Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas in the Czech Republic

December 24 - "Štědrý Den" (in English: Generous Day)


One of the most important thing for Christmas is baking cookies and sweets. We do start in advance, usually when the Advent starts. We bake gingerbreads, vanilla rolls, wasp nests or Linz cookies with marmelade. Then you have to have a new year's resolution to lose some weight. :)

We celebrate Christmas on December 24 and open the present this evening as well. The programm is simple - watching fairy tales on TV all day long.
In the old days, this day used to be a fasting day. People would only eat a bit or nothing at all. These days, this tradition is still being kept or at least well known. Can you imagine not to eat all day and wait for dinner? According the tradition, if you fast all day, you will see "the golden piglet" on the wall. The main food which is served during the Christmas day is "Vánočka" for breakfast - a sweet coloured bread which is delicious with butter or jam or even without anything.

                                                                              Vánočka/ Image: maskrtnica.cz
The peak of the Christmas Day is the festive dinner, usually served around 5PM. It is often a social event, when the families will all eat together. Even the clothes are nice - women in dresses, men in shirts. In the old days, tables were full of products or meals which were grown by the people themselves. There was always a meal called "Kuba" made of mushrooms, garlic and groats; then lentils and fruit. The most typical dinner was fried carp with potato salad. Even today, this dinner is still served in most the families. Christmas carps are raised specially in man-made ponds and then sold from the large tubs a few days before Christmas on the streets. You will not see this any other time of the year. Carps can be kept a couple of days in the bathtub with cold water before they are prepared for dinner.

                                                              Dinner on Christmas Eve/Image: radio.cz

However, you can find people who don't like carp so they eat salmon instead. As the carp has own unique taste, which not everyone likes and it has a quite lot of bones (not good for children), Czechs have fried schnitzels on the table as well. We do believe that if you put one of the fish-scales into your wallet, it will bring you more money the next year. Traditional soup for the Christmas dinner is a fish soup. Dessert is also served, it can be ice-cream with cream or apple strudel.


During the dinner, it is a tradition which does not allow to stand up and leave the table as one the member sitting there will die. You can leave the table til you are all finished with your meal.

After dinner, families sing the carols or they listen them during the dinner. Czech children believe that presents are brought by "Ježíšek" (Baby Jesus) who comes to the room with Christmas tree through the window which you left open before the dinner. So as Santa Clause, even Ježíšek receives the wish letter from children few days before Christmas. Now, it is time to open your presents which are under the Christmas tree. You are eating sweets you baked and spend some time together. This tradition has couple of positives - you will look good on photos and you can sleep as long as you want on the next day. After, you opened all presents, it is about 7PM and the main fairy tales start on TV.

After having dinner and opening presents, it is time for other traditions. Girls can throw a shoe behind their back and if the front of the shoe is pointing out to the door, the girl will be married the next year.
You can also cut apples in half. If you find a star shape in the core, you will be healthy and happy. If not, you won't.
Favourite tradition is making ships from the walnut shells and small candles and putting them into water in the wash-basin. If the ships are swimming nicely all together, you will be all happy in the family. If one ships drowns, it means break-up or crisis.
Other popular tradition is pouring the heated lead into cold water. Then you take your lead from the water and try to find what this shape means for you.

                                                                                              Image: users.prf.jcu.cz
                                                                           Image: womanonly.topzine.cz

Some people end Christmas Eve by attending the Christmas mass (Vánoční mše), which usually starts at midnight in churches.

December 25 & 26

During these days, meals are not that strict as on the Christmas Eve. Meals vary from families or regions. On St. Stephen's Day the tradition is to eat roasted turkey or goose with dumplings.
Families usually stay at home and relax or visit relatives such as grandparents to share with them this special time.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Meet our staff - Nina



Jak bys ses popsala 5 slovy?
Je těžké popisovat sám sebe, ale myslím si, že jsem otevřený člověk. Dále jsem hodně společenská, aktivní a snažím se být pozitivní. A samozřejmě doufám, že jsem i pracovitá :)
How would you describe yourself in five words?
It is difficult to describe yourself, but I think I am an upfront person. I like being with people, keeping myself active and trying to be positive. And I hope I am hardworking. :)

Jaká je Tvá pozice u Prague City Apartments? 
Má pozice je Recepční. Ale myslím, že mou náplní je mnohem více, protože v Prague City Apartments poskytujeme i služby Concierge. Staráme se tedy o hosty po celou dobu jejich pobytu a snažíme se, aby byli plně spokojeni a odjížděli s příjemným pocitem a hezkými vzpomínky na Prahu.
What's your position at Prague City Apartments?
My position is Receptionist. But I think my job is much more than that, because we provide Concierge services as well at Prague City Apartments. We take care about our guests during their whole stay and try to make them satisfied. And when they leave we want them to leave happy with nice memories of Prague. 

Jak obvykle probíhá Tvůj pracovní den? 
Můj obvyklý pracovní den vypadá takto: Začíná příchodem v 8 ráno do kanceláře. Nejprve si zjistím, co mě celý den čeká. Připravím si vše potřebné na příjezdy hostů. Poté se pustím do e-mailů. Okolo druhé hodiny  začínají  chek-iny a to mě zabaví až do konce směny, tedy do 20:00. Na mé práci mě pak baví především to, že PCA neposkytuje jen strohý check-in na recepci, ale hosty delegujeme do apartmánů.Jelikož jsou residence situovány  v samém historickém centru Prahy, ráda hostům ukazuji památky, či přímo ukazuji restaurace a kavárny a dávám jiná osobní doporučení, co je možné podniknout v Praze.Samozřejmě v celém průběhu vyřizuji požadavky a plním přání hostů. A to od bookování transferů na letiště či z letiště do apartmánů až po rezervování lístků do divadla, zařizování večeře....
How does your working day usually look like? 
My usual working day looks like this: It all starts at 8AM when I come to the office. Firstly, I find out what I can expect that day. I prepare everything necessary for the arrivals and then I check emails. Around 2PM the check-ins start which keeps me busy til the end of my shift which is 8PM. I like my work because we do not provide just plain check-in, but we delegate our guests to their apartments. All our residences are located in the historical centre of Prague so I like to show the sights to the guests or point out restaurants or cafes which we are passing by and give them personal recommendations what else to do in Prague. Of course, during this delegation I fulfil all guests requests or wishes - from booking transfers from/to airport to booking tickets to theatre or restaurants. 

Dokáže Tě na práci něco překvapit? 
V mé práci mě stále něco překvapuje a to mě právě baví. :) Mnohdy to jsou veselé situace.
Is there something what can surprise you at work?
There is always something surpring and this is why I like this job. Funny situation are happening all the time. 

Co Tě baví ve volném čase?
Ve volném čase ráda sportuji. V zimě chodím do fitka a v létě se snažím být co nejvíce venku. Ráda chodím na brusle a pokud je to možné, cestuji po Praze na kole. Ráda také trávím čas s kamarády, jsem vlastně skoro pořád obklopená lidmi :)
What do you do in your free time?
I like doing sports. I go to the gym in winter and in summer I try to stay outside as much as possible. I like roller skating and if possible, I travel through Prague on bicycle. I like spending time with my friends. I am actually surrounded by people all the time.  :)

Jaké předměty Tě ve škole bavily a jaké ne? 
Vždycky mě bavily jazyky, pak historie, politologie a filozofie. Na vysoké škole pak odborné předměty jako Letecká doprava a Geografie letecké dopravy. Hrozně mě ale trápila Statisika a Konstrukce letadel – myslím, že to jsou předměty spíše pro kluky...)
What were your favourite school subjects and what not?
I always liked learning languages, then geography, politology, philosophy. At college I liked

the specialized subjects such us Air transporting and Geography of the air transport. But I was tortured at Statisctics class or Construction of aircraft - I thing these subjects are more for boys...:)

Jaké je Tve oblíbené místo v Praze? Co bys doporučil klientům PCA navštívit?
Vždy doporučuji Kampu ! Myslím, že oplývá zvláštní atmosférou. V létě tam ráda jezdím na kole, kde zaparkuji u trávy, lehnu si na deku a čtu si knížku. V zimě tam zase chodím krmit labutě a mám tam svá oblíbená místa na svařák nebo horkou čokoládu. Hostům Kampu a celou Malou Stranu vždy doporučuji !!
What is your favourite spot in Prague? Which place would you recommend to guests of Prague City Apartments?
I always recommend Kampa. I think it has own unique atmosphere. I like going there on my bicycle during summer, when I can leave the bike on grass, pull out my picnic quilt and read a book. In winter I'm going there to feed swans and visit my favourite spots from hot wine or hot chocolate. I always recommend Kampa and Mala Strana (Little Quarter) to our guests!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

How to spend December in Prague

Sport:

Christmas Night Run - 19.12. Jan Palach Square
Running race for 5 km through the city centre of Prague. Registration is still possible: http://www.night-run.cz/registrace.html
Headlamp is necessity to avoid any injuries (you will be running at dark). Christmas hats or costumes are possible and welcome to wear.

                                                                                                   Image: informuji.cz

Festivals:

designSupermarket - 10. - 13.12.  Kafka House
4 days full of young and professional design. You can visit exhibition, presentations, workshop, party or just buy something you like.

                               Image: kalendarakci.atlasceska.cz

Handcrafts - open daily 9AM - 6PM
You have chance to see numerous craft workshops, for example wooworking, basket, ceramic, textiles, glass, metal, tailor, cobbler or bookbinding one.

Christmas markets all over Prague - til 3.1.2016
The biggest markets are easily found at the Old Town Square or the Wenceslas Square. You can also admire the biggest Christmas tree in Czech republic at the Old Town Square with hot wine in one hand and trdelnik in the other.

Christmas at the Old Town Square 24. - 27.12.
Enjoy the festive season this year at the Old Town Square. You can taste traditional Czech fish soup on December 24 from 1-3PM or the church mass from 9-10PM the same day. Other Christmas days you can listen other concert or watch fairy tales.

                                                                       Image: prague.athome-network.com

Children:

Night Zoo 4.12. - 19.12.
Do you love animals? Are you trying to entertain you kids while staying in Prague? Take them to the Night Zoo and see how the animals live after sunset. Tours are starting at 5PM or 5:30PM at the main entrance of the Zoo. The first of both tours is recommended for children.

                                                                                                   Image: cz.marys.cz

New Years Eve. How to spend this night in Prague? Here is the list of some of the many events happening in Prague. http://www.restaurant-guide.cz/en/restaurant-new-year.html.
The list presents all tasty restaurants in Prague with prices for this night.

As you can spend the Christmas at the Old Town Square, the New Years Eve programm is also ready for this place. Just be ready it will get crowded during the night. The programm starts at 1PM with a revue for families, magicians show and other attractions for children. Children programm ends at 6PM when the adults show is starting til midnight.
So how are you going to spend your December holidays in Prague?

                                                                            Image: private-prague-guide.com