Showing posts from February, 2018

Wine To-Go

We've found a great advantage of living in Prague -- our local vinoteka.  Located two short blocks from our flat, we find ourselves visiting out vinoteka several times a week. Instead of hauling heavy wine bottles home from our Potraviny, we walk to out vinoteka to get a refill on our wine bottle. Vinoteka is translated as a wine shop, but it can be more than just a shop. Many of them allow customers to "carry-out" wine. Our vinoteka has a selection of several white and red wines on tap for us to either enjoy with friends while sitting in the shop, or take a bottle home. We enjoyed their Cabernet Sauvignon for many months, but alas, their supply of this wonderful wine has now run out. What is amazing is the price for this great wine. We buy 1.5 liter bottles - the size of 2 normal wine bottles - for 200 kc., less than $10.00. One of the first Czech phrases that we learned after moving to our flat was "jeden a pul litru" -- one and a half liters. It

Metronome-Tourist Attraction in Prague?

After we were in Prague a month or so, we saw a huge metronome on the edge of the hill over looking the city. Why in the world would there be a 75-foot tall metronome erected on a rather majestic-looking site in Letna Park? After all, metronomes belong on pianos to keep time for your lesson. After we saw it from across the river, we had to check it out. Built in 1991, this device was constructed as a tribute to industry over the last century. It was only intended to be a temporary display, filling in the empty platform of a much larger and supposedly long lasting statue. In 1948 the Communists who were in control of Prague decided they wanted to build a monument honoring Joseph Stalin. They planned to put it on the crest of the hill overlooking the Vtlava River and center city of Prague. That way, all the people in Prague would see this 50 foot statue daily. This would be the world's largest likeness of their leader. Stalin stood at the head of a column with four Cze

Look Up!

After the discussion last week about all the streets lined with rows upon rows of flats, I need to show you how the builders try to make their building distinctive. Many of these apartments are decorated with statues, paintings, etc, but the pedestrian needs to LOOK UP to see them. On almost every block that I walk, if I remember to look up, I'll see some sort of adornment to a building. It might be balconies on the upper floors or etchings into the stone facades. Just down the street (picture on the right), we have statues flanking the main door of the building. Often they look like Greek gods holding the building up. In some instances, the ornamentation is built right into the pattern of the stone used in the building.  The picture on the right is one of the national art galleries on the hill near Prague Castle. The pattern on the blocks gives the impression that there are raised portions on the blocks, but in reality, the building walls are smooth with etchings into

They All Sit in a Row

Last week I mentioned that one option for parking cars was to park in the inner courtyard of your flat. Some of you may not get the idea of what I meant, so this week, I'll explain further. The apartment buildings here - which means most of Prague's older buildings - are built all connected together in one block. When the buildings are the same color, they appear to be one long structure. This isn't unique to Prague. Many of the European cities that I've been in has this same arrangement with apartments that were built about one hundred years ago. The buildings are about five to six stories tall, with flats in the upper floors. In many neighborhoods, the bottom floor is occupied by a business. In Old Town Square, many of the businesses are cafes, restaurants and pivovars (beer cafe) for all the tourists. In our neighborhood, a potraviny (grocery store), meat store, hair salon and realtor are on this first level. Often the businesses are actually in a below g