It was just before 6 PM on our last day in Prague, the final day of our two-week-long whirlwind trip through 6 European countries. We had taken the tram down from Castle Hill in order to walk across the beautiful Charles Bridge in the golden light; what had been a rather gloomy couple of days finally gave way to sunshine at the perfect moment.
As we rounded a corner, Beverly stopped and peered into a shop window crammed with small antique treasures. She saw something that beckoned her inside and I followed. As we oohed and ahhed over various things stuffed into overpacked glass showcases, my eye caught something else: old glass Christmas ornaments!
I had held a small hope in the back of my mind that I would find a special ornament to take home as a souvenir of this trip. Up to now, the pickings had been slim to none. Yet here, in this tiny, fusty, little shop were boxes of ornaments piled on the floor underneath a cabinet that were just waiting to be picked through. They also had a select few in a glass case haphazardly plopped inside beautiful 19th century crystal as well as hanging from a string from the ceiling.
With the encouragement of the friendly girl behind the counter, I carried boxes over to her counter and started going through them. They were mostly small, figural ornaments – just the type I love – and quite old. I started pulling out a few to make a “maybe” pile. The Czechs are still using their traditional currency, the Koruna (called Crowns) and the currency conversion had been giving us a bit of confusion. Luckily, I had a currency converter on my phone that had been very handy and I was able to see that the prices were pretty reasonable.
In the end, here is what I picked out to bring home.
I quickly added up the amount in my head and made an offer for the 6 ornaments. By this time we had gotten a bt chatty and Lenska turned to ask her boss, the owner, if he would accept it. If I paid cash, he said, he would take it. Luckily, I had saved my last bit of cash in the event that I needed it, and I happily gave up my last 1,000 Crowns (about $50) for my new treasures.
While they carefully wrapped my purchases, we got to talking. The owner did not speak much English but Lenska’s was perfect. In short order, I found out that the owner has three children, all of whom are major over-achievers: one son is a PhD, currently in a 10-year program to become a University professor in history (10 years to qualify to be a professor – what incredible standards!); the other son is in medical school; and his daughter is an opera singer. The professorial candidate helps his dad run the antiques business – they have 2 shops. Lenska, who has the most beautiful peaches and cream complexion and is just a delight, has worked in the shop for many years, though she does not look a day over 22.
Here are some close-ups of what I bought.
This is the first one I gravitated to, I am not sure exactly why it appealed to me so much, but I think it is very charming. It only measures about 3 inches long, if that.
This guy was next. Something about him called my name.
I really had to have this squirrel. Isn’t it fabulous? And so teeny. And so….cute with his little chenille parts.
Sailor boy is really the coolest one of all and very, very old. The owner said he is about 110 years old. How’s that for vintage?
And, finally, is this corsage/package decoration with beautiful old white ribbon attached.
I resisted buying an amazing glass ornament with 3 fish inside it; it was very pricey compared to the others, though I do not think it was overpriced (about $25). But in the end, the ones I chose were the ones that really spoke to my heart.
Thankfully, they made it home in one piece though I did have a scary moment when going through security in Frankfurt while we were rushing to make our connection flight home.
I regret to tell you that you will not be seeing these in any Glittermoon designs. Nope, these are all mine. They will be gracing my vintage tree come Christmas. I hope you won’t mind too much.
Oh, and in case you find yourself in Prague, do yourself a favor and pop into this charming shop for a visit. Tell them I sent you.