Art and Kai (David's dad and sister) came to visit us for their Spring break. They actually ended up staying for about 10 days. It was nice to be able to show them around our new home. We were able to walk around and eat at restaurants. David also took them to see the castle Karlstein, and we all went to Karlovy Vary. Luckily I didn't need to do anything too drastic for school, so I enjoyed a more carefree 10 days with them.
David took Art and Kai up the Old Town Clock Tower to get a great view of all of Old Town. I've already been up there when I was 17, so I just hanged out below, I think I grabbed some delicious treats at the Easter market stands. Art and Kai ended up staying at the Liberty Hotel which was located right downtown by Václavské náměstí (Wenceslas Square). Their second hotel was closer to us, right near Namesti Miru.
Here are a few pictures of the Easter stands. I wanted to buy some of the painted eggs because they are so pretty... But I don't need them right now, obviously I don't have my own house to decorate for Easter. The hand-painted decorated egg (kraslice) is actually the most recognizable symbol of Czech Easter. Girls decorate Easter eggs to give them to boys on Easter Monday. Eventually I'm going to buy some to put up around during the holiday.
The sticks with the red, green, yellow bows are called pomlázka. An Easter pomlázka is a braided whip made from pussywillow twigs and are thought to bring health and youth to anyone who is whipped with them. The origin of the pomlázka tradition (pomlázka meaning both the whip and the tradition itself) dates back to pagan times. It has been used for centuries by boys who go caroling on Easter Monday and symbolically whip girls on the legs. In the past, pomlázka was also used by the farmer's wife to whip the livestock and everyone in the household, including men and children. Boys used to make their own pomlázkas in the past (the more twigs, the more difficult it was to braid one), but this tradition and skill is long gone and pomlázkas can be bought in stores and street stands. However, I remember visiting some years back and my uncle Zdenek made his own. It was a pretty big one too.
Above and below is Kai taking some awesome classic photos =)
Starting with the picture above, us in Karlovy Vary. In the early 20th century, Karlovy Vary was the most famous spa metropolis in Europe. After World War II, Karlovy Vary wasn't too excited over restored peace because the year 1948 brought the nationalization of all springs and sanatoriums. The spa clientele recruited almost exclusively from the citizens of the then Soviet Union. It was only after the Velvet Revolution of 1989 that Western tourists began coming back to Karlovy Vary again.
We ended up taking a bus at 8am to get there and left at 3pm. The town has a very small center, so it was just enough time. We tried all the different springs, which were very... interesting tasting. Kai was constantly making all sorts of faces at the taste of the water. Lol, it was pretty funny.
Haha, funny picture... They are following the sign =) We made them do it.
For our last dinner on Sunday, before they left, we met up with Pepa, Bara, Lenka and her husband at a Celtic restaurant on Manesova. It ended up being really yummy. Half way through the dinner the power went out in all of Prague 2. So the waiters busted out the candles for us to finish up. The mood was definitely perfect.
Here are some pictures of Kai that I took for her senior pictures. I think there were some really good ones. I just chose three random ones. I'm not even sure she'll pick any of these.
I really hope that some other people will be able to make it out and visit. Really it's not just about visiting us, it will be a real European vacation (except at a much lower cost!). Everyone needs a good vacation... come to the Czech Republic!