Sunday, December 07, 2008

Christmas Shopping - Modern and Medieval

Christmas shopping here in Czech Republic is both really similar and totally different than in the USA. Don't worry, there are plenty of malls where you can find anything and everything you need, and of course, all that you don't need as well. They are all well-equipped with big food courts, lots of stores, ATM machines, and big Christmas trees and snow men! Oh yeah, and just as many people as you'd find in American malls. Some of my friends claim that they don't really like shopping at the big malls, but there are definitely a lot of Czechs who do like it.

But if the crowds INSIDE get you down, there's always the outdoor Christmas shopping! In the outdoor Christmas market in the main square in town. I don't know how long this market has been a tradition, but it must be a long time. Here you can find some actual hand-crafts, some claimed-to-be hand-crafts (that probably aren't), and some random little shops with purses, pillows and other things that have nothing to do with being a hand-craft. And then there's the unique Christmas market food! You can try a bramborak (potato pancake), langosh- my new favorite - (a big piece of fried dough with garlic, cheese, and ketchup on it), klobasa (sausage), or a trdlnik (an amazingly delicious hollow cylinder of fried dough coated in cinnamon sugar)! And of course, everything there is totally greasy! There also a stage set up to watch some traditional dances.

So, please don't think that this country is a stranger to the modern mall or that the modern mall is the only way to shop here. I must say we've got the best of both worlds for Christmas shopping!


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