Chili peppers and Tchaikovsky

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Don't buy your husband a Valentine’s card written in Czech with a heart made of chili peppers on the front and then ask a high school student to translate it for you. She will go bright red, start belly-laughing and tell you it says something like, “I burn hotter for you than 1,000 chili peppers, lover.” Oops.
I should have bought something like this: "I love you."
Overall, V-Day is just not a big deal here; at the pub after work on Friday, BW and I were the only people out of the table of 14 that had a date planned. An Australian colleague said, "No offense, but we see it as a silly, commercialized thing Americans do." 
Nonetheless, we took our silly selves to the Czech National Symphony Orchestra and it was absolutely splendid! BW got tickets for a special "Romeo and Juliet on Valentine's Day" concert, featuring works by Tchaikovsky, Rota, Gounod and Proklofiev. 

The view from our seats...
...and close up.
The concert was held in Prague's dazzlingly beautiful Obecni Dum (Municipal House), an Art Nouveau treasure. I kept having to remember to breathe during the performance because the way the music and light levitated above the orchestra was so captivating that I didn't want to move an iota or make a peep.

Even the entrance to the coat check was smashing
And the windows! Oh, the windows!
So we're two happy symphony customers. Thanks, BW! I'm so thankful to have you today and every day.


  1. Yes - most Czechs don't celebrate Valentine's Day. They see it as a Western import & not part of their culture. Flower shops & restaurants will offer 'Valentine's Day specials' but it's mainly for English-speaking expats. Likewise, a member of the management of a city centre hotel who I was talking to last Friday, was most grateful to have couples coming from the UK to spend a romantic Valentine's weekend in her hotel, giving it business in what is otherwise a very quiet time of the year.

    'Lover's Day' for Czechs is 1st May. In Prague, young couples go up onto Petřín Hill and declare their love for each other under the blossoming trees.

  2. I'm sort of glad for the cultural resistance; it's so commercialized in the U.S., anyhow! Thanks for writing and for the insight!


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