Christmas markets light up Prague
Christmas markets are a Central European tradition that goes back centuries. This weekend, markets appeared in squares all around the Czech capital.
Just to the side of the stage, two singers, Maya and Desna, huddled on a bench, surrounded by shopping bags, trying to keep warm.
-and what do you think of the Christmas market, how does it compare with markets in Croatia?
"-oh it doesn't even begin to describe! The Christmas market here is, well, its beautiful, it looks really great and we don't have that kind of thing in Croatia."
Just what Pavel Kocych wants to hear. He's the lead architect of the markets in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. He explained the concept behind the design this year.
In years past, there had been complaints that the market had become commercial and tacky. There were calls to return to tradition. The Praguers I spoke with agreed that this year's market is charming and tasteful, but what exactly does Kocych mean when he speaks of tradition?
Ana, a pensioner drinking mulled wine with her friend Mirka, had her own ideas about tradition.
"The markets were a little different when we were girls. They sold fish at the markets! They sold everything possible. When it was cold out, they sold baked chestnuts and we put them in our pockets to keep our hands warm. Because back then it was really cold, with snow. Those are memories, of course, and one's childhood memories are always nicest. You know, we're been friends for years, we were work colleagues actually. And we come here together every year to get that Christmas spirit. You've just gotta have it."