Summer comes to Prague

The Saturday morning Farmers’ Market at Vítezné námestí © Ricky Yates

After a few false starts, it does seem that summer has finally arrived in Prague. Over the last couple of weeks we have had temperatures well into the twenties Celsius, plenty of sunshine and only the occasional thundery downpour. So here are some words and pictures to give a flavour of our life in Prague now summer is here.

Since soon after Easter, each Saturday morning, there has been a regular Farmers’ Market at Vítezné námestí, just a short bus or tram journey from the Chaplaincy Flat. So now the weather is so much more enticing, Sybille and I are trying to make visiting the market part of our regular Saturday morning routine. We are not the only ones as you can see from the crowds on the photograph above!

Freshly baked bread for sale at the Farmers’ Market © Ricky Yates

Despite now having a new Kaufland supermarket on our doorstep, it still is nice to be able to buy fresh vegetables and freshly baked bread at the Farmers’ Market each week.

Cakes for sale at the Farmers’ Market © Ricky Yates

However, so far we a have resisted buying any of these delicious looking cakes…….

Select your Moravian wine at the Farmers’ Market © Ricky Yates

Or bringing our plastic screw-top bottles to be filled with any of these various Moravian wines.

Church Family Picnic on Sunday 24th June 2012 © Ricky Yates

However, this week sees the end of the school year for both the International and the Czech schools. And this impacts considerably on the congregational life of St. Clements as it marks the beginning of an eight week period when many of our regular members head off on holiday and/or travel back to their countries of origin. Whilst Sunday worship continues, midweek activities cease, to recommence at the beginning of September.

Therefore last Sunday 24th June, before many of the regular congregation depart to various corners of the world, following our Family Eucharist, we held a Church Family Picnic in an attractive small park that lies between St. Clement’s Church and the Vltava River. We were blessed by the recently arrived dry, warm and sunny weather and good time of fun and fellowship was had by the many who attended. Courtesy of the generosity of all those who brought picnic food to share, we were able to invite several of our visiting worshippers last Sunday, to also join us for our picnic.

The arrival of warm summer weather has also encouraged Sybille and I to take more frequent late afternoon/early evening walks to Stromovka Park, just as we used to do when we had Sam the dog. As well as the warmth and sunshine, there is the opportunity of being able to enjoy ‘a cool glass of something’ in the Šlechtovka beer garden, located in the middle of the park. For Sybille there is the additional attraction that many dog owners also frequent the beer garden allowing her to make the acquaintance of numerous four-legged friends and get a regular fur-fix.

The one drawback of Šlechtovka beer garden is that the music played over their speaker system can at best be described as ‘somewhat difficult on the ears’. On occasions, I would struggle to call some of it ‘music’! There is an adjacent covered stand for live music and on one occasion, a couple of weeks ago, there was a guitarist and drummer playing whose live music was much more to our taste.

However on Tuesday of this week, we were delighted to discover upon our arrival just before 6.00 pm, that there was to be a concert that evening, given by students and staff of the Prague Conservatoire. What could be more delightful than enjoying a cool glass of beer listening to the playing of various young talented Czech classical musicians?

The concert lasted just over an hour and was thoroughly enjoyable. One of the highlights was a Sonáta by the French composer Joseph Bodin de Boismortier, played by Dudlajdá Fagotiky, a quartet of young ladies playing bassoons – three normal ones together with a bass bassoon. I’m not sure of the exact meaning of the quartet’s name though fagot is Czech for bassoon.

Dudlajdá Fagotiky playing at Šlechtovka beer garden © Ricky Yates

As you can see, not only were the four young ladies excellent musicians, they also seemed to compete between themselves as to who could wear the highest stiletto heels and shortest black minidress 🙂

13 comments to Summer comes to Prague

  • It was summer, how could they not? 😉

    • Ricky

      Karen – If you are referring to the last photograph then I entirely agree with you 🙂

  • The farmers’ market looks great and you had wonderful weather for the church picnic. What fun! As for the concert and the young bassoonists….. 🙂

    • Ricky

      Yes Perpetua – the Farmers’ Market seems to get better each week. If you get there too late in the morning, the good stuff has gone! The weather was good for the Church Family Picnic in contrast to last year when it was rather cool & showery. However, I notice that you last sentence is incomplete 😉

  • Sean

    My wife Kate and I are visiting Prague for a few days from Saturday 7th July, we can’t wait to see the beautiful city again and enjoy one of our favourite places on Earth. Your blog always gives us an interesting and informative look at Prague life and lore and we enjoy it immensely.

    Thank you Revd. Yates,

    Sean Mccann

    • Ricky

      Thank you Sean for your kind words. It would be lovely to see you at St. Clement’s at 11.00 on Sunday 8th July whilst you’ve visiting this wonderful city.

  • Hi, Rev. Yates!

    Those cakes do look tasty! Why don’t you and your wife break down and indulge with one of those cherry ones at a local beer hall? You could even share some with Oscar if you’re on a diet or something…;-)

    I think someone should teach the young ladies with the bassoons how to dress modestly for public observation. They do indeed seem to have struck up a contest among themselves for wearing the skimpiest outfit and highest heels! It’s absolutely shocking the way some girls come to church, especially in the summertime. I honestly don’t know what they’re thinking….or maybe I don’t want to know….

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy the rest of your Slavic summer!

    God Bless,

    • Ricky

      Yes Pearl – those cakes do look tasty. The same stall had a similar array of goodies last Saturday morning too. But we are trying to watch our waistlines & Oscar isn’t really into cake except for any cream that might be on top 🙂

      Don’t be so harsh on the young female musicians. It was very warm & sunny and they are young & good-looking. And whilst I take your point about what some people, both female & male, choose to wear when they come to Church, do be very careful about judging others based purely on their outward appearance. I wrote about this earlier on the blog, partly to rebuke myself for doing the very same thing .

      We certainly will enjoy the rest of our ‘Slavic summer’ & will write some more about it here in due course.

  • Well, then maybe Oscar would like a bowl of Czech whipped cream some time, yah? 😉

    Indeed, I agree that with you that we should not judge people merely on outward appearences. However, I would say that objective judgements are different than subjective judgements, and modesty in modern society seems to have gone down the tubes for the most part. It may not be a premeditated thing on the part of the young musicians, etc., but dressing in a revealing way can lead other people to sin. I am dedicated to trying to educate people about this. If you’ll allow me, I’ll elaborate a wee bit…

    The general code of modest fashion that I have been taught is this: Dresses and skirts should reach at least to the knee. With shorts, it could be slightly above the knee, but no more. All shirts and dresses should at least have short sleeves as opposed to sleeveless or strapless. Also, necklines should only go so low as three fingers (sideways) below the pit of the throat. Pants and shirts should be reasonably loose fitting rather than being “painted” on.

    I would say that good-looking girls shouldn’t have to resort to wearing less clothing to prove they are attractive. A pretty face or a nice figure won’t be hidden by the above described clothing. Also, it’s really the personality of a person that should gain the most attention.

    Thank you for reading through my rather long modesty manual! 😉

    • Ricky

      Hi again Pearl – I didn’t expect the last picture in this post and my closing lines, which were purely meant to be humorous 🙂 , to provoke a discussion as to what is, or is not, suitable attire for females. You are obviously entitled to your own opinion though I have to say it is a little legalistic & could be seen as judgemental of others. Where I do totally agree with you is your last remark saying ‘it’s really the personality of a person that should gain the most attention’.

      However, what I would very much disagree with is your line that somehow, what a woman wears, ‘can lead other people to sin’. I wrote about this issue back in 2009 in a post about Turkish women wearing the hijib –

      The following long quotation is from the latter half of that post & explains my view as a male, on this issue.

      “What I really object to is the other reasoning given by Islamic teachers (always male!) as to why women should wear the hijab. It is to stop men looking at women as sex objects and to allay male lust because; male lust is the fault and responsibility of women! When objecting to this perverse reasoning, for once, my being a male is to my advantage.

      This perverse reasoning is not confined solely to male Islamic teachers. It is used by some defence lawyers and their male clients in mitigation for the offence of rape or the attempted rape of a woman. The poor female victim is accused of being at least partly responsible for the crime committed against her because she was wearing a short skirt or a top that showed too much cleavage.

      As a male, I hope that I can look at a woman who is dressed attractively and be able to say, “She looks nice”, without any need to molest her in any manner. To be able to appreciate her God given beauty rather blame her for leading me astray. To recognise women as complimentary and equal to men, rather than seeking to subjugate them. To not see women as purely a temptation to sin. For however much certain Islamic teachers may protest otherwise, the day to day practice of Islam does effectively turn women into second-class citizens and insisting that women must wear the hijab is in many ways indicative of that.

      However, before being too critical about how some people dress in the Islamic world, it should be said that we in the West can often also be far too concerned about the way we and other people look. Why is it that many politicians now use image consultants? I am always reminded of the words of God to Samuel the prophet as recorded in the Old Testament. “The Lord does not look at the things human beings look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”. 1 Samuel 16 v7

      What matter most is not our outward dress or appearance but our inner motives and attitudes.”

  • Hello again, Rev. Yates.

    I’m sorry if I came off a bit “legalistic” in the last comment. It wasn’t my intent, but I do believe women – including myself – have a responsibility to dress modestly, especially at church. Indeed, men should do the same thing, as opposed to tromping about shirtless or wearing pants hanging half-way down in public! To me, it’s just a matter of common courtesy to outside observers.

    I agree with you completely about the fact that rapists have no excuse in the world, and some men tend to want to shift the blame for their own bad thoughts and actions onto woman. However, I would also say that men are probably more likely to have bad thoughts when seeing women in tight, low-cut, or skimpy clothing as opposed to seeing one in reasonably modest clothing. I’m not saying women should go around in potato sacks, but they don’t have to strip down for public viewing either!

    I think some girls do so on purpose to get young men attracted. Not all, of course, but some. The body is supposed to be the Temple of the Holy Spirit, but instead, they are using it as a man-trap. I think that’s the worst way a girl can lower her dignity. As I said and you agreed, the main thing the guy should be drawn to is the girl’s personality, and I do think there is a difference between someone thinking a girl is “pretty” and someone thinking a girl is “sexy.” So that’s my opinion, anyway.

    Thank you for your time, and I do respect your opinion.

    God Bless,

    • Ricky

      Hi again Pearl – Thank you for your further comment & my apologies for my previous delay in approving & responding to your earlier comment. I’m certainly at one with you in disliking the tendency of some men who wear ‘pants (American English) / trousers (British English) hanging half-way down in public’ 😉

      Regarding the rest of what you wrote here & in your previous comment, let me say that I fully respect your opinion just as you have respected mine.

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