Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Name Day, Štěpánka! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Štěpánka.  Happy Name Day, Štěpánka!
The name Štěpánka is the Czech form of Stephanie, which is of Greek origin and means "crown, garland".

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Name Day, Tadeáš! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Tadeáš.  Happy Name Day, Tadeáš!
The name Tadeáš is the Czech & Slovak form of Thaddeus, which is of Aramaic origin and means "heart".  In the new Gospel of Matthew, Thaddeus is listed as one of the twelve apostles, though elsewhere in the New Testament his name is omitted and Jude's appears instead.  It is likely that the two names refer to the same person.

St. Thaddeus (also known as Jude)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Congrats Prague, My Love... you're now a Luxury Travel Specialist!

Romantic, delicious, exquisite... and a special offer!


I am all over this offer!  
U Malířů is one of the best restaurants in Prague and right now you can take advantage of a full 3-course menu for 2 for just 1,390 kc (normally 3,000 kc).  And the best part (besides the meal, of course) is that every purchase made will support tree planting by the Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation.

For details and to purchase, please visit Lime & Tonic at http://www.limeandtonic.com/prague/en/index.php?page=weekly_deal_detail

U Malířů truly is a spectacular restaurant.  It's so romantic ... don't let this opportunity to treat your loved one to a spectacular evening out.  Visit the restaurant at http://www.umaliru.cz/en/

U Malířů...a 15th-century restaurant

Prague is one of "The World's 10 Most Divine Cities"...but we already knew that!

I was just reading Frommer's online and saw they have a slideshow of "The World's 10 Most Divine Cities" so I decided to take a look.  Secretly I was hoping that Prague would be listed because it's such a ridiculously beautiful city, but then again maybe I'm biased.  Well, it is indeed listed...and I'm sitting back smiling.

Here's what Frommer's says:

The Czech capital of Prague may have one of the most diverse examples of historical architecture in Europe.

Where to Go:  The early 20th-century Jubilee Synagogue in Jerusalem Street is a colorful and eclectic mix of Art Nouveau- and Moorish-style architecture.  The Staranova Synagogue (or Altneuschul) was originally built in 1270, making it one of the oldest synagogues in Europe.  Although many parts of the building have been rebuilt, services are still conducted there today.

The imposing Church of Our Lady Before Tyn dominates the Old Town Square and features a striking Gothic facade with a Baroque interior.  St. Vitus Cathedral is another commanding Gothic structure and features the burial sites of Bohemian saints, nobility, royalty, and political leaders.
Photo Caption:  Jubilee Synagogue in Prague.  Photo by Rhys Alton/Flick



Happy Name Day, Silvie! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Silvie.  Happy Name Day, Silvie!
The name Silvie is a variant of Silvia & Sylbia, which are of Latin origin.  The meaning of Silvie is "woods, forest". 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

Today marks the most important national holiday of the year... Independence Day!

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.  

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 (highlighted in black)

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!

Václav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic






Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"There is evidently no more fairytale a castle in the Czech Republic than Bouzov"

The woodland at Litovel is over looked by the romantic castle Bouzov

I know I've said this before, but I'll say it again, and I'll probably say it a hundred times more...I love castles.  In the Czech Republic you can spend every day of the year visiting one and you still won't see them all.  Splendid!

Today let's visit a castle that has been called a "fairytale" castle and a "true medieval" castle...today let's visit Bouzov.






 

  

Bouzov Castle is an early 14th-century fortress first mentioned in 1317.  Since the middle of the 14th-century until 1695 the castle has changed hands many times.  In 1695, Bouzov was obtained by an order of German knights, but they didn't take proper care of it over the next 200 years.  It wasn't until the order of Grand Master Archduke Eugenius that radical reconstruction took place between the years 1896 and 1901.  

Bouzov at the beginning of the 19th century

Bouzov today

Bouzov's present appearance was only given to it at the turn of the 20th-century, but despite this, it is still known to many people as a true medieval castle.  The new structure, representing the late German gothic style, abounds in projections, little towers, as well as other unusual elements.  Because of Bouzov's fairytale-like structure, it has been used in many films and fairytales such as Arabela, Princess Fantaghiro, and the story of Princess Jasnenka and the Flying Shoemaker.


Bouzov's a fun castle to visit because it truly brings you back to a time long ago...
The smell of gunpowder hangs in the air and the boom of cannons can be heard throughout.  The castle's entertainment complex offers you a chance to try your hand at archery and view the 15-meter high Trojan horse, apparently the largest construction of its kind in the world.

Magnificent interior



Bouzov Castle is situated in Bouzov, a village and municipality in the Olomouc Region of the Czech Republic.  It lies approximately 28 km (17 miles) northwest of Olomouc and 183 km (114 miles) east of Prague.


Happy Name Day, Šarlota & Zoe! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

The name Zoe is of Greek origin and the meaning of Zoe is "life".  

Today we honor Šarlota and Zoe.  Happy Name Day, Šarlota & Zoe!
The name Šarlota is the Czech form of Charlotte, which is of French origin and means "little and womanly".  It's the feminine dimunitive of Charles, used in England since the 17th-century, and was made popular in the 19th-century by Queen Charlotte, George III's wife.

Queen Charlotte

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Happy Name Day, Erik! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Erik.  Happy Name Day, Erik!
The name Eric is of Old Norse origin and means "forever or alone, ruler".  The original form is Erik, which has been borne by nine Danish kings.  Scandinavian legend relates that the Viking sea rover Ericson (son of Eric the Red) landed on the shores of America 500 years before Christopher Columbus.

Leif Ericson...son of Eric the Red
 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ah, land of beer!





Still while we're on the topic of beer... here's a link to a map of the Czech Republic that shows where breweries are located, essentially, a beer maphttp://mapa.pivni.info/

It's interactive, thus click on any of the brewery names and you'll be brought to a page with additional info.  Please note that the page is in Czech, but there will be a link directly to the brewery, and there you can select your preferred language.

Beer tour anyone?

Prague Beer Museum

While we're on the topic of beer...
On October 22nd, The New York Times published an article by Sam Beckwith entitled, "New Prague Pub Celebrates Czech Brews"

The tap selection at the Prague Beer Musuem

Here's the article...
The Czech Republic’s lagers are celebrated around the world and its citizens consume more beer per head than any other country. But thanks to a limited selection at most Prague pubs, visitors hoping to sample a range of Bohemian brews might have felt like they were missing something. A new pub, the Prague Beer Museum, aims to change that.

With the city’s bars and restaurants typically locked into deals with one of the country’s industrial-sized brewing concerns — most likely foreign-owned Plzensky Prazdroj, Staropramen or Krusovice — sampling the more obscure and more adventurous beers produced by smaller Czech brewers has previously required some inside knowledge and legwork.  
Seeing a gap in the market, Se Padilla, a Californian entrepreneur who’s lived in Prague since 2000, opened his new bar (Dlouha 46, no phone;www.praguebeermuseum.com) on Sept. 10. The Prague Beer Museum, a short walk from Old Town Square, offers 30 taps — the city’s widest range of draft Czech craft beers — piping small-, medium- and micro-sized breweries’ wares into downtown Prague.
“It’s a fairly simple concept,” Mr. Padilla said. “This country makes great, great beer — the concept is to serve it.”
In addition to pilsners and dark lagers, the ever-changing line-up of kegs ranges from Indian pale ales, English pale ales and wheat beers to exotic raspberry- and hemp-flavored concoctions. Six-, 12- and 30-beer tasters are also available, along with a range of “beer cocktails,” bar food and other drinks.

Survey says that our lives revolve around the pub...I'll cheers to that!


If a survey claims it then it has to be true, no?  According to a survey by the public opinion institute CVVM, "pubs are hubs of Czechs' lives."  So although a ton of restaurants, clubs and fitness centers have recently opened, we still prefer to spend our time in a pub.  To be precise, some 40% of Czech men frequent pubs as compared to 27% who regularly visit restaurants.  "On the other hand, a mere 1% of Czech men are regulars of confectionaries," (um, can't say I'm surprised by that one).

Thus, a pub is the most popular place for Czechs to socialize at.  "The main reason to go there is to have a chat with friends (97%), to socialize, and to have a better mood (90%)."  

Fun facts:
- Beer is drunk by 90% of Czech men and 50% of Czech women.
- The average per capita consumption of beer is 160 liters in the Czech Republic.
- Men drink beer most frequently 4 times a week, women twice.  However, 23% of men drink beer daily.
- Only some 16% of Czechs do not visit any pubs or restaurants

So all this being said, beer please!!




Happy Name Day, Beáta! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Beáta.  Happy Name Day, Beáta!
The name Beáta is of Latin origin and means "blessed".

Happy Belated Name Day, Nina! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Yesterday (Sunday, October 24) we honored Nina.  Happy Belated Name Day, Nina!
The name Nina is of Spanish and Hebrew origin and means "little girl".

Happy Belated Name Day, Teodor! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

On Saturday (Oct.23rd) we honored Teodor.  Happy Belated Name Day, Teodor!
The name Teodor is a variant of Theodore, which is of Greek origin and menas "God's gift". 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Name Day, Sabina! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Sabina.  Happy Name Day, Sabina!
The name Sabina is of Latin origin, and the meaning of Sabina is "Sabine".  The Sabines were a tribe living in central Italy during the time when Romulus and Remus established the city of Rome.  Romulus arranged mass kidnapping of the Sabine women so as to provide wives for the citizens of Rome.

The Abduction of the Sabine Women (probably 1633-1634) by Nicolas Poussin

The first Romans invited the neighboring Sabines to Rome with the intention of forcibly retaining their young women as wives.  Romulus raised his cloak as the prearranged signal for  the warriors to seize the women.  The mother, her babies, and an old woman in the foreground were captured accidentally in the turmoil.  he yellow armor worn by the man at the right is modeled after a Roman "lorica" that was made of leather and reproduced the anatomy of the male torso.  The painting belonged to the maréchal de Créquy and seems to date about June 1633 to July 1634, when he was a French ambassador to Rome.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happy Name Day, Brigita! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Brigita.  Happy Name Day, Brigita!
The name Brigita is a variant of Bridget, which is of Gaelic origin and means "exalted one"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Happy Name Day, Vendelín! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honored Vendelín.  Happy Name Day, Vendelín!
The name Vendelín is the Czech and Slovak form of Wendelin.  Wendelin is a Dutch and German name of Germanic origin, and its meaning is "wanderer".

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary. ~Chinese Proverb

The leaves begin to fall, the air is crisp, and I'm in the mood for tea.  My favorite place for tea is U Zeleného caje ("At the green tea").  Why?  Because it's charming, cozy, the tea selection is extensive (from all over the world) and the light meals are delicious.  I highly recommend the forest fruit tea...mmmm delicious!

Pottery on display is available for purchase...



U Zeleného caje is located on Nerudova Street, which is just below the Prague Castle.  It's a great place to sit & relax after a day of sightseeing, and a perfect spot for locals to unwind in.  

A fun tidbit... a scene for the movie Amadeus was shot at U Zeleného caje.  Amadeus was filmed in Prague, because, in 1984, it was one of the few remaining cities in Europe that retained the flavor and architecture of the 18th century.  So, without having to build extensive sets, the filmmakers were able to capture the look and feel of Vienna during the days when Mozart walked the streets.

"This movie could have been shot in only three cities, Vienna, Budapest or Prague because only these three cities have the 18th century architecture.  Prague was ideal, Prague was absolutely ideal because thanks to communist inefficiency the 18th century was untouched" - Milos Forman from the Making of Amadeus (2002)




Location:
U Zeleného caje 
Nerudova 19
Parah 1 - Malá Strana


Happy Name Day, Michaela! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Michaela.  Happy Name Day, Michaela!
The name Michaela is of Hebrew origin and means "who resembles God?".  It's the feminine form of Michael.

Monday, October 18, 2010

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor

It's a known fact that Praguers LOVE beer.  It's also true that Praguers love Slivovice and Becherovka.  The question is, will Praguers love tequila??


I guess we'll find out because on October 22nd Prague is having its first ever Tequila Festival!  Starting at 4 pm, for just 200 Kč (11.41 USD / 8.17 Euro) you can sample some of the best tequila there is.  You may want to watch this brief video prior to doing so though...  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FNc0WGhIDU&feature=related


The festival will take place at Holandská 1at the Produkční dům VZLET (Take-Off Production House) in Praha 10 - Vrsovice.  They're expecting some 1,000 guests, including diplomats and dignitaries...this could get very interesting!!!