Friday, June 21, 2013

My garden this year 2013

This year I managed to plant 3 tomatoes, 2 bell pepper plants and a zucchini plus some flowers. I am not really making an effort because we are moving to another place with a terrace and a very small garden. I don't really feel like moving all the flowers and pots so I am keeping things down to a minimum.

You can see the bell peppers are starting to grow and the tomatoes are flowering which is a miracle given the cold weather this year. I started planting the balcony very late but so far so good, just hope the move will not affect the plants too much.

And my target for next year is my current neighbor's garden. Ok, ok, I will have only 20sqm of actual soil, it will be something similar in size to the small rectangle at the bottom left of the picture but I have to have a target, right?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Wedding inspiration: String heart

We wanted to involve our family and friends as much as possible in the wedding preparations. This was quite difficult because everyone lives so far from us and from each other but we still managed to give them small projects before or during the big day that they were all very happy.

You should attempt asking for help like this only if you think the people are willing to participate and if you really need it. It's a fine line but for us it worked because for example my husband's grandma was very excited about the wedding but wanted to participate in the organization and didn't know what to do.

So I showed her some ideas I had and the one we both loved the most was the string heart. You can see a tutorial here. She had already done something like it in the past, she is very artistic, but she was nervous to do make this heart for her grandson's wedding. And here is the end result.

We had hearts almost everywhere at the wedding: on the invitations, menus, balloon hearts, metal hearts, etc. This framed string heart was used in some of the artistic pictures we took in order to use as thank you cards and also many people took pictures with it.

Grandma used a silk backdrop and a thrifted frame she painted gold. She was very surprised to see we used it as a decor and to take pictures with it, at first she didn't know what it woudl be for.

Hope it inspires you and you find this as a fun project if you want to involve someone in your wedding.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Swimming pool in Plzen

I cannot believe I've been living here for 4 years and have just now discovered the main swimming pool here. I knew there were 3 municipal swimming pools but I had never visited either of them until two weeks ago, on a rainy Saturday. And I've been back twice since then.

The main swimming pool in Slovany has a big indoor pool used for competitions and smaller pools for relaxation or for children. On top of that there are two whirlpools, a toboggan and an outdoor pool. Oh and sauna as well.

The main pool goes from 1,20m to 2,10 and it is usually divided into a section for the public (the shallow part in the week) and a section for the different sporting activities of the club.

If you are member of the club you can take part in water polo, synchronized swimming, different swimming categories, etc. If you just want to exercise you can simply swim or go for aqua aerobics which takes place every day and is part of the entrance ticket. Which costs about 2,5 euros for 1h30. I will go for aqua aerobics next time, seems great for pregnant me.

So far I just relaxed in the dedicated pool you see pictured above. It is heated to about 32°C and there are different water and air jets massaging you. I love the lounge area in the lower part of the picture, where water jets massage your back and legs and you can just enjoy. It's great on a rainy, cold day. I also swam in the larger pool but I only ventured a little bit to the deeper end and I was quite tired very fast. I'll go for the aerobics, it seemed easy but tiring. In a year or so we'll take junior for his first lessons.

There were a lot of people during the weekend, of course, less so during the week and in the evening (they close at 21.00) but all seemed to have fun and enjoy the place respectfully. In the end it is like an aqua park but owned by the municipality. There is a restaurant and a boarding house and you can even go for aerobics and cardio classes.

Czechs never cease to amaze me with the love they have for sports and water sports in particular, like they were born sailors. Now that I discovered this place, I am thinking about taking a permanentka, monthly pass and take advantage of this sport mania.

The pictures are from the website of the swimming pool. Of course, I did not take any pictures there but you can even check the webcam and see which lanes are open and how many people there are, before you go.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What to do in Prague between two flights

This post could have been titled : What to see in Prague if you wanted to go for a roughly 10km walk. Or what to do in Prague if you've only got one day. Or better yet, what to do in Prague when there is no flood warning In fact this is my essential guide to Prague so enjoy :) First things first, link to the map of the itinerary I suggest you, this is from
So you came here by plane, I already gave you the how to get to Prague from the airport in my previous post, here. Let's say for example, you get off the udnerground at Malostranska station. You are at the foot of the castle and you can go against (one) flow of tourists by climbing the old castle steps and going to the Castle by what is usually considered it's back door. In Prague you will never be able to avoid all tourists all the time : they come at you from all directions, every time. But they normally come down from the Castle this way (so not up) and you should have less of them to worry about. Bonus point is the Castle wineyard.
Now, visit the Castle, of course. But remember you don't have a lot of time so don't buy tickets to visit the inside rooms, leave that for another time. Just visit the part of the Cathedral which is free and you can even take pictures, the entrace gives you a good view of the inside, as well, a teaser in case you want to see more next time. There will be a next time, trust me.

Walk out of the Castle (notice the big Hercules figures at the main gate?). Don't forget to take pictures of the panorama from both the entrance and exit. Just try to find a space among the tourists perched on the wall.
You can continue your trek through the square in front of the Castle and are now faced with 2 options: 1. continue to the Loretta Church - worth while especially if the bells will be rung, or 2. go down to Nerudova street and walk towards Mikulasske Namesti and the Church of St Nicholas.
At this point you will be faced with two options again. First is to go to the Charles Bridge, cross it and head into Old Town or to go into Kampa. I suggest you go to the area of Kampa, there you will find some nice streets and restaurants as well as the Kafka museum. I know you don't have a lot of time but just go inside the courtyard and take a look at the David Cerny statues in front of the museum.

Going around you can pass through a garden or park, these are hidden gems of Prague: the Vojanovy sady or the Valdstejnska zahrada. Attention, it is a lot of walking around so go there only if you are ready for it.

Next, cross the bridge, of course, but take care, it is usually full of tourists. So full that it takes longer than you would think to cross. Once on the other side of the bridge, go into Josefov, the Jewish quarter by passing through Old town. Take a look at the Castle from the Rudolfinum, a great concert hall and then continue to the jewish cemetery's back door for a peek at the tombstones without paying the exaggerated fee.
Continue exploring the Jewish quarter and it's many souvenir shops while paying attention to the architecture. Have your picture taken with Kafka in the square of the same name. There is a big statue of a headless guy holding a small one on his shoulder. I'll let you ponder on that one.

No tour of Prague would be complete without the Clock in the Old Town Square. It is easy to find: just look for were there are the most tourists. Take a walk around the Square. Sometimes there are some attactions or a market. Go inside St Tyn, the Church with 2 black belltowers.
Go towards the Municipal House, Obecni Dum, a jewel of Art Nouveau. Next to it is the Powder Tower, a remnant of the old city walls. Pass underneath and continue on the very shopping street Na Porici, towards Vaclavske Namesti. If you are not too tired you can head into one of the shopping galleries and go to the Ovocny trh street to the Stavovske theatre where Mozart played his operas. In Prague, just walk around and you will be surprised.

By going around this way, you can find a market on Havelska street and get some souvenirs and cheap post cards before finding yourself back on Vaclavske Namesti at the place called Mustek. This is the rendez-vous place in Prague, everyone meets up at the New Yorker store.

Now you see the National Museum, walk up to the Statue of Vaclav. This is a historic place because Czech people like to start their revolutions from here. The museum offers another pretty view of Prague. After you finish taking your pictures, go to the underground station and take the tube back to the airport (towards Zlicin and then bus 100 or to the train station and then the Airport Express bus).

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Floods in Czech Republic 2013 - Plzen

As you've probably heard already, 2013 is a year of bad weather, here in the CZ. Right now the capital is flooded as well as many cities, there have already been several deaths and incidents due to the heavy rainfall and flooding. Many bridges are closed, especially in the West and North of the Country.

For information in English go to the Expats website here. The have links to the best resources available right now in English and Czech.

Because I've been asked how was the situation in Pilsen, here is a picture of the river which is not even 100m from our flat. Luckily we are on an elevated area. As you can see, the river had gone beyond the trees opn Saturday, covering the pedestrian paths on either side. I did not check the status today but surely it's worse because it has been raining eversince.

Nothing to be done except to keep safe, drink bottled water and if possible, help those in need.

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