Burcak in the room!
It has been a very busy summer, flew by with lots of visitors and celebrations. Now back to Prague and the familiar routine, the leaves are changing colour and the nights are drawing in. It will be time to reorder the logs.
With the change in weather comes a change in drinks. At the moment it is all about Burcak, a pale cloudy drink that looks in the glass like old fashioned ginger beer, but with a totally different taste. Burcak is the Czech equivalent of what in Zurich they called Sauser. It is the first pressing of the grapes for wine making but this is almost a by product. It is sold in plastic bottles that have a loop at the top, so you carry them upright, as you can not put the lid on tight, as the liquid inside is alive and fermenting. It has to be slightly loose at the cap to allow the bubbling gases to escape, otherwise you would find the plastic bottle bulging and you could end up with an explosion of sticky sweet wine all over the place. Here in Prague there are several festivals in various locations throughout the city that celebrate this special drink. It is on menus and there are big signs up outside vinoteks (wine shops) telling you how wonderful their Burcak is. It is also highly lethal, as it just tastes like juice but it has a hidden kick, as it is usually somewhere around 5% on the booze stakes.
Up at the castle this weekend there was a wine festival, the weather was beautiful and the gardens were filled with gazebos, selling Spielberg Burcak. They are very popular and the wine is drunk throughout the place. Other kiosks were selling various foodie bits to go with the wine, sausages, cheese and a few pickles thrown in for good measure. The atmosphere is really pleasant, there are no drunk people, mostly families buying their burcak, sitting on blankets, sipping it in the sunshine, whilst the children amuse themselves with toys and playing in the park. All very lovely in the sunshine. I don’t think such a thing would happen in England, we would all get a bit too excited if the sun was shining and there was booze, we would become giddy in the excitement of it all and it would spill over into a bit of a bother. It would seem most English people find moderation hard to find, especially if you look at those ladies and gents are the races in the newspaper. A good time is had by all!
Although it is September, there is something called the Oktoberfest! It happens in Munich every September, thousands of folks from all over the world attend, have the famous steins of beer and some roast chicken. Prague has a lot of German heritage, they took some of the bits they liked and tried to dismiss what they didn’t. The good people of Prague like beer, so it seems fairly obvious that they would hold their own Oktoberfest. It is one marquee, an oompah band and lots of Germans dressed in their Bavarian finery of Lederhosen and Drindls, oh and lashings of beer. We attended the event on Sunday afternoon in a monastery just a few tram stops up from the Castle. It was all great fun.
Just after 9am the next morning, with my mop in hand, the whole apartment went dark and quiet, no humming of fridges, no internet, nowt! I checked the fuse boxes, they all appeared fine, went out and realised that everyone else still seemed to have electricity it was just us that had none. I phoned the husband and asked what else should I do, I did say ‘Ha you have paid the bill, haven’t you . . .’ Some time later the husband sent an sms, I think he was too afraid to speak to me. When we arrived in Prague, we set up a standing order for the electricity, it expired after one year, so right about now. We had received a paper bill which the husband had paid online, badly! He had switched a couple of digits over, resulting in the money going out and a couple of days later coming back again. We had received letters in Czech from the PRE electricity company and ignored them, thinking they were some sort of tariff gimmick. We were unable to have the electricity connected for 24 hours. We had a quiet night, lots of candles, no Wifi it was all very nice and we survived our indoor camping experience. Be warned that a standing order in the Czech Republic may only lasts 12 months!