Electricity and gelato

Sunday, September 22, 2013

When we left the U.S., all I had to do with our electrical service was call Xcel Energy, tell them we'd like it stopped on a certain date, and pay the final bill online. Que facil.

Here in the Czech Republic, I've already made 2 headache-inducing trips to the PRE utility company headquarters in the center of Prague to get gas and electric service changed over from my landlord's name to mine. And we had to get a Czech friend to be a "guarantor" for utilities - basically a co-signer who agrees to pay our debts if we skip town. Getting electricity is as serious as securing a car loan!

Awkward people in a screen shot from our utility company's web page
Utilities services work like this: You guess roughly what you'll be spending each month on gas and electricity and have the amount deducted from your bank account. (And if you don't do e-banking, you receive a bill in the mail and then pay it at the post office.) At the end of the year, you either pay more in or get money back.

Anyhow, the trips to PRE took about 3 hours; it would have taken me three minutes to do the same in Minnesota. I figured gelato would be an apt reward for weathering the long lines, so I headed for the nearby Lucerna (Lantern) passage on Wenceslaus square. A tangle of passages were constructed in the ground floors of a number of the square's grand old buildings in the early 1900s, and they're fascinating to poke around in.

An old cinema in the passage had a collection of vintage Czechoslovak posters:

I like the bird riding the hairbrush on the bottom left.
This shot from the inside of the passage doesn't do the stained glass on the ceiling justice. I was taking pictures with my phone.
Walking into the belly of the building
Avant garde Czech artist David Cerny made this hanging creation as a parody of the beloved St. Wenceslaus statue that crowns Wenceslaus Square. It's called "Horse" and it's meant to poke fun at the institution.
Apparently the horse's tongue gets stolen a lot
I got hazelnut gelato. Pretty sure it's one of the most divine tastes on the planet. And in the solar system.
Then it was back home to BW and J-dog, who will now have hot water, cooking gas, lights and a warm home this Fall thanks to PRE (and a Czech friend willing to take on all our debts should we skip town).
She's saying, "Where's my gelato?"

where to find me

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