Posts Tagged ‘Winter’


Family movies and the Santa Claus existence dilemma

In Culture,History,Life,Religion,Winter on December 25, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , ,

Christmas on network TV stations in the Czech Republic (i.e. non-cable stations like Czech Television, TV Nova and TV Prima) is represented by two separate avalanches of movie production: one, an avalanche of Christmas-themed “family movies” about separated families getting together, about children meeting Santa Claus whose existence they questioned, or about men being with wrong women and finally meeting and falling for the right women.  And two, an avalanche of classic Czech non-cartoon fairytales from the 1970’s and 1980’s – with kingdoms and princes and ordinary peasant girls they fall for… etc.

The programming schemes are often very odd in terms of the whole Christmas message 🙂 For example, at 8:30 a.m. there was a family movie about a father who spends hours searching for the perfect gift he knows his son wants. Ergo, the movie says there is no Santa Claus and that presents are purchased by parents. The entire movie almost ignores the figure of Santa… And two hours later the same TV station offers the typical Santa movie.

Kids who spent all day watching TV and who are still convinced that there is no Santa Claus must be really confused. Naturally, it is not the role of TV programs to tell them the truth.

Moreover, practically all American family movies feature families living in houses with huge bay windows and chimneys/fireplaces, which of course confuses Czech kids even more… Most Czechs live in apartment buildings with central heating…

Photo downloaded from


“Merry Christmas”: eight degrees Celsius on Christmas Eve

In Photography,Winter on December 24, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , ,


Christmas markets: hot wine, hand-made products, skating

In Culture,Winter on December 17, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , ,

The Christmas market in the city of Olomouc is traditional. A “tiny city” of wooden booths is built and vendors can move in to sell Christmas-y stuff (decorations, candles, hand-made jewelry…) and tasty “fast food” products (fried curled potatoes, hash browns) …and especially hot wine of various flavors (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic). In some cities, including Olomouc, this holiday scenery is improved by a temporary ice skating rink. The one in Olomouc can take up to thirty skaters who pay a small per-hour fee. There are three rinks in Brno, but not directly next to the Christmas market(s).

In the past years, some municipalities failed to keep the markets and their organizers under control. Some booths sold underwear and pyjamas and low-quality Chinese toys. People complained, so this time it is really just Christmas-y merchandise, food and beverages and artists’ own products.


Czech Republic paralyzed. By eight inches of snow

In Brno,Cars,Travel,Winter on December 3, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , ,

Two consecutive snow storms and almost the entire country is paralyzed. The first snow storm took place on December 1 (Wednesday). Some parts of the Czech Republic got 8 inches of snow, but other regions had only as little as 5 inches, which was enough to stop cars, buses, streetcars and trains. And when vehicles don’t move, people don’t move. Some inbound freeways in Prague became huge sidewalks on Wednesday when people gave up waiting for, or sitting on, buses.

The main Czech freeway (D1) gets blocked regularly, mostly by ill-fated trucks. Jack-knifed is the better scenario. However, the heave snow combined with high winds rendered railway switches inoperable and sometimes the layer of snow was so high that trains could not even pass through it. In downtown Brno, for example, snow got packed into streetcar switches, causing delays as drivers had to leave their cabs and un-jam the switch…

Most dailies were not available in Brno on Thursday.

Some villages that are connected to the outside world via Class III roads became isolated altogether. More snowing is expected on Friday night (tonight). Most Czechs tend to blame the road maintenance authorities and their plow drivers. They often fail to realize that high winds often blow snow back in a few minutes, or that the salt that is used on roads becomes ineffective at certain temperatures. Plus, many trucks (!) still have their summer tires.


Moravian winter

In Photography,Winter on January 17, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , ,

The village of Svabenice, Czech Republic, today around 2:00 p.m., about four hours before a snow storm…

(c) Petr Bokuvka

(c) Petr Bokuvka


Snow storm hits the Czech Republic

In Cars,Nature,Photography,Winter on January 8, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , ,

(c) Petr Bokuvka

Over the upcoming 36 hours some parts of the county may get as much as 16 inches of snow. The part of the country where I live got about 11 inches so far. Results? Public transportation collapse, especially. The main freeway (D1) had two pile-ups, two truck accidents and several traffic jams between 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Friday. Trains had problems, too. It was a risk to try a bus on my 80-kilometer journey to my hometown, but it was okay, save for the freeway surface. Almost no plowing, definitely no salt… At least the Olomouc city parks finally look like winter wonderland…


Snow in the suburbs of Brno. In November. Waaay unusual…

In Brno,Winter on November 3, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , ,

This morning in Brno, around 7:00 a.m. CET. I don’t think I have ever seen snow in Brno on the third day of November…



Brno via cell phone camera

In Brno,Photography,Winter on February 10, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , ,


I am listening to a radio station traffic news right now, drivers from all over Brno are reporting “calamity situations” most often caused by trucks stuck or jack-knifed on uphill roads… The above is just a small sample of my cell phone camera: first attempt…


Do you want a Christmas tree in a flower pot?

In Life,Winter on December 3, 2008 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , ,

It has become a very interesting tradition here in the Czech Republic [it might have been a long-running thing elsewhere in the world, but I am too lazy to google it now, so sorry about that]: people who want to show some environmental thinking may buy a tiny Christmas tree [silver fir] in a larger flower pot. They can decorate it, or just take care of it during winter and they can plant it in March during an event the purpose of which is to save the silver fir in Czech forests.

The above links of the Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation are in Czech, whereas the main page of the organization is here.

For some reason the pre-Christmas atmosphere [with the exception of snow] here in Brno is a puzzle of these tiny things. Like the sale of tiny fir trees. Or the fact that you can indeed buy hot wine with a hint of cinnamon and some spices in the street. Or that the Lord Mayor of Brno finds a wedding ring during his inspection walk on the square where the Xmas market is taking place and he asks several employees of the Marriage Records Office to find the owner based on the engraved date and name. Or that a certain special girl I know works hard and saves money to buy her mom vacation in South America.

I am getting the tree in a pot tomorrow…

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