Monday, August 29, 2016

Czech living - Czechs love ice-cream

As soon as the temperature goes up, even just a little bit, just enough to reach two digits, Czechs of all ages line up for ice creams. It's a proven fact that there is no season for an ice-cream, here in Czechia. The weather is normally mild in these parts, the summers not very hot and the winters, cold but not extremely so

Come fall, ice-cream stands in other parts of the world lose their flags and start to disappear or at least try to become invisible as they make room for more seasonal snacks. But not in the land of Kafka. Be it spring or winter one can see small kids and grandma's, big muscle guys or dainty damsels all happily licking away a sweet cone or a popsicle. The peak season is of course summer when people queue up for a cold and delicious zmrzlina.

Yap, you read that right, yes, there are no less than 1, 2, 3, 4, 5! 5! consonants one after the other without a single vowel between them in the Czech word for ice-cream. Makes your tongue twist and turn in your mouth, a good exercise for dealing with the frozen delight may it be on a cone or on a stick.

Ice cream comes in all shapes, sizes and flavors. The flavors are as plentiful and mouth watering as everywhere, or at least in Italy, the country most would associate with ice-cream. As for the size, this is up to everyone's appetite. The dictionary also  knows more than one type of ice-cream. Zmrzlina, or frozen one, comes in a cone or a cup, as a scoop, a "kopeček" meaning small hill or as soft ice-cream - točene - spun from a machine. Then there is the nanuk, the inuit master of bears, this is the name for ice-cream on a stick and finally the Russian ice-cream - ruska zmrzlina, basically ice-cream sandwiched between two waffles. And lets not forget the donut filled ice-cream cone that made a buzz on the internet. In February! Go to for more on this caloric bomb.

Don't worry, Czechs still love their beer. Not the kind to fear a soar throat nor an upset stomach, they indulge in both, all year round. And after all, why not, it's such an innocent treat. What's your favorite?

PS: I was thinking of making a series about Czech culture. Already wrote about beer, remember?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Depo2015 - a Space for Creativity and Art in Plzen

2015 marked the year that Plzen was European Capital of Culture. Linked to this, an old bus depot was transformed in a huge exhibition and events space. The outside parking, once used for buses and trolleybuses has hosted events as diverse as street food festivals, giant puppet shows, and an exhibit on public transportation.

The blue tanks are the guardians of the area
The armadillo - Ford Ka is inviting everyone for a visit
The space continues to be alive even now that Aarhus in Denmark and Pafos in Cyprus took the relay as European Capitals of Culture. Depo2015 intends to combine art and culture with entrepreneurship. Inside, it hosts young artists and entrepreneurs who can rent space and tools they need for their projects and meet each other in a co-working environment. Workshops are also organized, teaching sewing and woodworking to the public of all ages.

Probably the most prominent feature of the grounds is the art installation of Čestmír Suška workconsisting of re-purposed beer, water and gas tanks some of which can be climbed for a view of the neighborhood and the river Radbuza, not far from here. Although huge, these metallic structures seem delicate and fragile, almost made of lace.

Some of Suska's work

Map of the area

With a very nice café and the workshops organized here, the old depot is coming back to life and harbors creativity just it once sheltered the city's buses. The Depo2015 is at 15 Presslova street in Plzen, open Mo-Fri 11.00-19.00, Sat-Su 10;00-18.00. It is accessible by trolleybus no. 10, 13 or 14 or as a short walk from the city center.
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