I am British, therefore I am obsessed with the weather. It is either good for the time of year, typically bad for the time of year and so it goes on. Here in Prague we have had another mild winter, this has disappointed a good friend who is leaving Prague and moving with her diplomat husband to Abu Dhabi. She was rather hoping for several days of blizzard conditions, roads impassable and cold weather drama. None of it materialised and now in her new location, they will get excited, as we did when living in the Middle East, if you wake up one morning and can actually see your breath, as it is finally chilly enough. That might happen once or twice in Abu Dhabi.
Prague weather and Czech weather in general is not too dissimilar to that of the UK. It just tends to be a few degrees more extreme, either colder or hotter. However it is not nearly as wet. In England we seem to get rain most days, not all day but most days a little shower or two or three. We are now at the end of April and temperatures in Prague have increased sharply in recent days. We have hit the giddy heights of the early 20sC – not bad considering it snowed two weeks ago. There is a saying in Czech to sum up this time of year and the weather.
“Březen – za kamna vlezem, duben – ještě tam budem, máj – půjdeme v háj“ (“March – we get behind the stove, in April we will still be there but in May, it is out into the garden we go”)
I noticed too that the Vltava river was also rather full, I am assuming or is it presuming, that this is the snow melt from the mountains near Austria. The meltwater will make its way through the Czech Republic, up through Germany and reach the sea at Hamburg. Quite a journey for a snowflake that was once skied over or made into a small ball and chucked at a friend.
May is not far off and the gardens are certainly looking beautiful. Most here in Prague are closed over the winter but open up either on 1st April or at Easter, I guess it depends which comes around first. Yesterday I walked back from Malostranska metro station, through the Valenstein gardens and was happy to see two peacocks, flashing their full tails, obviously a mating ritual that I had interrupted. Spring is in the air! It is so lovely to hear their call from our apartment, only a 5 minute walk away. The peacock call is more of a yell that a chirp, almost like a call from help – these local ones are enjoying the freedom of a massive walled garden. I think the nearest equivalent I would know in London is Buckingham Palace gardens, (yes I have had tea with the Queen!). The peacocks patrol the gardens, keeping stray tourists off the grass, which they keep to themselves for more important things like courting.
The pavement cafes are also in full swing, when I left a few weeks ago for the Easter holidays, there was nothing to be seen, now coloured table cloths adorn tables, on any pavement wide enough to accommodate them. The number of visitors has also increased, it is not a problem to me, but is does change the city. Locals are already complaining about gangs working on the Charles Bridge, using desperate looking children to beg for money from tourists. This is life in the city, it has the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, some days I experience all of them, so far today it is beautiful with birdsong, distant building work and lots of glorious sunshine. Long may it continue that way.