Except, I was in Prague. French labels and British department stores colored me happy for a much-needed shopping weekend.
Now, I am so not a shopper. In the U.S. I was spoiled; at Nordstroms, an upscale department store specializing in the full range of sizes we had something like a personal shopper. Because Tony needs “Tall” and “Extra Long” clothing in everything from socks to shirts to ties, the ever helpful “Dana” would alert me when items became available in the store for him, and she would also helpfully suggest a few items for me. The items of interest would be charged to our account, and I would pick up the nicely wrapped package on the way home from the office. On our visits to Paris I would fill in with necessary basics for myself. That is my idea of shopping-quality over quantity.
Since living here I have conducted “surgical strike shopping,” buying what I need when I need it for one social event or another. By the by, though, the basic out-and-about wardrobe has run rather skimpy. Last week I spent two unpleasant days in search of the perfect spring khakis, trying everything from chain stores to boutiques and coming up empty-handed. That is when Tony suggested I, “Take a shopping weekend to Paris or London.” Is he not a perfect husband?
With our move to a new house here, the sale of our U.S. home underway, and not-so-friendly airfare to either city (translation: cash is flying out of our pocketbook faster than one can imagine), a little research on my part suggested Prague might be a worthwhile shopping destination. Lots of French labels (Love you, Anne Fontaine!) and a couple of British department stores. Plus, well, it’s Prague in the spring. What’s not to like?
So off I set on Friday morning. Did you know that one can purchase a first-class ticket on the Czech Railways website for the same price as a second-class ticket on the Austrian railways website for the same train? Why, Austria, why?
In four short and comfortable hours I was in Prague, and shortly thereafter, SHOPPING! French influences are everywhere in Prague.
The Hotel Paris, resplendent against the blue skies.
Macarons at the Namesti Republicky farmer’s market. Yum.
Kotva, once upon a time Czechoslovakia’s largest department store. Though the interior is a little minimalistic and some of the store clerks could be long-retired Stasi guards, I was treated like a princess while shopping and left with a number of Czech and French label items.
The Palladium, Prague’s main shopping mall was hosting a “Shopping Fever” weekend wherein almost every store was offering at least a 20% discount across the board. Though my arms were laden with bags after my excursion through the mall, my pinkie finger did manage to carry a Paul apple tarte the two blocks to my hotel for a before-dinner “aperitif.”
The following morning I set out for Prague’s passages. Mostly unremarkable and not at all like those I’ve sauntered through in Paris.
My final stop was the British department store Debenhams. Housed in an obvious social times construction, the inside was warm and cheery and full of lovely things to purchase. Which I did.
Walking back to the hotel with my purchases, I happened upon a Stolpersteine. Niemals vergessen. Never forget.
How successful was my shopping trip? Tony thoughtfully met me at the train station upon my return. As he lifted my case into the car he remarked, “Well, so you did some shopping, did you?”