My Czech Republic Christmas Mementos

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My Czech Republic Christmas Mementos

I’ve been living in my daughter’s guest room for nearly two and a half years!  I’ve got three storage units in different states. But does that dampen my enthusiasm for collecting more “stuff”?!   The answer is no, much to my son-in-law’s chagrine. There is nothing more satisfying than finding some little something with a history from a different place and time. Here are the Christmas treasures I collected in the Czech Republic.

imageAt the foot of Prague Castle I discovered the first antique store I’d seen. It was a small, crowded shop filled with things. I began admiring these bedizened Christmas trees that ranged in sizes and colors. The proprietor didn’t speak English and when I showed interest in the trees he began talking to his son at a rapid pace, anxious for the son to translate the story of these trees. In an area where much Czech glass was made for jewelry, women would collect surplus beads and create these embellished Christmas trees. He explained they had long, hard winters, which gave them ample opportunity to produce them.

The place I encountered the most antique shops–thanks to Zoe–was Cesky Budejovice. There seemed to be a fair amount of carved wood, which I love. So I had to leave with this simply carved nativity. I love looking at the smallest bits of shavings still lodged in the corners, and wish I knew who painstakingly carved it.

Zoe had explained to me the Traditional Christmas dinner for the Czech people. They eat carp raised in centuries old manmade lakes. The carp are harvested in December and purchased from barrels while still alive. So some people still keep carp in the bathtub until Christmas!  I was delighted to find this print of the carp harvest in a lake near Hluboka and Vltavou.

Cesky Budejovice also happens to be where I found the image I used for my Christmas card.  It was in the Church of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary, a church that presented a feeling of reverence for me. This old fresco humbly appeared on a forgotten wall as I turned a corner, and it spoke to me.

imageWhat a pleasure to enjoy these mementos of a place I’ve grown to love.  I wish each one of you a very Merry Christmas, and hope you enjoy the peace made possible for us through the Savior’s birth!

Rhonda Sarantis

Rhonda Sarantis

"She's crazy and loud but she loves you!" That's what they tell my infant granddaughter to prepare her for my visit, so I thought it would be a great way to prepare you. And while I may not always be crazy or loud, one thing is always true: I LOVE people. That's at the heart of my passion for travel. I love getting to know people from different cultures who speak different languages, eat different food, have different ideas and opinions. I'm endlessly curious and make a point of reading about the countries I visit. Instead of saying "that's not how WE do it," I enjoy identifying strengths in diverse cultures, and learning about their way of life. I LOVE road trips! I have great memories of monthlong vacations growing up. Dad always had a van--before they were popular--and invited anybody who wanted to join us. My road trips within the United States will be featured in "The Lower Case Travelogs." Be sure to buckle your seat belt. I execute illegal u-turns if a bakery or estate sale is spotted!

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