Czech Your Ingredients

So, forgive me if I repeat something already written, but we are now embarking on a part of the trip where any language skill possessed by either of us has no value.
The Czech Republic and Greece have languages (and of course in the case of Greece, an alphabet) that bear no resemblance to English, German, or French, the languages in which at least one or other of us has some ability. Which means we were super grateful that not only did Christo take us to the station this morning in Brno, but also came in with us to help us buy our tickets and get on the right train. Apparently Czech stations have trains located by both platform and track, which was confusing to us. He even carried our rather large suitcase onto the train for us and barely got off before the train pulled out.
There was no language barrier at the main station in Prague when we arrived (by the way, the trip was uneventful and pretty, and we were both a bit melancholy about being off our bikes as we looked at the scenery, though it’s not that warm any more). We were able to follow the crowd to the exits, and then find an information booth that was actually a ticket office, AND staffed by English speakers. We purchased a ticket for today and a three-day ticket for the rest of our stay. They’re valid on buses, trams, and the metro.
We took a metro two stops and ran into our first language challenge of the day: in which direction did we want to take the tram? We tried to triangulate based on the map and markers we saw, such as the position of some overground train track, and managed to confirm our direction from the schedule usefully posted at the tram stop. We got off the tram at the correct spot (well, Angie got off. I fell off, thanks to my awkwardness with our large suitcase) and figured out where the apartment was likely to be (there was no house number, just a street name and a picture on Air BnB of the view from the balcony to guide us). Fortunately our host was waiting for us and took us into the building. Communication with Garrett was easy because he’s from Austin! He has the place on Air BnB because he’s moved in with his partner. It was interesting to us that he hesitated a beat before he chose that word.
Garrett told us where to find a decent grocery store and we set off to find it shortly after he left. This is where our largest language obstacle of the day slowed us down. We had decided we wanted to make leek and potato soup for dinner. The vegetables were easy of course, but do you think we had any clue what the words were for vegetable stock or butter? There are some words you can guess, and sometimes the packaging has pictures on it, but was it butter or margarine we were looking at? Was it beef stock or vegetable stock? We took some guesses and ended up with butter (yay) and some sort of vegetable soup paste that was totally workable. We just added that to the vegetables along with some extra water and some salt and pepper. We complemented the soup with some tasty Czech bread, and had a great dinner.
Some other little notes about today.
Christo made us an amazing breakfast, again. Today it was traditional pancakes (very thin, like crepes, which one fills with honey, jam, fruit etc., and eats with one’s hands). Angie observed that Christo and Yuliya did an amazing job treating us to home-cooked, traditional Bulgarian/Czech/Ukrainian-style meals, and they were all delicious and satisfying.
Our main interaction with a Czech person today was with a lovely young woman who sat opposite us on the train. We didn’t talk much but she kindly went and told a man that the noise of him flipping through all the pictures on his camera was really annoying. The camera beeped every time he flipped to the next shot. Of course he was an American. There was much laughter after the man was told how intrusive people were finding his camera noise. Of course she had gone over to say something on the assumption he was Czech, and she had to switch to English after all that! But I think she bonded with Angie and I a little bit over it, making her feel safe enough to leave her bag when she went to the bathroom. She also wished us a great visit as we left the train in Prague.
Oh, and the grocery stores in Prague are open on Sundays.
Quick note too about our accommodation. It’s a studio apartment one floor up, overlooking a little park. The furnishings are a bit basic, but perfect for our needs. The kitchen is actually quite modern and as long as there’s somewhere to sleep and sit, and enough basic things for cooking and eating, we can make it work.

7 thoughts on “Czech Your Ingredients

  1. I’ve been wondering if you have any schedule. Do you have to be in any particular place at a particular time, or is it more of a stop-when-we-something-we-like kind of trip. Either way, I am enjoying your trip.

  2. Doris, we were mainly planning a few days ahead at a time, partly based on biking speed while we were doing that. However, we did have a couple of hard dates, including that we fly from Prague to Athens on Wednesday and bought those tickets before we left the US. Ask Patty about some of the plans after Greece, since she’s included….

  3. We did also give ourselves longer in Vienna by the way, since we needed to be secure we had the bikes shipped off. We didn’t even plan Brno until we had that sorted.

  4. Other than the Villa we were unable to see, I think we may have been satisfied. It was a short visit and seeing Christo without overstaying our welcome was also important.

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