Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden

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Radio Free Europe

As far as we could tell through foreigners' eyes, the Czech Republic's mood on joining the EU was pleased, in a restrained sort of way.

On the last day of April, stalls representing the countries of the EU were set up along the main shopping street, Wenceslas Square. We passed along them enjoying free Danish biscuits, Dutch cheese and German sweeties, and waving paper flags with the EU emblem on one side and 'Athens 2004' on the other.

The UK stand had a nice display of traditional native produce, including Walkers crisps and Bombay Sapphire gin. Most of the countries had gone for posters celebrating their culture, heritage and wildlife, and encouraging tourism. Sweden, however, chose to send out a slightly different message with a great big picture of the Saab Gripen fighter jet. I went over and enthused about it, and was given stickers.

A more youth-oriented part of the celebrations was the 'United Islands' festival, a series of pop concerts taking place on the several islands in the Vltava, the river which divides Prague. We went to see the Levellers - whom I can take or leave, really, but it's seldom one gets to see them for 70p.

At midnight on the 1st there were fireworks over the river, above the castle. Some were blue and yellow; others, rather unfortunately, were red stars in a white circle, perhaps left over from some previous and less welcome celebration. Apart from the parade of ambassadors' cars rolling up at the National Theatre the night was quite low-key; there weren't even people selling glowsticks and whistles, who would have popped up out of nowhere had such a crowd gathered in the UK.

In the daytime we looked in on the public 'Feast for the People', which featured Dixieland jazz and free sausages. There were also slices of bread spread with cream cheese and topped with what looked exactly like a tinned apricot, so I was rather surprised to bite into it and discover it was actually very salty cheese (possibly even 'cheese in acid', apparently a local delicacy). Earlier in the day, symmetrically, fivemack had enjoyed a chicken escalope topped with what looked exactly like a fried egg but was actually a slice of cheese melted over half a peach.

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