Showing posts from February, 2012

winter blahs

Here in Prague, the weather has moderated, and the sidewalks are dry. It's a bit sunny, but mostly what BBC news calls "white sky"--not a grey overcast, but a pearly white. Anyway, not blue.

The Czech Republic consists of a very large central basin, surrounded by the medium-sized mountains that define the Czech borders.

This topography helps explain why the Bohemian and Moravian kingdoms have had a continuous existence for well over a millenium. The mountains formed a natural castle defense system against incursions by belligerent neighbors.

It also helps to explain the weather, which is not what I'm accustomed to!

1. It's colder and snowier all around Prague, even to the south. Those surrounding mountains have snow when we have rain, or no precipitation. So any trip away from Prague has to be planned with this in mind. I have a tough time to remember that, counterintuitively, south is colder, not warmer.

2. Weather seems to get stuck in an endless loop. In the…

cold weather in Prague

For people who live in Prague, the weather is an endless topic of conversation. In the U.S., you talk about the weather to old folks and strangers, but only for a minute and at the risk of being labeled a boring conversationalist.

But here, weather is as immediate and life-threatening as war. I think it's safe to generalize that Czechs are much more cautious and likely to scent danger than your average American. In a comical way, I see Czechs as little moles, poking their noses outside their burrows and sniffing the air before making a move.

Americans are, stereotypically, wolves walking on their hind feet, master of all they survey and unafraid of anyone. No self-respecting wolf would let a little thing like sub-zero temperatures and piles of snow firghten them. There's enough of the frontier left in the American character to scoff at danger and defy the elements.

With that introduction, may I say that the only topic of conversation in my home for the past 10 days is the weat…