Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Oh, Christmas Tree

I just want to dive right in... straight through my computer screen.  I want to land in the middle of this festive scene, right atop the booth selling svařák.  I want to sip that cup of hot deliciousness whilst strolling around admiring all the wares.  I want to stand at the base of the Christmas tree and look up at the twinkling lights and smile.  To me, this is my idea of the perfect "'Tis the Season."

I have the warm & fuzzies

prague xmas

Monday, December 1, 2014

I unleash my inner Clark Griswold

'Tis the season!  
I don't know about you, but I am getting my Clark Griswold on.

Tree in Old Town Square

Thank you, Iva, for the beautiful photo!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

So where are all of my American expats spending Thanksgiving?

Eating Prague Tours has some suggestions for you if you're not sure yet.  As for me, I'll be hosting this year, which means bring on the feast...and the wine.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Happy 98th Birthday, DinDin!

Happy 98th Birthday, DinDin!  

I miss you more than you would ever understand...and love you more than you could possibly ever know.
Always by my side, always in my heart...

I light a candle for you, my DinDin

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend

According to Radio Praha, there is a unique 64-carat diamond worth 16 million USD currently on display in Prague. 

I had hoped they would have included a photo of said diamond, but alas, they have let me down. Apparently the stone beautiful rock that should be on my finger is on loan Antwerp and was found in Lesotho, South Africa, in 2012.  They claim that it is the biggest diamond ever shown in the Czech Republic. 

The exhibit also has other diamonds on display...some 200 or so.  Since I can't get to this exhibit, I am counting on one of my readers to go and take a photo for me so I can then oggle this beautiful rock that should be on my finger.

Siroka 15 in Prague (Google tells me this is the home of Diamonds International Corp.)
Hurry!  You only have until November 16th.  Thereafter aforementioned beautiful rock that should will be on my finger.

Here is a map of where to go:
Map of Široká 124/15, 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město, Czech Republic

Monday, November 10, 2014

"Tis the Season

As you know, us Czechs love our marionettes.  So for all of you in NYC, here's your chance to get in touch with your Czech or not-so-Czech side.  

'Tis the Season!

The Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre  is starting the season with A Christmas Carol, Oy! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa 

La MaMa Theatre (The Club) 
74A East Fourth Street  
December 4-14 Fridays through Saturdays at 10:00 PM, Saturdays @ 2pm & Sundays at 5:00 PM Box office (212) 475-7710, www.lamama.org

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Just call me Jirí Štift

So my taste buds were salivating over the Kulajda recipe that I posted not long ago.  So much so that I just had to try to make it for myself...and this is the end result 
(mine is on the top, if you couldn't tell)

 Kulajda (Creamy Soup With Dill and Poached Egg)

It was damn good.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Dvořák's "New World" is coming to The Big Apple

For those of you in New York, this would be a

The original manuscript of the "New World" Symphony returns for the first time to New York City, where it was composed by Antonín Dvořák in 1893. On loan from the Czech National Museum, the manuscript will be reunited with original orchestral parts from the New York Philharmonic, created for the world premiere at Carnegie Hall in 1893. 

The public is invited to view the exhibit in the Czech Center Gallery at the Bohemian National Hall from Monday, November 17th -Friday, November 21st daily from 1pm - 9pm.  Tours will be offered, and lectures presented Tuesday, November 18th -Thursday, November 20th daily at 6pm. The Dvořák Room will be open during exhibition hours. Admission is free. 

For more information please visit: www.czechcenter.com  &  www.dvoraknyc.org

Monday, November 3, 2014

"Czech, Please: Prague’s Restaurant Revival" - WSJ

An article in this weekend's Wall Street Journal caught my eye because it's about my favorite thing...

Kulajda (Creamy Soup With Dill and Poached Egg)
Kulajda (Creamy Soup With Dill and Poached Egg) 

Mmmm, Kulajda is delicious!  Care to try it at home?  Here is the link to the recipe

Sunday, November 2, 2014

This year's costume unveiled...

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” - Marilyn Monroe

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Hemingway. Shall we call him the Patron Saint of Cocktails?

"An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools." — For Whom the Bell Tolls, 1940

According to CNN Travel, one of the world's 50 best bars is in (drumroll, please) Prague.  Can't say I am shocked as I have had my fair share of great memories at several of them.

So, which bar is it?  One that I have not been to, but will have to visit next time I am in town, and that bar is Hemingway Bar.  I must say, I am quite impressed with their cocktail list and their abundance of gins and rums (my favorite spirits!).  This place has that speak easy, prohibition-era vibe. I like it.

 "I wanted to try this new drink. That's all we do, isn't it—look at things and try new drinks?" —"Hills Like White Elephants," Men Without Women, 1927

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...

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?


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


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!

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


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