Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Czechs have specific names for the days leading up to Easter and today is Ugly Wednesday. It's possible that Wednesday is called Ugly (Škaredá streda) because it's traditionally spring cleaning day, which included sweeping the chimney - and it all had to get done in one day! Another reason might be that it was the day Judas betrayed Jesus.
Today we honor Kvido. Všechno nejlepší k svátku! (All the best for your name day!)
Kvido is often used in Czech, but its source is Witu, an Ancient Germanic name meaning "wood."
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Remember when we went to Obecni Dum and I told you that there are several concerts held there? Well here's one you may not want to miss. On March 31st and April 1st head on over to Smetana Hall for the Prague Symphony Orchestra's Easter performance, which will include Dvořák's stirring Stabat Mater. Joining the Prague Symphony Orchestra will be Petr Altrichter at the podium, and four very good soloists: Marie Fajtová, Jana Wallingerová, Michal Lehotský and Peter Mikuláš. The orchestra will be back for the only other set of Easter concerts at Obecní dům on April 8th and April 9th, which will feature two Czech superstars, conductor Jiří Bělohlávek and mezzo-soprano Dagmar Pecková, headlining a heavy-duty triple bill of Mahler, Zemlinsky and Foerster. Pecková will be singing Zemlinsky's Six Songs, composed to texts by the Belgian poet Maurice Maeterlinck, and the Foerster piece is his Symphony No. 4, subtitled Easter Night, a hymn-like celebration of the holiday.
Today we honor Arnošt. Všechno nejlepší k svátku! (All the best on your name day!)
Arnošt is of Czech origin meaning "determined' stubborn"
Monday, March 29, 2010
Today we honor Taťána. Všechno nejlepší k svátku! (All the best on your name day, Taťána!)
Taťána is the Czech variation of Tatania, which is of Russian and Latin origin. Tatiana is the feminine form of Tatius, a Roman family clan name. A king by this name was said to have reigned over the Sabines and the Romans with the legendary Romulus.
A more popular name, Tanya, is the short form of Tatiana.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Today we honor Emanuel. Happy Name Day, Emanuel!
The boy's name Emanuel is a variant of Emmanuel (Hebrew), and the meaning of Emanuel is "God is with us".
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Don't try to pronounce Chlebicky, just eat them! Eat lots and lots of them...
Chlebicky are far better than American sandwiches and if you don't believe me, try them for yourself! Whenever we Czechs have a party, or even if someone just stops by our home, we're bound to have chlebicky. But today let's go to one of my absolute favorite places to get chlebicky...Zlatý kříž in Prague. Get there early though before the lunch crowd comes in and leaves you without chlebicky!! I once went at 3 p.m....big mistake. I don't know what makes the chlebicky at Zlatý kříž so good, but they really are the best in Prague. They're just so fresh and the variety is phenomenal.
You can make your very own chlebicky at home (I do...often!). Some of my favorite are roast beef with this creamy horseradish spread and a sprig of parsley; the traditional potato salad & ham with a slice of hard-boiled egg and a sliver of pickle; and the sardine spread. Mmmm yummy! Experiment with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
By the way, Kříž is my last name...but no, we don't own the joint...sigh
Address: Jungmannovo náměstí 19
Prague 1 110 00
Today we honor, Gabriel. Happy Name Day, Gabriel!
Gabriel is of Hebrew origin, and its meaning is "God's able-bodied one; hero of God".
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Ah, Spring...how we've patiently awaited your arrival! Prague in the springtime is simply beautiful..I've waited a long time to see window boxes filled with flowers!
Sammi is as happy for spring to be here as I am...
Today we honor Světlana. Happy Name Day, Světlana!
Světlana is of Russian and Slavic origin, and its meaning is "light".
Friday, March 19, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Today we honor Vlastimil. Happy Name Day, Vlastimil!
Vlastimil is derived from the Slavic elements vlast "homeland" and mil "gracious, dear".
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Someone just asked me, "Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Prague?" You bet your shamrock we do! Perhaps it's our shared Celtic history or the mere fact that we share a love of pubs and, no surprise here, beer! (statistics show that the Irish consume the second largest amount of beer per capita after the Czechs).
Before we head out to down a few green beers, let's not forget that St. Patrick's Day is not just a day for festivities, but a day to honor St. Patrick, the most commonly recognized patron saint of Ireland. After nearly thirty years of teaching and spreading God's Word, St. Patrick died on March 17th, 461 AD, and was buried at Downpatrick, so tradition says.
We could have been drinking blue beer...
Originally, the color associated with St. Patrick was blue. However, over the years it changed to green...green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St. Patrick's Day as early as the 17th century. St. Patrick is said to have used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the pre-Christian Irish, thus the wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs has become a staple feature of the day.
A few places to enjoy a green pilsner or a Guiness:
Molly Malone's http://www.mollymalones.cz/ U obecního dvora 794/4
Dubliner Irish Bar, Tyn 1, Old Town, Prague 1
Rocky O’Reilly’s http://www.rockyoreillys.cz/ Štěpanská 32
O’Che’s http://www.oches.com/ Liliova 14
J.J. Murphy’s http://www.jjmurphys.cz/ Tržiště 4
Flannagan’s (The Shamrock) http://www.irishpubprague.com/ Vaclavske nam. 52
Caffrey’s http://www.caffreys.cz/ Staromestke nam. 10
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
An article in the Prague Daily Monitor today caught my eye...simply because this little fella is just so adorable!
The article states...
Prague, March 15 (CTK) - A young Egyptian tortoise, one of the world's most endangered species, hatched in the Prague zoo this weekend, measuring 2.5 cm and weighing 5.5 grammes, the keepers have told journalists.
The "closely watched" egg spent 81 days in an incubator. This species ranks among the most vulnerable in terms of breeding, the keepers said.
The Egyptian tortoise is a small terrestrial tortoise living along the Mediterranean coast. It is on the brink of extinction as its habitats have been devastated and the rest of its population is threatened with poachers and local inhabitants, zoo spokeswoman Jana Ptacinska Jiratova said.
Only about 4,700 specimen survive in the wild, she added.
The Prague zoo's 15 Egyptian tortoises, including the fresh arrival, are part of a new European salvation programme.
Ten of them arrived in Prague last December. Originally they were part of a consignment of 400 tortoises that were smuggled from Libya and confiscated by Italian authorities.
Today we honor Elena & Herbert. Happy Name Day, Elena & Herbert!
Elena is of Greek origin, and its meaning is "sun ray, shining light".
Herbert is of Old German origin, and its meaning is "illustrious warrior".
Monday, March 15, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Today we honor Rút/Matylda. Happy Name Day, Rút & Matylda!
Rút is the Czech variant of Ruth, which is of Hebrew origin, and its meaning is "friend, companion".
Matylda is the Czech variant of Matilda, which is from the Germanic name Mahthildis meaning "strength in battle". The name was brought to England by the Normans and was popular until the 15th century in England, usually in the vernacular form Maud. Both forms were revived by the 19th century. This name appears in the popular Australian folk song 'Waltzing Matilda', written in 1895.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
There are many legends assoicated with Prague, and I'll tell you about them as we visit certain places, but did you know there are also many legends and stories associated with castles? Since we just visited Konopiště, let me tell you a true romantic story...
The destiny of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his beautiful wife Žofie Chotková (Sophie von Chotkovato) is tightly bound to the history of Konopiště palace. Although they were a happy couple and were living in a happy and maybe even romantic marriage, their journey towards the marriage was not an easy one and resembles more a romantic novel than a real story.
The revelation of their secret relationship was a bit of coincidence, when Franz, in one of the quarrels, lost his nerves and yelled, "Žofie will be my wife!" Franz could not hide their relationship but he needed all his spiritual strength to tell it to the emperor and ask him for the marriage allowance. He was correct when he thought that the emperor would consider the marriage as a treason of the future throne successor.
Anyway, he wanted to marry Sophie at all cost – he was even willing to refuse the throne succession! The emperor gave him one year to reconsider his decision and if it would remain unchanged, he would agree. The emperor thought that it is only a passionate, short-term love. However, time did not weaken the strength of their secret love.
In 1899 Emperor Franz Josef agreed a deal with Franz Ferdinand. He was allowed to marry Sophie but it was stipulated that her descendants would not be allowed to succeed to the throne. It was also pointed out that Sophie would not be allowed to accompany her husband in the royal carriage nor could she sit by his side in the royal box.
The beloved couple married in 1900. Franz arrived in uniform and Sophie in a white atlas dress.
Sadly, Franz Josef did not attend the wedding. Nor did his brothers or their families. The only people of the royal family who went to the ceremony was Franz Ferdinand's stepmother, Maria Theresa, and her two daughters.
Over the next few years the couple had three children: Sophie (1901), Maximilian (1902) and Ernst (1904).
Although people expected that they would not be very happy, the opposite became the truth. They both loved each other deeply and were very happy, until they both died in the fatal assassination.
With children Sophie & Maximilian, 1904
Remember these two bears from our trip to Konopiště the other day? Alas, I remembered their names! One of them is named Kazimír and is from Poland, and the other is a slovakian lady named Máša (unfortunately, I don't know which is which)
Today we honor Řehoř. Happy Name Day, Řehoř!
Řehoř is the Czech form of Gregorius (Latin) meaning "to awaken"
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
I have taken all of the tours available, and highly recommend Tour One for the first-time visitor. Tour three is fantastic for me though because I get to see more of Franz's "private" rooms, such as the bedroom (ie, the "girly" rooms to some)
PS...you're not allowed to take photos inside, but due to my ability to hide a camera and still get a pretty decent shot (even though I'm aiming from the hip), you get to see some great photos.
What do I always remind you to do??? That's right, always look up!
...with the face of both a man and a woman
No castle grounds are complete without...
Address: 256 01 Benesov