Spring comes to Prague

Forsythia in full bloom (c) S.Yates

Forsythia in full bloom © Sybille Yates

Apologies to those who follow my blog that I haven’t posted anything for just over two weeks. I’ve got three excuses. The first is suffering from bloggers block – not really knowing what to write about. The second is we’ve just had Holy Week & Easter – a somewhat busy time in my profession and about which I will write in due course. And the third is the complete change in the weather we have experienced here in Prague meaning that it has been much more fun to be outside rather than sitting before the computer!

On the night of Saturday 28th – Sunday 29th March, all across Europe, the clocks went forward by one hour. Here in Prague, we are now two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) on Central European Summer Time (CEST) which remains one hour ahead of the UK who are now on British Summer Time (BST). However, calling it ‘summer time’ did seem rather odd bearing in mind that in the week before the clocks went forward, we’d had several snow showers! But in the week following the clock change, as March became April, suddenly Winter became Spring. In fact it was almost more like Winter became Summer!

For the past twelve days or so, we’ve had clear blue skies during the day with ever increasing hours of sunshine and temperatures into the low twenties Celsius. And as each succeeding day has a few more minutes’ daylight and a few minutes less darkness, the change is quite astounding. You see and experience it in so many ways.

Out of the ground have sprung a whole array of spring flowers in a variety of bright colours. You see them in the flowerbeds of public open spaces, in window boxes hung on balconies and in the private gardens of those lucky enough to have ground-floor flats or houses. Forsythia is flowering bright yellow and all those trees that should have blossom, have blossomed!

We often walk up the steep tarmac path called Pat’anka that leads from our flats complex up to a fascinating suburb of late 1920s/early 1930s Bauhaus houses above. We walk to exercise our legs, enjoy the wonderful view across the city at the top of the hill, visit the Albert Supermarket, as well as to enjoy some occasional liquid refreshment in the Na staré fare Bar-Restaurant. In just one week, the wooded slope that the steep path traverses has gone from bare trees and branches to every shade of green imaginable.

At the back of the Na staré fare Bar-Restaurant, there is a wonderful shaded courtyard which we had previously only ever seen through the window. For the past ten days it has been furnished with tables, chairs & sun umbrellas and we have enjoyed eating meals there al fresco. Likewise in the city centre, every bar & restaurant that can, now has tables and chairs outside so that customers can enjoy the warmth and the sunshine.

It is not only nature and the Hotel/restaurant/bar trade that has suddenly gone into Spring/Summer mode, so has most of the resident population. Throughout the winter months, most Prague women have dressed in jeans or trousers with leather boots. Very rarely did you see a skirt, no doubt because it was too cold. Suddenly, skirts are everywhere and only occasionally are they of the mid-calf or below variety. Nearly all the younger ladies, together with quite a number of the not-so-young ladies, wear them knee length or above, often considerably above!!! Many men are in shorts whilst the builders working on the final part of our flat complex development opposite are bare-chested & displaying their six packs as they fabricate steel mesh & pour concrete.

Whilst it has been wonderful to finally be able to enjoy this amazing city in warmth and sunshine, there are two downsides. After three months (January – March) of being able to walk freely through the historic areas and across Charles Bridge with relatively few people around, the tourist season has now re-started with a vengeance. We are threatening to start wearing tee-shirts declaring ‘I’m not a tourist, I live here!’ And today I found the first two unwelcome visitors of a different kind in our bathroom – mosquitoes! Unfortunately, one of them found me first. I have a lovely bite on my left forearm!

4 comments to Spring comes to Prague

  • Ricky nice to see you back. I like the idea of the tee shirt, I often feel the same here in Thailand although all foreigners are called “farang” anyway. I always take pleasure when, on being asked by a Thai where I come from, I say in my best Thai ” Prachuap Khiri Khan!”

  • Hi Ricky, good to see your post. I forgive you and accept your excuse of Holy week,. but writer’s block? In Prague – Never.

    Short skirts sound good, they are like a themometer, the hotter it is the higher they rise! Tourist, well in Prague tourist are part of the spring/summer scene.

    Mossies, yer, they tend to go for foreigners more than locals and I’m sure this is the same for you.

    Take care and enjoy the warmth

  • Ricky

    Mike – firstly, thanks for visiting & leaving a comment. Having now lived here for nearly 7 months, we find that in bars, restaurants and shops where we have become known because we have patronised them regularly, we are treated differently from the one-off visiting tourist. This tends to be in the suburb where we live which is also less frequented by tourists than the city centre. It is in the city centre that we feel we need to wear the tee shirt!

    Martin – likewise, thanks for visiting & leaving a comment. Prague is beautiful city with lots to write about but sometimes that can be overwhelming, hence the bloggers block!

    Regarding short skirts, it used to be said that hemlines rose when the economy was good & fell when the economy was bad. In view of the current worldwide economic downturn, hemlines should be mid-calf or below! Actually, the Czech economy is in better shape than most. Czech banks have not been guilty of making dodgy loans & have not needed bailing out by the government. May be you’re right and skirt length is purely related to temperature!!!

  • Prague in spring/summer is really wonderful. This winter I have felt like I was in hiatus. So much more I enjoy it in Prague with the nice weather. And for Easter this year you had better weather in Prague than we did in Malta. I have learned to stay away from Prague 1 as much as possible in summer tho. Most of the parks like Letna, Riegrovy Sady and Havlickovy Sady does not feel overrun by tourists.