October 3, 2018
Prague, Czech Republic—Week 3 Fr. James Donohue, C.R.
This week was our second week of classes, but it was the fullest and first “normal” week wherein we had a full and regular schedule. The Czech Language class is a challenge, but we are all making progress. Most of us can ask small questions and understand most of the normal questions that one is asked each day. These include being asked if you want a bag for your groceries, if you are paying by cash or credit, what you want in your coffee, etc. Some of the students have a knack for languages and have great pronunciation. Our Czech Language teacher is very affirming. I answered a question in class about my favorite food. Naturally, I responded in Czech with “large chocolate ice cream”— velká čokoládová zmrzlina. She clapped her hands, marvelling at my pronunciation and said, “Super, Jim!” I am sure that you know the expression that even a blind squirrel can find a nut once in a while! No doubt you can imagine how the students teased me about this over the rest of the week!
For our Czech Life and Culture class, we went about the city visiting various cafés, bakeries, wine shops, and butcher shops. It was much fun and we were able to taste something from each place that we visited.
Typical café in Prague
More pork and chicken than beef.
Wine is very inexpensive in the Czech Republic. Most Czech wine comes from Moravia.
Of course, the Czech Republic is most famous for its beer, which is pivo in Czech. The most common Czech beers are pale lagers of pilsner type, with characteristic transparent golden color, high foaminess and lighter flavor. The Czech Republic has the highest beer consumption per capita in the world. The largest Czech beer breweries are Pilsner Urquell (Plzeňský prazdroj—the world's first pilsner, Gambrinus, Velkopopovický Kozel, Radegast and Master brands), Staropramen (Staropramen, Ostravar, Braník and Velvet) and Budweiser Budvar. Other top selling brands include Krušovice, Starobrno, Březňák, Zlatopramen, Lobkowicz, Bernard and Svijany.
The drinking age is 18 and there are many local pubs where people gather over a beer. It is not an uncommon sight to see people sipping a beer in the morning! At this time of year, with the beautiful weather, many of the pubs have tables outside so that people can enjoy their beer with a little sun.
With another beautiful week of weather, it seems that most of Prague was around the River Vltava. Taking a cruise on the river, walking along its banks, or on one of the small pleasure crafts that populate the river.