Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ice, Ice Baby

I discovered a great place to go to cool off on a sweltering summer's day (not that it is a sweltering summer day).  Not even close, actually.

Let me try this again...

I discovered a great place to go on a crisp autumn day to enjoy an ice cold beer (literally) and prep one's self for the winter days still to come.

Much better.

Where is this winter wonderland where nude ice ladies serve you ice-cold Absolut shots?

Ice Pub Prague located in Karlovy lázně, Smetanovo nábřeží 198/1, 
110 00 Praha 1, Old Town

Welcome to your very own igloo




Where the drinks are served ice-cold in a glass made of ice, naturally. 

The DJ spins...on ice

And the art is, well...ice!


So just how cold is it?  -7 degree Celsius, which is 19.4 degrees Fahrenheit.  So yeah, it's damn cold.
But don't fear, they'll provide you with a thermal eskimo suit & gloves.  

See, I don't even like the cold (allow me to clarify, I don't like anything below 75 degrees F), and I was smiling.  
**Maybe I had a few of those shots by this time...**

Note:  Guests are only allowed to stay inside for 30-minutes.  Don't worry, you won't turn into this...

Yet another reason why...
I LOVE














Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Independent Czechoslovak State Proclamation Day!

Today marks the most important national holiday of the year...

On October 28, 1918, Czechoslovakia was granted independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I.  With Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk as its first president, Czechoslovakia arose as one of the succession states of Austria-Hungary at the end of WWI.

Wenceslas Square, October 28, 1918
The time between WWI and WWII, which was also a golden age for the culture, is now called "the First Republic".  It's a time when Czechoslovakia had a parliamentary democracy, concentrated 70% of the industry of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, and had an economy that was the strongest in the world.  Prague was similar to Paris then, as exemplified by the great Czech-French art nouveau painter, Alphonse Mucha.

First Czechoslovak President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk

Why must all good things come to an end??  
The First Republic era only lasted 20 years.  Czechoslovakia was betrayed by allies in 1938 in the Munich agreement, thus Nazi Germany legally occupied Sudetenland, the Czechoslovakian borders with Germany, and in 1939 the whole country was under protectorship of Hitler's Germany.

Map of Sudetenland 


After the second World War, the Nazi troops were replaced by Soviet troops, and the Czechs had to wait for the restoration of democracy until the end of 1989.  

We celebrate October 28th mainly to remember this happy era known as the First Republic.  The president's speech is televised and is followed by awarding medals to Czechs who have done great deeds.  Every year on this day, a few thousand of the Czech Republic's leading citizens are invited to the Independence Day ceremony at Prague Castle, where the great halls are open and delicious food and drink are served.

Independence Day Ceremony at the Spanish Hall...Prague Castle

So honor this special day with us... raise your glass to mark this day in 1918 when Czechoslovakia emerged from the shadows of the Austro-Hungarian Empire!

Miloš Zeman, President of the Czech Republic



I See Dead People

Does it ever end?!  

We made yet another "top" list... this time Condé Nast Traveler's 10 Creepiest Catacombs You Can Actually Visit


Hmm, this is one I did not know about.  Must visit when I have the time.  I have been to the Sedlec Ossuary in  Kutná Hora, but never to this one in Brno.  Speaking of the ossuary, I must share my eerie photos with you.

But for now...

Brno, Czech Republic
Population: 50,000

The walls are literally made of bones in these tunnels, situated beneath the millennia-old town of Brno. While doing a pre-construction dig in 2001, archeologists discovered thousands of skeletal remains in the area beneath the Church of St. Jacob. Back in the 17th and 18th centuries, the bones were arranged in orderly stacks; but years of mud, water, and neglect had knocked them into messy piles. What's a town to do? Clean and reorganize all the remains, of course, then open the resulting charnel house to the public. Skulls, femurs, and the like now fill walls, chambers, and pillars. And they're multicolored, too: Reddish ones died of the plague, while yellowish ones perished of cholera.
Tomas Hajek/Demotix/Corbis



Monday, October 27, 2014

Mmm Beer



Aside from Lokál, which I have not been to yet, I agree with their selections.  U Fleků and Klášterní Pivovar Strahov are two of my favorite places... old faithfuls if you will.   I'd say if you'll be visiting Prague, these 5 stops are a definite must.  Beer tour, anyone?

I've posted about Pivovar Strahov before and you can read it here, a well as Zlý Časy, which you will find here.

I think we can all agree that Homer Simpson says it best...







Sunday, October 26, 2014

If I were a dude, I would be Anthony Bourdain

How many foodies do I have out there?  I am not sure if I ever made it perfectly clear that I love to eat.  If I have not, my apologies, and please let me spell it out for you...

I also just stumbled upon this blog called Bohemian Bites, and I am quite literally drooling at this moment as I stare at the photo of my favorite Czech dish, svíčková - Mmmm, come to momma, lover.

Bohemian Bites has a recent post of restaurant openings and food discoveries and I was surprised, and quite pleased, to see the Bánh mì sandwich (am a huge fan of this Vietnamese concoction).  Essentially, it is a fresh, crusty French baguette filled with steamed, pan-roasted or oven-roasted seasoned pork belly, Vietnamese sausage, spreadable pork liver pâté, pickled shredded carrots, cucumber and daikon, cilantro & chili sauce.  Now there are other variations as well since Bánh mì is a term for breads, but this is the classic.
So good I want to stick my face in it

Now I have yet to try Mr. Bánh mì, but if you do or have, I would love to hear what you think.  He is located at Rumunská 30, Praha 2, Vinohrady and you can check him out on Facebook

PS a cold beer goes really well with Bánh mì, just sayin'.






Saturday, October 25, 2014

Four Seasons Hotel - Stay with us!

Yet again, we make another Top list... this time it's our very own Four Seasons Hotel that made Conde Nast Traveler's  Top 25 Hotels in Europe: Readers' Choice Awards 2014

Who wouldn't want to stay here?



Friday, October 24, 2014

Czech Music... we're not all Folk

Did you ever stumble upon something and get super excited like a child that just found out that there is no bed time, candy is allowed for dinner, and Santa DOES exist and will bring you everything on the list you sent him to the North Pole?

Yeah...

Well, I just did.

I found this website

Ok, ok... for a lot of you this is NOT candy-for-dinner exciting, but for a Czech not in CZ who misses a lot of familiar songs, this is not only candy for dinner, this is being given the entire candy shop by Ole St. Nick on Christmas morning!

I will share one of my favorite Czech bands and songs with you...

Ready Kirken - select song 1+1

Am also a fan of Ewa Farna and her Mels me vubec rad hit 

And I can't forget this beauty...
Spomal by Peha 
Actually, this is such a great song that you should listen to the entire thing here:


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Takin' it back...

That's right, once again the magic of Prague has made it's way onto yet another list...this time, for our toys.  

Photo by Michael Novotny for The New York Times
The Retro Hracky Toy Shop in Prague

Read the NY Times article entitled 12 Treasures of Europe ...I'll be damned if you're not as smitten with Krtek as I am.








Monday, September 8, 2014

Just don't ask me if I like your hair


Well folks, here you have it...10 Great things about the Czechs - Czechmate Diary is spot on!

Although we do have many negative attributes, they are well balanced by the positive ones. Well, most of the time…
 1. We don’t wear pink glasses. We don’t walk on clouds. We are REALISTS (and,well, the negative comments sometimes come with it). Have you seen any Czech person buying a lottery ticket? That’s because we honor the fact that 99.9999999% of the time that person does not win. It is a waste of money.
2. We are honest (and yes, the negative comments sometimes come with it). If we get asked an opinion, we just say it. An exception would be woman’s hair. If we get asked about what we think of someone’s hair, and even though it looks horrible, we will most likely lie. We are not that evil.

3. We are strict with our children. That is how we were raised and that is what we like. We hate brats.

4. We are street smart. We were raised in rough times, which taught us to be resourceful and think twice about stuff.

5. We are good cooks. Our moms and grandmas had to cook everything from scratch, we had to help them as kids and that is why we know how to move smoothly in the kitchen.

6. We are frugal. Almost to the point of being cheap. If there is a deal in town we will be the first ones in line to get it.

7. We are athletic. The Czechs love to spend their energy in nature. Whether it is by swimming in a local pond, or skiing or hiking, we love to sweat in the presence of nature. That is why we have so many great athletes! Practice makes perfect.

8. We are hard workers. We like to get the job done quick and right. Forget the 6 office assistants in one office. How about you fire the five and keep the most capable one (possibly with a Czech heritage).

9. We make good best friends. You need a best friend? Search through the Czech community.People may give you the cold shoulder at first but once they warm up and get to know you more, they will be there if you need help. Just don’t ask them if they like your hair because they may just tell you the truth!

10. We have golden hands. We can fix just about anything. Don’t believe me? There is even a Czech saying about it: “Cesi maji zlate rucicky”.




Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lenny's back!

He's back... 

Looking for something to do on November 13th?  Well, Lenny Kravitz will be back in Prague performing at the O2 Arena.  He hasn't performed in Prague since 2011... catch him this year.  With a new album entitled Strut out this month, it's bound to be an amazing show!

Check out his new song, The Chamber 

For more info & to purchase tickets, please visit LiveNation



Monday, August 18, 2014

Babička

Czechmate Diary has a great post today that made my heart ache for my Babička.  The fond memories I have of growing up with Babička always there warm my heart.  I miss you, Babi!

The article states that according to a recent poll the role of a classic Czech grandma, who sees her meaning of life in an unconditional care for her grandchildren, is gone in a not-so-distant past.  Read more at The sad evolution of Czech grandmas

There is a great book entitled Babička ... you can get the English version on Amazon


Friday, August 8, 2014

Honoring the name AVA

Today I wish to post about a name in honor of my new niece, Ava Polina.  My heart melts whenever I see her!

Teta te miluje!
xoxo


The name Ava means "Like a Bird"...Nelly Furtado's song comes to mind...

A little history...
The medieval name Ava is an abbreviation of a Germanic name.  Saint Ava was a 9th-century princess, daughter of Pepin II of Aquitaine. She was cured of blindness by Saint Rainfredis, became a Benedictine nun at Dinart, Hainault, and later was elected Abbess. Her feast day is April 29th, thus the name Ava is is celebrated on this day.

As evidence for the name is lacking between the later medieval and the modern period, the Oxford Dictionary of First Names supposes that it was coined anew as a modern innovation, presumably as a variant of Eva or (like Eva) used as an anglicization of the Irish name Aoife.  Ava is also a feminine given name in Persian, meaning "voice, sound".

Ava has worldwide meanings, making it difficult to pinpoint its true etymology and origin. From the German roots, Ava means "bird or birdlike". From the Latin, Ava means "pretty" or "Living One". Ava is the Afghan word for "voice" and the Akposso word for "sky" or "heaven". It also comes from the Old English for "Breath of Life". Some believe that the name Ava came from the Hebrew name "Chava," which means "life" or "serpent," while others point out the place-name "Ivah" appearing in the Bible.

The name was popularized in the United States by socialite Ava Lowle Willing (1868-1958) who married John Jacob Astor IV, and their daughter, socialite and heiress Ava Alive Muriel Astor (1902–1956).
Socialite Ava Lowle Willing

John Jacob Astor IV

Ava Alice Muriel Astor 


And who could forget the beautiful Ava Gardner

Ava has become quite popular and here is a link to celebrity daughters named Ava

The name Polina is a Russian feminine given name.  It is sometimes a short form of the name Appolinaria, a feminine form of the ancient Greek name Appollinaris, a name derived from the god Apollo. Appollinaris is the name of several ancient Christian saints.
Polina could also be seen as a variant spelling of the name Paulina, a feminine form of the name Paul. Polina was the second most popular name given to baby girls born in Moscow, Russia in 2007.   



Sunday, July 13, 2014

Ten Ta To... damn the Czech language is confusing!

I don't know about you, but I would download this app in a heartbeat.  Ten Ta To is a brilliant idea that I hope comes to fruition.  It can with our help!  

See below for more details... here is the English link Ten To Ta Fundraiser

TEN TA TO – PROJECT DESCRIPTION in ENGLISH (click here)

TEN TA TO 
Unikátní pomůcka ke studiu češtiny pro telefony Android a iOS.
Autoři se na Vás obracejí s prosbou o finanční podporu pro vytvoření studijní aplikace, k jejímuž dokončení, otestování a uvedení k volnému stažení pro veřejnost z Apple Store a Google Play je třeba zajistit 4,000 USD.
Aplikace Ten Ta To představuje praktickou pomůcku k procvičování a zapamatování českých gramatickýh rodů, jejichž správné určení je v češtině velmi důležité a pro mnohé studenty češtiny, i potomky rodilých Čechů, často velmi frustrující, viz např. kostel-postelkůl-sůl. Aplikace Ten Ta To vychází z modelu již existující aplikace Der Die Das pro němčinu, kterou vytvořil developer Luboš Mikusiak spolupracující na Ten Ta To české verzi. Bude obsahovat 4,000 nejužívanějších podstatných jmen, včetně slov z populární učebnice Lidy Holé New Czech Step By Step/ Tschechisch Schritt für Schritt 1. Bude použitelná bez internetového spojení uživatelům na celém světě.
======================================
Podpořte prosím dokončeni projektu Ten Ta To a povzbuďte studium češtiny! 
Žádný příspěvek není malý. Všem, kteří přispějí 250USD či více, bude jmenovitě poděkováno ve všech propagačních materiálech i na aplikaci samotné.
V USA je Váš dar odečitelný z daní. (tax-deductible)
You can make your contribution with your credit or debit card using secure PAYPAL
 (Nemusíte mít vlastní účet PayPal.)
Můžete také vystavit bankovni šek na:Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences,Inc.,
s poznámkou Ten Ta To, a
poslat jej na adresu: SVU c/o Suzanna Halsey, 515 Avenue I, 1B, Brooklyn, NY 11230, USA.
Více informací v angličtině nahoře: Ten Ta To Project Description.
Děkujeme a těšíme se na Vaši účast.
Zuzana Halsey and Lubos Mikusiak

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Congratulations, Petra Kvitová!

I know I'm a few days late, but nonetheless...

CONGRATULATIONS to Petra Kvitová for her Wimbledon win!  We are so proud of you!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Happy Art

Just thought I'd share some recent artwork by an artist I admore, Karen Obuhanych.  It makes me smile!
Take a look at her work on her website kto ART


Saturday, May 31, 2014

We have a word for these two in Czech

...but I won't go there.

Of all the countries, they had to turn up in mine.  

Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Prague

By all means, spend spend SPEND $$$$$ and please show respect and kindness to my fellow Czechs (if you're even capable of that), but please take your douche baggery with you when you leave.
Maybe being in this magical city will ground these two clowns.  Probably Definitely not.




Saturday, May 24, 2014

Proof That Prague Is Europe's Prettiest City - The Huffington Post

"Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace." - Eugene O'Neill

For me, a fairy tale has become reality...

prague

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Win a trip to Prague

Now this is a sweepstakes I want to win!  Because a trip to Prague would make me very, very happy...

Good luck!







Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter can be very naughty!

Easter Monday (Pondělí velikonoční) is the day we tend to celebrate Easter.  It's a day off from work (amen!) as well as the day of the pomlázka!  

In the morning, men boys walk from door to door to spank girls on their legs with their whip.  The whipping is rather symbolic, you see.  The Easter whip, the pomlázka, comes from the word "pomladit", which means  "make younger".  It's believed that the freshness, youth and strength of the twigs is passed to the women on this day.  Thus, every woman wants to be whipped in order to keep her health and beauty during the coming year.  Unvisited females may even feel offended, therefore it's almost a duty for all boyfriend and husbands to whip their woman with the Easter whip!

The boys accompany the whipping with a special Easter carol, usually asking for an egg or two.  The girls "reward" them with an Easter egg or tie a ribbon on their whip (um, I am making this out to be very, very naughty).

The more eggs or ribbons a boy has, the better (oh...my)

For boys men, instead of eggs the "reward" is a shot of alcohol, mostly homemade brandy.  And of course, the point is to visit quite possibly all of the girls in town (that's a lot of random ribbons on their whip), thus around noon, groups of happy  ecstatic men can be seen in the streets singing Easter carols and chasing women.

But don't think the girls don't get to have any fun!  In the afternoon, they get their revenge by pouring a bucket of ice cold water on any male they wish!

My man's whip is ready to go...and I'm looking forward to it!