Saturday, December 03, 2005

Vánoční trhy 2005

Like many places around the world (even Berkeley), Prague has special outdoor holiday markets, which went into action last weekend. Since the Staroměstké náměstí is close to the library, I headed in that direction to pick up some lunch, forgetting entirely that I would be encountering the Vánoční trh there.

It's not easy to avoid a Vánoční trh once you are in its midst, even if you feel you are already carrying too much (laptop, etc.).

Furthermore, it's not really in my nature to walk past a cimbalom band in action. I stood and listened until the end of the set. Some people standing behind me sang along with various numbers. Other people got hot drinks for themselves, which I considered doing.

After the music, I took a hasty look around (it was not my first tour of the trh). As usual on Staromak, the crowd was a mix of Czechs and tourists.

Unfortunately, while the trh has some nice stuff for sale, most of it is not all that different from what vendors sell year-round. Mainly, the holiday items consist of gingerbread, mulled wine, hot mead, pastries, and Christmas ornaments. Otherwise the offerings are about the same as you would find during the summer on the Charles Bridge, except possibly the woolly slippers.

I commented on that to my friend Jitka the other night, and she said that Vánoční trhy are pretty standardized throughout the Czech Republic these days. A few big companies provide the stalls and merchandise, and it's ready to go.
That made me miss the holiday vendors on Telegraph in Berkeley, who are much more varied and quirky even if a bit predictable in their own way from one year to the next.
I mentioned my brother's greeting card venture to Jitka, and she said I had better get him to send me some cards so that I could sell them at the trh and provide some variety.
I said I'd tell him to do that; it's about time he added some cards with Czech sayings, anyway. One of the presents I got him should provide a few ideas in that direction.

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