August 8… The topic for today is… Getting food at a Czech grocery store

Now that we can finally cook our own food, we made our first attempt to buy food at a grocery store in Prague. This was a lot more challenging than we ever expected…

After getting brief directions from the front desk, (they only said there was a grocery store across the street below a clothes store), we began our adventure through the city. After struggling to walk further in the blazing heat, we finally asked a shop owner for directions. Her instructions were a little unclear so in desperation we looked down in the metro station as we were told grocery stores were typically underground. It soon became clear that we may have taken "underground" a little too literally. We continued to trudge on and in our frustration asked another shop owner who got us heading in the right direction and gave us the name of the grocery store. Inching closer… we ended up asking one more woman who pointed it out very quickly as it was right beside her shop.

We were very relieved when we found the store but soon realized this was only half of the battle. After struggling to figure out how to get a shopping cart (we found out we had to pay for them) we began our shopping. We decided to get some fruits and vegetables first, and discovered we had to weigh and label the produce. Fortunately there were pictures of each item on the scale, we would have never figured out the names! We then split up the items on the shopping list and continued our search. We looked through all sorts of candy-it was very interesting to see the popular candy in the Czech Republic! As a special evening treat we decided to get popcorn. That will be easy enough…or will it? To our disbelief there were tons of kinds of popcorn. We decided on one kind but soon discovered there were five different flavors of that brand. Of course to add to our stress we couldn't read the labels. We decided to take all of them as a little experiment. Fortunately, we bumped into someone who lived in the states for a while and spoke very fluent English. We asked her what types of popcorn we had gotten thinking they were probably butter, salt, or regular. She read the labels for us and told us the flavors were butter, salt, cheese, sweet, and bacon. This gave us a good reason to narrow down our choices! After struggling to find still water which is very hard to find in Europe, we found more supplies without much difficulty. We got creative with how to distinguish similar foods from one another-we tasted what we thought was sugar from a bag that had spilled on the shelf and discovered it was really salt. We finally completed the shopping list and began to pay up front. After discovering we had to pay for the bags, we stuffed them to their limit and heaved our supplies to the hotel. We unpacked the food into our tiny refrigerator and were prepared for our first home cooked meal in over a month.

When it came time for dinner we gathered our supplies and prepared for a very basic meal--pasta with red sauce, salad and bread. We had a total of two small pots to work with and an extremely tiny stove. Shortly after we began to cook our meal Dad noticed something strange about the butter-it seemed creamy. We tasted it and realized that we had just frosted our bread, dumped on most of our pasta, and sautéed our garlic in cream cheese! We all laughed and looked at the label more closely. The container was very similar to our butter containers back in the states. Were they doing this just to annoy tourists? It sure seemed that way! We continued our meal and quickly decided this was not going to be the best meal we ever ate. The sauce was sweet as well as the garlic as we had to use Italian dressing to cook these in now that we didn't have butter. We all had a good laugh though…we learned a lot! After our meal we cleaned up and were relieved to know the difficult adventure was over…or was it? Minutes later we noticed tons of bubbles coming out of the dish washer. The entire area soon became a bubble world. Did we use the wrong detergent? Nobody knows…bum bum bum!

Tune in next time to find out about the beeping clothes dryer on Koppel Adventures!