Me, I like a good beach vacation, full of sunshine, shorts, books and fancy cold drinks by the pool. But Bart has been wanting to go see a Christmas market since, well, forever, so I decided it was about time to let him choose a vacation destination.
We researched the various countries and their various markets, and were sort of settling down to the idea of Prague, in the Czech Republic, when we heard that our friends the GlobeHoppers were planning the same trip at the same time. Upon hearing that news, we immediately bought our tickets to Prague and figured we'd just elbow our way into their family.
So it was that a few days before Christmas, and just one day before my birthday, we hopped on a plane for a combined winter vacation/reunion/birthday party.
It was so, so fun. We ate and drank and ate and drank. And then we ate and drank some more. We meandered from market to market, with no definite end in mind, unless you count my goal of sampling gleuwein and trdelnik from every vendor we passed.
The kids all had a great time, though truth be told, I think their favorite part may have been hanging out with their friends in the executive lounge of the hotel at the end of every day.
It was a second visit for me and Bart - we went there back in 2000, when our eldest was just a baby, and I've wanted to return ever since. How does one get posted there, exactly? Because that would be one of my top "dream posts."
|Santa was in the hotel every afternoon. And every afternoon, Ainsley had to visit him.|
|She even convinced most of the other kids to visit him as well.|
|Close up shot of the rollers and cookers.|
|Rolling in cinnamon sugar.|
|I bought them for the girls and then demanded bites from each of theirs.|
|With the GlobeHoppers in front of one of the smaller markets.|
|Dinner. Gleuwein and sausage. Delicious.|
|More gleuwein, and hot cider for the kids.|
|When you get tired of gleuwein, you can always switch to hot mead. But if you're a lightweight - and I am! - stick with the small portion.|
|Mr. GlobeHopper started drinking gleuwein early. So I had to join him. Obviously. This is what friends do for one another.|
|Lest you think it was all alcohol and fried dough, let me reassure you: there were also chocolate crepes involved.|
|S with his friend N from Jordan, whose mom was forcing him to hold up a camel for some sort of a middle eastern "Flat Stanley" situation. This is probably why S is smiling, but N is not.|
|Ainsley followed B and her sister around everywhere.|
|Us, the first night, in Old Town Square. Rainy and cold, but beautiful.|
|It looks sort of haunted, doesn't it? It's the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn, built in the 14th and 15th centuries. There was a picture of the Pope inside the church, causing Ainsley to squawk "Kyra! There's that guy from your first communion!!"|
|You're not allowed to take pictures inside the church, but someone in our family took a surreptitious shot with his phone. I'm not going to tell you who did it, but I'll give you a hint - it wasn't the person who was on her second glass of gleuwein.|
|Back outside again. The famous Astronomical Clock is just behind Bart's shoulder.|
|A typical Old Town street. Can you see why I love it so much?|
|Right. So these pictures are not ordered chronologically, obviously. Here's the Old Town Square Christmas tree, with the Lady of Tyn in the background.|
|Kyra and Ainsley got to hold a pair of turtledoves down at the Wenceslas Square market.|