all set up, we never had to return again.

We have direct deposit of my husband's paycheck, which is very common for US banks. That isn't a surprise for us, but the main thing that we find different is that there are no checks for our Czech bank. The Czechs handle all payments for everything with either cash, debit card, or phone app payment. We had to check into this because we were confused by the no check system.

We found out that any bills that we receive come to us through an email. We've never gotten a bill in the mail since we've arrived. That's a nice change.

The invoices all have the company's bank account number on it along with a variable symbol. Of course, these words are all in Czech, so it takes Google translate to figure out what number is what. The variable symbol is most often sp…

Churches I Have Seen

We have seen so many beautiful churches since we moved over here, so this will be a picture postcard of churches in Europe.

 We visited this Lutheran church in Lithuania when my husband presented at a conference. When the Russians gave them freedom, they had to build a new church.

The stained glass windows take your breath away.  They often depict Bible stories in them.

These windows were in the cathedral in Prague. The pictures don't do justice in showing how immense this cathedral was. Here you can get an idea of the height of the ceilings with the window in the rear of the church.

This unique church was St. George's in the castle grounds. It had an upper and lower altar.

Many churches are massive looking on the outside as well as on the inside. It's sad that these large churches aren't filled with worshippers any longer. The largest crowds come for concerts.

Every church is unique to the era and location. When you are in Europe, make sure you visit the churches near yo…

A Very Special Restaurant

Prague is known for it's many and varied restaurants and cafes, but the Karvarna Slavia is one of the most famous in the city. This karvarna, or cafe, open since 1884, is located in the perfect spot. It's right on the Vtlava River front with a beautiful view of the Prague Castle across the river. It's also across the street from the National Theatre.

Because of this ideal location, Karvina Slavia has a history of being visited by famous people. The theatregoers step across the street for pre- and post-show drinks. They can enjoy the view of the river traffic as they chat with their friends.

Among these famous patrons, Vaclav Havel was often seen in the Slavia. Havel, a rebel playwright, would gather with his friends in this restaurant often in 1989. That was the tumultuous year when Communist ruled people in Eastern Europe held mass protests against the government. Havel was one of the leaders in Prague who organized the students in November, 1989, leading up to the Velve…

Troja Chateau

During the early fall in Prague, Vinobrani, or wine festivals, are held for several weeks in different locations in the city.  On the last weekend of September, my husband and I went to check one out. It was located at the Troja Palace, built in the late 1600s for a royal count.

In the sculptured chateau gardens, local vineyards set up booths where this year's wines could be tasted and sold. The Czech wines,  mostly white varieties, were very different from California wines.

Just walking around the gardens and looking at the beautiful palace made the day special for me.

Today the chateau is owned by the city of Prague and houses an art gallery. We didn't take the time that day to go through the museum. That's on our bucket list of things to do.

The area around the original riding stables was set up for tasting wine while watching entertainment. They had singers/dancers from the Medieval Era as well as the Roaring Twenties.

As we sipped our wine and listened to the lively ent…