A field guide for entertaining North Dakotans in Prague

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

As we've now had a group of SIX North Dakotans here in Prague, we figure we are bona fide experts on entertaining rural Midwesterners abroad and can write a bit of a field guide. Here are our top tips:

1. Keep them nourished. These meat-and-potatoes people need sustenance and if you want to march them across miles of cobblestones, they must have full bellies. Begin with (from left to right) marinated Hermelin cheese (nakládaný hermelín), pickled meat and fried bread rubbed with garlic (topinky).

2. Start with the superlative. People used to shoveling five-foot-high snowdrifts and driving hefty pickups are at ease with largess. Bring them to Prague Castle, the biggest castle complex in Europe, at the forefront of your sightseeing and then walk them down into the city from there.

3. Insist that they stand for group photos. Humble folks like these don't fill cameras with selfies and duck lips; you may need to initiate picture taking. Just make sure you can see more of the city in the background than this.

4. Give them tourist guide-like spiels. They are knowledgeable about history, and they retain facts like garden mulch during a Spring shower. Here, they're soaking up information at Ss Cyril and Methodius Cathedral, which still shows Nazi bullet holes.

5. Do breaks 'round tables. They may feel disoriented by all the wandering and masses of tourist groups, as they come from a town of 1,500. A strong wooden table topped with refreshing beverages will help them get centered again - just like Sunday dinner at grandma's house. 

6. Ignore inclement weather. Some dark clouds and sprinkles are nothing to people from the stormy, open-wide prairie. Sitting inside is for sissies; pop open the umbrellas and hitch up the rain jacket hoods and keep  perusing Prague's beauty!

7. Stop for some shopping. She might not buy anything for herself back home unless it's on a JC Penney's clearance rack ("I'm just not too fancy, ya know"), but she will splurge on a $6 pair of earrings found on Charles Bridge. Encourage them to indulge a little.

8. Ride public transportation. Being from a slice of the world where public transit is nearly nonexistent, it's nice for them to be moved around with minimal effort. No more gripping steering wheels and dodging roadkill; just smooth escalators and busy trams.

These basic tips should keep everyone smiling despite jetlag and missing families/friends/neighbors/the Schwan's man/etc. back home. They will make for good stories at coffee hour after church and provide for thousands of photos to be traded via Shutterfly. But most importantly, make your rural Midwestern visitors feel loved because they are marvelous people who put a lot of effort into coming to visit, and you appreciate that greatly. 

Xx :)


  1. Haha adorable! Y'all should go in the midwesterner tour business.

  2. Oh man, I LOVED these descriptions, top-notch! And mmmm, love that Sumavsky chleb (that's at least what they call it around here) with garlic... I've never before been offered a single clove of garlic to rub vigorously against a slice of toast until I got here, so I'm assuming it's a total Czech thing.

    1. Yes, it's so ridiculously tasty! Never had it before here, either. I like the name Sumavsky Chlebicky better than topinky :)

  3. I thought that was going to be French Toast and then you mentioned the garlic. I've decided that must be delicious!

    1. t really is! But you can only eat so much fried bread and garlic before the belly starts questioning your choices...

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