Jindřichův Hradec (or as we call it, Henry Castle)
i haven’t even begun to write and i’m getting distracted by czech kids singing “we wish you a merry christmas”, echoing in the hallway. adorable. CHRISTMAS IS COMING, PEOPLE! HOOBOY!
it shows in the amount of lessons i’ve been having lately (ehhh…. 10 out of the normal 15 per week) because of cancellations galore. but that’s alright since it gives me ample time to do what’s important in life, like bake cookies! make homemade decorations! write this blog post! cook dinner! and visit the town square, which is an absolute hot-spot of yuletide activity right now. i can’t walk by it without wanting a glorious vanoci punč– the aroma always seems to waft my way.
last weekend we took a festive day trip (why not?) to jindrichův hradec (or as we like to call it “HENRY CASTLE”, as this is the closest english translation), a small city about an hour north-east by train. and i’ll tell ya what’s going on there: a flurry of snow, wind, fabulous indian food, and christmas markets!
there’s this phenomenon that seems to happen all the time when i talk to others about what cities or places i’d like to go in the czech republic.
me: “yeah, i was thinking of going to jindrichův hradec over the weekend….”
person: “really? why? you really should go to insert other city instead… it’s much more beautiful and picturesque.”
and then when i go to the original city, it’s always great. moral of the story = go with your gut! there’s probably a reason you wanted to see it in the first place, right? it’s easy to let others’ opinions influence you (oh no, maybe i was totally wrong, where did i get that information from?) but i realize absolutely zero times have i decided to go somewhere i was set on and thought it was terrible. BAM. do what you want to.
so, henry castle happens to be a quite lovely place. again, i would like to emphasize the amazingness of the indian restaurant i went to. but this is not the thing that lead me there….. it was the fact that it has the largest nativity scene in the world, confirmed by the guinness book of world records. if that’s not a holiday thing to do, then what is?
i had assumed this would be a life-size nativity scene (or creche) but it was hundreds of mechanized figurines, in an exhibit located in the city museum. i could’ve stared at this for an hour, but after twenty minutes we were ushered out so the next group could move in.
besides drinking the best masala tea (aka “chai”– you can’t call it “chai tea” because čaj in czech means tea and is pronounced the same way) in the world, we wandered around the castle. and it was COLD. but now that i know how to dress for the cold (what? i’m from washington… don’t look at me like that) it didn’t get it me a bit.
a spooked owl (i could not win a staring contest with that guy)
alex in front of the svejk bar! viva la good soldier švejk!
legen-WAIT FOR IT………..-dary! this goes out to my bud, julie.
and that about sums up henry castle in the snow!
this week’s been pretty great so far. in this week alone i have managed to sing a blondie song at my language school’s christmas japanese karaoke party and have the headmistress up there dancing right next to me. golden. these ladies know how to party, and i like it!
last night i finally played settlers of catan…. AND LOVED IT…. while drinking ginger tea on the ground floor of a famous tower (probably from the 15th century or so) called the zelezná panna, or the iron maiden. probably about the most legitimate setting for settlers of catan that has ever happened anywhere EVER.
happy mid-december, friends. may an american gospel choir concert be in my future tomorrow, and may your futures’ be merry and bright.
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