Like much of Central and Northern Europe, the Czech Republic has recently experienced extremely heavy snowfall. Here in Prague, it started snowing just over a week ago on Friday 8th January and continued doing so, almost without interruption, until part way through Monday 11th January. According to the local media, around 40 centimetres of snow fell during this period, the heaviest snowfall here for 17 years.
Since it has stopped snowing, the weather has been overcast and grey with virtually no sunshine. Temperatures have risen slightly, but have rarely got above zero degrees Celsius, meaning that hardly any of the lying snow has melted. According to the weather forecast I have just looked at, it will start snowing once again tonight and ‘Heavy snow’ can be expected for the next two days!
I was rather worried on Friday 8th January when it started snowing heavily, as my son Phillip was due to fly in that day from the UK to visit me over the weekend. Knowing that the UK had just experienced its worst snow for nearly thirty years, I had visions of his flight being cancelled, either because it couldn’t take off or because it couldn’t land. Fortunately, East Midlands Airport, which serves the city of Derby where Phillip lives, was less affected by snow than most other UK airports. Therefore his Friday afternoon flight was able to take off without any problems. And because the Czechs are used to dealing with snow, Prague Airport was still open and functioning, allowing his flight to land safely and on time.
I cannot help but contrast the way the UK deals with snow compared to the Czech Republic. As every British person knows, as soon as it snows in the UK, the country grinds to a halt. Last winter in London, snow falling caused the complete cessation of the capital’s bus services. Here in Prague last Sunday, despite two days of continuous falling snow, we travelled by tram from our flat in the north-western suburbs, to Church in the city centre, without any problems whatsoever. Likewise, the few flights to or from Prague Airport that were cancelled over last weekend, were almost all cancelled because of snow problems at other airports, particularly British ones, together with ones in northern Spain, not due to snow problems in Prague.
On Saturday 9th January, Sybille and I took Phillip on a walking tour of parts of Prague that he hadn’t had the opportunity of exploring on his three previous visits. We took the tram to Prague Castle and then walked down through Mala Strana, the ‘lesser town’ or ‘lower town’, that lies beneath the castle and is full of architectural delights. He was particularly keen to see the Lennon Wall and some of the artwork which lies outside the Kampa Museum alongside the Vltava River.
I took this series of pictures during our walk last Saturday. I hope they help to convey the beauty and character of Mala Strana, together with Phillip’s enjoyment of his time with us.