We have a tendency to travel at Christmas; more because we have time to get away then than out of any desire to escape Denmark. This time, our destination was Prague. Although Thor had been several times before, this was my first trip there, and I knew very little about it. I'd heard that it's one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, has the world's best beer, which almost makes up for the absolutely dreadful food, and that it is crawling with American expats.
We didn't take the time to check for crawling Americans; most of the native English accents were various flavors of British from what I heard, but it was quite cold, so perhaps all my fellow expats were hiding at home. And the beer quality was lost on me, though I was well on my way to a serious absinthe habit by the end of the first day. Sadly, though I pride myself on liking all cuisines, I found the food fairly disappointing...I won't say dreadful, just, well, not very inspiring. And I'm convinced that traditional bread dumplings actually are circular pieces cut out of slices of Wonder Bread. I kid you not. I should have taken pictures.
But the city is definitely one of the more beautiful I've seen, in Europe or elsewhere. If cities have colors, Prague is all sorts of pastels, faded facades along narrow twisty alleyways, or overlooking elegant squares. The main square is overlooked by the original Cinderella's castle, made all the more impressive by being just slightly dilapidated. The whole city is this way, an old woman wearing old-fashioned worn-out clothing which still, somehow, suits her perfectly.
Keep in mind that when I say we were in Prague for Christmas, I really mean we were in Prague for Christmases. In Denmark, the big day is actually Christmas Eve, leading to eternal arguments about which day is the 'real' Christmas. On Danish Christmas, we went to Prague Castle, which includes a cathedral, which was, against all reasonable expectations, closed. On American Christmas, we went to a series of synagogues and a Jewish cemetary. This is in keeping with another tradition of doing decidedly un-Christmassy things on the 25th...last year, we spent part of the day visiting Mao's mausoleum.
Otherwise, the point of the whole journey was to relax, and considering how much work I knew was waiting for me at home, it was actually surprisingly relaxing. We strolled, souvenir shopped, took pictures, hung out in bars, walked back and forth on the Charles Bridge, and survived the cold. It was, in short, an ideal winter holiday.
Any suggestions on where to go next Christmas?