Remember my little tradition of listing the highlights for each day of travels? Well, it’s back! My brother came in from Salt Lake City on Christmas, and we got into Prague late Christmas Afternoon after about 5 hours of driving. Here’s the thing about Prague…um, street signs? small! um, street directions? indirect. To get out of Prague, we spent 2 hours going just 2o some miles…anyway. Pissy “why am I suspectible to getting lost” and TIRED-ness, and the promise that “everything will be closed” didn’t keep us in the pension. We meandered 20 minutes to find a street lined with lights, and “market” stands. In Germany and other parts of Europe, these feel like outside carnivals. They sell Gluvein (a spiced warm wine) and traditional eats outdoors, and arts and crafts. Well, my highlight of Christmas had to be the TRDUL a fresh pastry singed on fire right in front of me.
When was the last time that you could not wait 30 seconds to devour something?
Gone in less than 30 seconds, this Crispy cinnamon carmelized on the outside, hot gooey dough on the inside…a piece of heaven. Merry–Christ-mas! Wowie!
So, the origin of the word might have something to do with horses and collars…but every one I asked either didn’t understand me or didn’t know how to explain it to me like a 4 year old.
WHO CARES? This treat made me feel like a kid again, and seriously rivals any Christmas Market goodie for me…
Growing up, my mom always made her grandmother’s recipe for cinnamon rolls, and honestly? This treat hit that same nostalgic spot. Leaving me completely fulfilled…in a connected to that version of myself that without abandon or awareness just loves what she loves.
There was also a moment with a Bulgarian Christmas seller from whom I purchased a pretty oil painting of Charles Bridge, who gave me and my brother a few shots of cheap whiskey to keep warm. That moment, of friendly sharing, will always be savored. The hospitality and generosity now spews from that oil painting.
The highlight of Day #2? Um….not freezing to death? Since it was the 2nd day of Christmas, traditionally all shops are closed…which meant that between a history of Prague tour and walking around looking or trying to find out if any markets were open, the bro and I were outside for more than 5 hours. Around 3.5 hours into it, my feet froze…and I couldn’t regain warmth to them. I can’t really say that my highlight was a Mickey Ds coffee (seriously? the coffee is WAY good here, better than any other version and Starbucks and espresso shops are inconsistent in Europe. McDonald’s coffee always hits the spot). Anyway, the highlight was finding a great bistro and my bro had a succulent duck with cherry reduction sauce, while I savored a soup with potato vegetable dumplings.
day #3: I went for a jog in the early morning, and finally appreciated the gorgeous breathtakingly romance of this city. Prague gained footing in the middle of the 14th century, as the head of the Roman Empire. Spires litter the city sights, and the name for the city means “threshold.” It boasts the oldest, largest castle in the world, over 7 football fields in size!
The City has been occupied by Nazis, by the communist regimine, by foreign rulers, and recently, by a nubile democracy most people distrust. It boasts one of the most breathtakingly Jewish neighboorhoods and community centers of the world. Fragile, and yet free, it did seem, as we pursued its streets…and closed off a bit. Perhaps it was the cold winter air, but locals did not appear friendly or open to us, and my brother and I most likely lost out on the sense of rhytm of the life of a local. What we know is that there was a McDonalds or Subway, a currency or money exchange and a casino within every 500M.
I did do something supremely “touristy”. If you touch this statue on Charles Bridge, your true wish will come to fruition, and you’ll return to Prague. So phenomenally cheesy…but I did it!
All in all, my Christmas was spent with my brother, learning and living and freezing and re-warming, and bickering and getting lost. Pretty much par for the course.
What will I remember most?
Bulgarians! Go figure…