Visiting Prague

Here are a few observations from spending Christmas in Prague, Czech Republic.

Christmas Carp
Prague does an incredible job celebrating Christmas. The markets and decorations adorning ancient architecture offers the best Christmas experience in the world. However, they have one of the most peculiar Christmas traditions in the world too. After Thanksgiving, every family buys a carp. The carp spends the next month living in a spare bathtub. The kids in these families are responsible for feeding the carp until it’s as plump as possible. On Christmas Eve, they take the fattened carp from the bathtub, chop of its head and cook up the fish for the main course of the night. How merry.

Meat Like They Mean It
They eat so much sausage, drink so much beer and smoke so many cigarettes (they can still smoke in restaurants), it’s amazing high cholesterol isn’t an epidemic in the country.

Czech is Changing
We learned on our cab ride the airport that political climate is not good. Their current president is aligning the country with Russia and moving towards communist policies. According to our taxi driver, this is a result of a young generation of voters with no knowledge of the communism era and the global recessions leaving people desperate. The communism era is discussed in Czech schools. Since the teachers spent decades preaching communism, they are reluctant to promote democracy.

Velvet Underground
The city is alive underground. Beneath the aggressive tourist traps and attractions, Prague’s most passionate people are pursuing and perfecting the crafts they enjoy. It’s an interesting occurrence. With the fall of Communism, the people can build wealth doing what they love, but it all seems to happen in hiding — in caves and basements under the streets.

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