Saturday, 21 December 2013

Does Anything Change When you Turn 30?

The simple answer is no, it doesn't. At least not up to now. I turned 30 last week and it got me thinking about all sorts. So I'll attempt to write it down.
Ok, so hangovers have gradually been getting worse, after a friends BBQ a couple of months ago when I decided it was appropriate to get completely obliterated on vodka, I ended up with a 5 day hangover. Let me just repeat that, A FIVE DAY HANGOVER... I sat at my desk in work thinking I was was actually going to die. I had visions of my past before my eyes like they say in films. Ok, no, I didn't, I just made that bit up. But my point here, is that it was bad, really bad!
Other than that, I am still the same person. I still don't know when to stop drinking, my memory is still as terrible as it was in my twenties and I still can't handle my money very wisely, I only bought my flight tickets home last week, 11 days before I fly, despite knowing I go home every Christmas. And I still haven't bought any presents (mostly due to the fact I spent all my wage on flights and train tickets, sigh). Let's hope my family are just happy to see me!!! (Sorry mum, love you!).
I still feel like I'm 18 in my head, does that feeling ever go away? Loads of my friends are getting married and having children, and I'm just like "Hey, let's get drunk"! Actually, that's not a bad idea, I have a nice bottle of pink bubbly in the fridge calling my name...
I'm still as lazy as I was as a teenager, staying in bed till noon on weekends, longer if I'm hungover and I often wonder how I manage to get through each day as I'm so clearly unable to look after myself! I still find myself apologising on a daily basis for things I've forgotton etc. In fact, as I'm writing this, I should be meeting my friend. Crap, I best make this quick hadn't I?!
Anyway's, the whole point to this is you don't change because of a milestone birthday. Maybe gradually over a number of years, but essentially, you're still you, so enjoy it, you won't get another chance to be you.

Na zdravi (cheers)!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Mikuláš, Anděl a Čert (St Nicholas, the Angel and the Devil) Pay a Visit to Prague!

It is almost certain, that if you were in the Czech Republic on the evening of December 5th, you would have witnessed the tradition of adults wandering the streets dressed as St Nicholas, an angel and a devil. Their purpose is to question the children on whether they have been good or bad over the year and reward or punish accordingly. 
Had you have been in my office in Prague that day, you would also have witnessed the same spectacle! All three made their way around the offices handing out angel and devil chocolates (at this point I have to question 2 things. Firstly, if this is indeed a children's tradition, what are they trying to say about us employees?! And secondly, should I be offended I received the devil chocolate?! Hmmm).
This day is to honor the name day of St Nicholas. It is not to replace the main Christmas day event, celebrated in the Czech Republic on 24th December, which is separate and also a public holiday, unlike on the 5th.
Young children are often scared by the trio, which is unsurprising seeing as if the child has been naughty they receive coal and potatoes and if deemed to have been particularly bad, are dragged off to hell in the devil's sack! Well that's one way of making sure they behave! For good behaviour, the child will receive sweets. 
I'm thinking this tradition should be introduced into Britain (Imagine the reduction in crime statistics we would have if these criminals had of been faced with that prospect as a child!).
Anyways, that's enough lamenting from me, so enjoy the picture below I have of the trio and also some colleagues and I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Monday, 9 December 2013

It's Beginning to Look A lot Like Christmas.... In Prague

What is one to do on a Sunday in Prague two and a half weeks before Christmas? Check out the Christmas markets of course! So, where did I go? I started off in Wenceslas Square, moved towards the Old Town Square, down to Charles Bridge and up to Ujezd. Here it all is in pictures....

Wenceslas Square, looking up towards the National Museum.

Cafe Tramvaj (tram).

Wenceslas Square.

The Christmas market on Wenceslas Square.

The Christmas tree on Wenceslas Square. 

More of the Christmas Market.

Walking towards the Old Town Square with the Astronomical Clock in the background.

The Astronomical Clock in the Old Town Square.

The Old Town Square.

The Old Town Square Market with Tyn Church in the background.

The Old Town Square market.

Old Town Square with St Nicholas Church in the background.

Horse and carriages can be enjoyed for weary travellers.

The Old Town Square.

The Christmas Tree in The old Town Square.

The Astronomical Clock.

The entrance to Charles Bridge.

St Salvator Church, in front of Charles Bridge.

A view of the castle from Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge.

A statue of St John of Nepomuk. Touch the below plaques for good luck and the promise of a return to Prague! A few metres away is a cross you should also touch with your left hand for good luck. This marks the exact spot of where the priest was thrown into the water in the year 1383.

Love locks. Couples attach a padlock to this gate to symbolise their everlasting love. Located in Mala Strana, close to Charles Bridge.

The John Lennon wall. Created during the 1980's, this has been painted over by the authorities in the past but repainted again shortly after. It is said to symbolise peace and love.

Candles are lit and placed by the John Lennon Wall.

A Communism memorial just off Ujezd in Mala Strana. It consists of several bronze statues gradually disintegrating until there is nothing left. This is said to represent the gradual mental and physical deterioration of man living under the totalitarian regime, read more about it here.