Showing posts from May, 2011

Shopping in Prague (consumer alert!)

Shopping as it's done in the USA doesn't exist here in Prague.

If you want something here, you should go into the store, buy it (preferably with correct change) and leave as quickly as possible. In any small Czech store away from the center of Prague, you get the distinct impression that you are bothering the shop assistants.

If there are two of them, they will be chatting away with each other and will completely ignore you. If you manage to buy something, in spite of most of the goods being behind the counter where you can't even see them, much less touch them, you'd better not burden the assistant by expecting her to make change. No large bills allowed (literally, I've had assistants refuse to accept a 1000 kc bill, about $40.00).
The Czech shop assistants are not trained to show you their products, or help you make a choice. They are not trained to smile, or let you know in any way that you are welcome--far from it! If you try to look at products, or pick them …

Going to the doctor or the hairdresser?

Yesterday I went to my doctor here in Prague. When we called the day before, she said we could come by anytime before noon on Wednesday or Thursday. So we got there at 10 am. We didn't have to wait, and the doctor was very gracious. She helped me immediately and made me feel important.

Today I went to the hairdresser. We had stopped by yesterday and made my appointment for 9:30. Jarda did it for me, so I know that he and the receptionist should have been able to communicate clearly in Czech.

When I got there, the receptionist was nowhere in sight. The woman who was supposed to cut my hair was busy with another customer and wouldn't meet my eye. So I sat down to wait. There were two sofas--one was taken up with a purse, a coffee cup and other stuff belonging to the person who was being helped by my hairdresser. When I tried to sit down, a woman with curlers in her hair, who was taking up all the room on the other sofa, started to scold me in a flood of Czech. I understood her w…

Vrtbovská zahrada (Vrtba Garden)

Hidden on a busy Mala Strana street (Karmelitska) is an almost-unknown Prague gem: Vrtba Garden.

From their website: "Together with three other Baroque gardens (Vratislav, Schönborn and Lobkowicz), the Vrtba Garden is situated on the slope of Petřín Hill and is one of the most precious and beautiful of Prague's Baroque gardens.

The creation of this magnificent palace garden is associated with the construction boom around 1720. The garden was designed by František Maxmilián Kaňka, who first renovated the palace for Jan Josef, Count of Vrtba and then created the garden.

Unlike the garden, which retained its Baroque style without any significant changes, the Vrtba Palace underwent radical changes during the following centuries. The statue and sculpture decorations were created by Matyáš Bernard Braun.

In addition, painter Václav Vavřinec Reiner was involved in the masterpiece. The interior decoration of the Sala Terrena has survived in its original designs until today. The f…