10 things I wish someone told me before I moved to Prague

Moving to a new country can certainly be a very strong life experience. No matter how much I was travelling before, and all the knowledge and experience I had accumulated on intercultural learning, culture shock and stuff like that, the fact of actually moving to Prague, Czech Republic in 2015 still hit me like a truckload of bricks.

Granted, Prague is a wonderful place to live in (and one of the main tourist destinations in Europe) and I don’t regret at all my decision. Still, at times it may be hard. That’s why I decided to write this post which will be a bit more silly than the rest of the stories I publish on this blog.

Hope is, this may help others not to make the same mistake and never leave home to adapt more easily when moving to a different country. Or maybe not, but it feels very liberating to be able to put these thoughts in plain text. And anyway, learning about a different culture is also the best way to learn about our own culture, and ourselves.

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Don’t make my same mistakes. A new culture can embrace you a bit too tight, sometimes.

A bit of a disclaimer here: I certainly don’t want to offend anybody. The post intends to be humourous and has to be read with a bit of a satirical tone in mind. Plus, if you think that my observations are not complete and comprehensive, it’s because they aren’t. They are just that: observations.

If in the post there is something that offsets you – hey, peace. We can breathe the same air and have different opinions on stuff. Hard to believe, but it’s possible. Maybe you don’t like the music, but please don’t shoot the pianist. 

Edit (after 3 days and about 5,000 visits):

A BIT MORE DISCLAIMING. As I feared, the first wasn’t enough. The post got an unexpected visibility (great!) and with visibility, come people who read quickly and are willing to get offended even more quickly (not so great!). To hopefully end the arguments, the meaning of the word “satire” can be found here.  

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Anyway, ready for the list? Here we go!

1) For Czech Republic, Prague is “The Capitol” from The Hunger Games.

capi

In Italy, Rome is the political capital, but there are many main cities with their own distinct identity, and sometimes something interesting happens there too (except in Viterbo, because nothing ever happens there). It’s like the country has more than one centre of gravity, and it’s fine.

But here in the Czech Republic, Prague is really THE city. Everything happens there, and all the power seems to be concentrated in one place. Politics, culture, media, jobs, opportunities. People just live different lives than in the rest of the country, can do strange things like being vegan or have an Asian brunch, they wear fancy clothes and have blue or purple hair.

Prague natives are also somewhat proud of their local accent (which to me sounds funnier, slower, with longer vowels, and seems to be really hated by everybody else in the country).

Salaries are way higher than anywhere else, but so is rent (like two, three times more), eating out and basically everything else.

1
See what I mean?

But if you travel just outside of the city, you will enter a different country. Small-town Czech Republic will present different challenges of course (be prepared to attract puzzled looks as a foreigner, and almost nobody will understanding a word of English, for example), but it will also provide with unique rewards and many hidden gems.

Like having a full meal or a round of beers for an incredible price. Or meeting people who love to live a simpler, slower life and will be genuinely interested in hearing about you. I had experiences especially in the area around Brno and Ostrava. New companies, farms, NGOs and the local university are very active to create an alternative to the “Capitol City” lifestyle.

If you love art and history, the country has the highest concentration of perfectly preserved castles in Europe, apparently. And the nature is also really diverse, peaceful and beautiful.

Seriously, plan a trip to explore Czech Republic outside Prague, when you have a chance. You will be rewarded.

2) A lot of people seem to be in a bad mood. Always.

zeman
The grumpiest of all is probably the president, Milos Zeman.

Aaah, there is something true in every stereotype, isn’t there?

The average Czech you meet in the street will most likely be in a great hurry to be somewhere else than in your presence (see point #7, below), and will look like they just had a very bad day. Even if it’s early in the morning – maybe even worse. This grumpiness extends to driving (= no patience at all for the slightest hesitation or mistake) and public transport (= if you stand in the wrong line or place, someone will correct that. Probably by pushing, elbowing or stomping on your feet).  At least, in Prague. Having to rely on a random act of kindness by a stranger can be an experience that requires patience. For your own good, try never to be confused by the bureaucracy in a public office, and never, ever get stuck with your car on the side of the road.

In a way, it’s a very encouraging learning environment. In the sense that you are encouraged to learn fast. Or die.

3) Language is hard. I mean: real hard

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No, seriously. Sources disagree, but I read that it’s one of the hardest in Europe, and possibly in the world. It’s estimated that a person needs about 4 years of study to reach fluency (and I am not studying).

First of all, there are some factors that don’t encourage you to learn it at all. You can live in a social bubble that doesn’t speak Czech, for example. Or, you can just panic and stop going out altogether. I would know, I tried it.

But if you try to learn the beautiful language, at the beginning you feel like everything is against you. Accents and digraphs make for a stunning 42 characters in the alphabet (nice, uh?). Some sounds are also very specific to learn, with the terrible Ř that will give me troubles until the end of my life. It sounds like a drrj, by the way

And then, grammar starts.

7 cases (for the first time in my life I am happy I studied all that Latin at school) and 4 genders (!): masculine, feminine, neutrum and masculine inanimated. The latter still doesn’t make any sense at all to me – as well to anybody else I asked, including native speakers. It’s for objects that are not objects enough to get the neutrum, maybe. I don’t know. The word for car (auto) is neutrum, while the train (vlak) is masculine. Go figure.

There are also (a few) good news. At least there are no articles, thanks to the cases. Which explains why many Czechs don’t know what to do with articles in languages like English or French. And the verbs and prepositions are not such a horrible mess as in Italian.

Not only Czech is a slavic language, but it’s considered the model for many other languages of the group. Which means, more “pure” and with less foreign interferences. Arranging an appointment or a date is a challenge, since you have to learn even the names of the week days and the months from scratch. Your only hope for help is if you speak Polish or Slovak, and that’s not exactly helping my case here.

The longest sentence without a vowel seems to be: Strč prst skrz krk (“stick your finger through your throat”). Try that next time, as a tonguetwister!

Edit: as Petr E commented, the longest sentence without a vowel seems to be different. “Blb vlk pln žbrnd zdrhl hrd z mlh Brd skrz vrch Smrk v čtvrť srn Krč.” (A dumb wolf full of bad drinks proudly excaped from the mist of Brdy forest through Smrk hill into the deers’ district Krč).

“Full of bad drinks” surely indicates that the wolf is not Czech. Polish, probably.

4) Eating & Drinking habits can be equally intense. 

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Czech Republic is famous for its beer, and rightly so. Czechs are well aware of it. They seem to be the biggest beer drinkers in the whole world (followed by the Seychelles. Which makes sense. What else are you supposed to do, if you live on a paradise island? Drink until you explode, obviously).

A Czech drinks an average of 142 litres of beer in a year, which makes for almost a pint a day, each day, for every man, woman or child living in the country. Not bad at all.

This helps to put a lot of things in context, for example the first time I met my father-in-law, and we all ended up totally drunk, before having dinner. But no worries, Czechs also love drinking wine, as well as everything else with alcohol. All in the name of health (na zdraví) of course. Of course.

When you are at it, try Kofola. It’s the national alternative to Coca Cola. I find it more refreshing!

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Same for the food. Czech traditional cuisine is like other parts of the culture: rich, solid, intimidating. It’s a paradise for high protein, meat eaters. Bara, my wife, has approximately half my body mass. And yet she never ceases to surprise me when she digs into her Svíčková (roasted beef with onion, double boiled in cream and served with dumplings) like it’s a piece of cake. But then, she would never eat fruit after a meal, because “it’s bad for digestion”. Makes sense. 

5) People like to be naked and to go around just like that. 

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Now, nothing could prepare me for this. Czechs have a very casual approach to nudity (which somehow extends to sexuality at least in part, but that’s another story). Be warned when you accept an invitation to go to sauna, for example. In most places it’s actually forbidden to enter with your swimming suit on! 

A visit to a “Beer Spa” however (picture above) is one of the things you have to do, before you die. Yes, you are actually bathing in beer. No, the girls are not always there.

But not only. My friends here have absolutely no problem at all getting naked for a quick swim in the local river or lake, even with people having their picnics all around. It’s just a thing they do.

If I can imagine a scale going from total prudishness to absolute love for nudity, it would probably look like this:

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And I was thinking to be more or less in a comfortable middle position.

But actually, I still feel terribly embarassed about that one time I had to take a swim in my underwear…

Being in the Czech Republic and engaging in social activities here, challenged me on how prude I really am.

6) Xenophobia is on the rise. Except, maybe not really. 

0a-immigrants

Now that’s worrying, when talking about Central Europe. Don’t take me wrong, it could be much worse (think Hungary, or Poland). Things here are still much softer, and Czechs don’t like to take an extreme point of view on racism – just as on many other topics. It’s not a culture of strong, radical opinions.

The country, and Prague in particular, has a very strong international vocation and is right in the middle between Eastern and Western Europe, which is why it has always been a natural crossroads of cultures.

But here is the thing, the whole place is a paradox.  The international presence in the country is strong (about 4.5%), and in Prague, almost 10% of residents are non-Czech. And yet, politicians and opinion leaders manage to pull out incredibly racist or aggressive stunts, like President Zeman who manages to insult someone with every other speech, or like that time when a group of “activists” held an event in the Old Town Square involving a jeep, a camel and firing shots in the air with a fake kalashnikov – creating general panic to “warn against the danger of a Muslim invasion”. Crazy.

camel
Yes, this thing really happened.

Also, to add to the general confusion, two of the most visible political leaders in the somewhat-nationalist-area are Tomio Okamura (Czech, of Japanese origins) and Andrej Babiš (Slovak), media tycoon, Finance Minister and possible next Prime Minister. One would think that the country must be really welcoming towards foreigners, except… they try to convince everybody that it isn’t so.

To make a comparison: imagine a Canadian citizen who moves to USA, manages to join the Republican Party and becomes a member of the US Government; then, on top of that, he makes a coalition with the Democratic President, and together they work to warn people against the danger of a “Mexican invasion”.

It’s not a perfect example (and Zeman certainly is not Obama), but it more or less gives an idea of how intricate things look.

Look. I don’t want to sound too strict or ungenerous. The truth is that the vast majority of the people I have met here have a big heart, a strong sense of hospitality, and are generous beyond words. And every time I try to remind them that I, too, am an immigrant indeed, the comment I receive is “naa, you are fine“.

And after all, I guess that’s the bottom line about racism. People from a different background look and feel scary at first, but after you meet them in person, you realise that naa, they are just fine. And this is valid everywhere.

(The fact that one of them may end up marrying your daughter has probably also a role in how fast you accept that fact, I guess).

So my final opinion on this is: maybe because of the media pressure or the general international situation, Czechs would like to portray themselves as intolerant and unwelcoming. Just to feel like everybody else.

But they fail, because… they aren’t!

7) Time keeping and planning stuff is not a habit. It’s a national obsession. 

clocl

Now this came from the words of Sabrina, a German (I said, German) volunteer who was in Prague for a period. “Czechs are totally obsessed with time!“, she cried. As I found out, it’s completely true.

Czechs are almost always in a hurry getting someplace or another, and they just love to keep their agendas as packed as possible, and then some. From the (early) morning till sunset, they just need to be busy. Work, leisure, culture and social time, everything is organised and planned and the more details, the better. When you are 5 minutes late, you are late (and people will be grumpy, see #2).

This is also reflected as they travel. When abroad, if things are not super organised, clearly described and planned to the tiniest detail, they will feel slightly lost and without direction. Which will result in more grumpiness and some (always polite) passive-aggressive complaining.

One of the first sentences I learned is “máte plán na vikend?”, which means “what’s your plan for the weekend?

I came to fear the sound of these words, since when I am not somewhere working I love to keep my weekends as empty as possible, like desolate desert islands where only dead projects and ideas lay, shipwrecked. A space for reflection, inspiration and pure and simple lazyness. 

But Czechs always have a plan for their weekends. Sports (the harder, the better: see point 8 below), trips, family meetings, events. When they really have nothing else to do, they move to their little country houses, where they spend saturday and sunday “relaxing”: that is, working their ass off to repair the roof, fix an old bicycle or weed out the garden. And then, have barbecue.  

8) EVERYBODY is sporty and outdoorsy.

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This is to show that, look, I also engage in outdoor sports! Once a year.

Aaaand – I am not.

Please take a second to appreciate how hard this must feel, sometimes. Really, every Czech is a natural born sportsperson and they all – I haven’t found an exception yet – love physical activity. Whether it be cycling, skating, running, swimming, parachute, indoor gym, martial arts – it doesn’t matter, as long as it involves moving, and sweating. And they do it with enthusiasm and total commitment.

This also applies to outdoors activities. Czechs love and respect their nature, and try to spend time in it as often as they can.

A hike that lasts less than 6 hours is not even considered being outside. They all seem to be mushroom and berries experts. In summer (and I suspect, in winter too) the rivers are packed with canoe and kayak enthusiasts. Entire families, babies included.

And a certain disregard for anything even remotely related to safety and prevention of risks contributes to making it a very exciting picture.

Czechs love their outdoor equipment and keep it in perfect efficiency. It’s a second skin for them, and in fact they consider it normal to walk in the city streets dressed as they would be in a forest: boots, backpack, packed lunch, 2 different sport bottles, and all the rest. Which for me is, like, the opposite of “sexy”, but certainly must have some advantages too.

Really, if a zombie apocalypse or if nuclear war breaks out, I would feel really relieved to be surrounded by Czechs. These people are natural survivors. And they can always spare a sandwich.

9) Public transport takes you everywhere, but people still take their cars.

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This must be one of the few really good things that Socialism has left in the country. The public transport is excellent: rides are frequent, the system is organised and efficient. I take my car maybe once, twice in a month (how does it feel compared to Italy, I leave to your imagination).

In Prague metro and tram tickets are still a bit of a funny business, relying (incredibly) on the little obsolete, yellow machines which are out of order 50% of times, and only accept coins. Weird. But since I have my yearly pass, I feel I can get anywhere, simply and reliably. This includes extra-urban transport, and every little town seems to be connected to the network in somewhat of a satisfying way. Again, the comparison with Italy is brutal – there, if you live in a small town, you simply need a car to get anywhere; and if you live in a big city, better forget the public transport and take your car anyway.

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So why do Czechs still own – and drive – cars? Finding a parking place in Prague is as hard a job as in Napoli, and that simply doesn’t make sense to me. Probably the answer has something to do with #7 of this list, the time obsession. I hear people saying: “Sure, I can go to work by tram, but if I take the car it will save me 12 minutes“.

I still can’t help but smile, every time. In Rome, if you can save 12 minutes by taking a car, it still means you will probably be 48 minutes late for your appointment.

Edit: in the comment section, Vladimir helped me to get a more complete view on this topic. He writes:

“Perhaps if there really is a special Czech affinity for cars, it’s not because of obsession with time, but rather status. This is a common thing for whole central and eastern Europe. We had to (and most still have to) live in relative poverty, therefore we want at least not to FEEL poor. Average Czech would drive to work even if it takes twice as much time as with public transport, because, you know, public transport is for losers. Very common derogatory nickname for public transport is “socka”, as in “social case”. Go figure”.

It’s also true however that, Czechs being the nature lovers that they are, the environmental awareness is growing really fast all over the country. I have seen in person a lot of brave and progressive projects to reduce CO2 emissions and switch to renewable energies, or to reduce the environmental footprint of life in general.

So, let’s not lose hope, becase Times, they are a-changing!

10) Czech Republic is a place where Etiquette still matters. A lot.  

opera

This was a big surprise for me, and it can be very important in a relationship, so listen up, don’t repeat my mistake and don’t underestimate this aspect.

The Czech culture is based on a certain level of conformism. Traditions are important and nobody is expected to cause any trouble. There is no such thing as “speaking in a loud voice” (a common discussion between two Italians on what to have for dinner would appear like an incredibly aggressive brawl, here) and I have never heard people shouting – except when drinking too much, of course.

In CZ, people really care for things to be – and look – proper. You go to theatre, you dress up. There is no limit “up”. But you just don’t walk in a theatre (or God forbid! Opera) in your jeans, unless you want to attract a lot of attention of the wrong type.

As well, men are supposed – no, expected! – to perform little actions such as opening a door, holding the chair, helping ladies with their luggage or taking on and off their coats.  Apparently in the local understanding, there is no “gender inequality” value attached to it. So don’t try to judge it with your metrics: it’s just the way things work. If you want to blend in, you just adapt to it.

All boys and girls take ballroom dancing lessons as part of their education, and many companies and organisations hold balls in the festive season, which are attended with enthusiasm. Also, in a country that is surprisingly not attached to any religion, people still follow traditional festivities, go to church on Christmas eve, visit the cemetery to pay their respects.

All this, combined with what I said in #2, can be dangerous to the unsuspecting foreigner. In a tram, failing to leave your seat to an elder will attract so many bad looks, you will wish to disappear. Equally bad is when you mess up with the tipping in a café or a restaurant.

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And that was my decalogue this time. Thank you for reading! You can follow our facebook page here. It means a lot to us!

Edit: an article with my reflections and comments on the insane success of this post can be found here.

Again, my point was not to offend anybody with this post. This is not a scientific study and has not been validated by a panel of experts (although if you made it reading so far, you probably got that).

I will be happy to react and edit any information that might be incomplete or wrong. Writing was mainly my way to celebrate my almost 1 year and a half in Prague. I love the city and the life here, and I continue to discover more and more parts of its rich and fascinating culture.

And how is it for you? Did you have a similar experience when moving to a new country? I would love to have a little discussion in the comments section. All stories are the welcome!

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2018 Edit: this article is still getting a lot of clicks, it’s awesome! Thank you!
In the meantime, I started my activity as a stand-up comedian! If you want to check out my activity in Prague (and elsewhere), you can follow the page https://www.facebook.com/carminestandup/.
I would really appreciate it!

Maybe you want to check out also the follow-up story, about ways Czech people love to spend their free time:

5 very Czech ways to spend a weekend

And finally, if you are a returning reader or if you just want to support my work, you can do so at my Patreon Page. You can get involved in the conversation and get exclusive benefits :)

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686 thoughts on “10 things I wish someone told me before I moved to Prague

  1. Man, after your article I have to say – I am proud to be Czech :D I see myself in almost every point. I’ve never read about people from Czech Republic from foreingner and I have to say you did a great job! Maybe you have a feeling that you humble/shame Czechs but that is not true. Don’t worry and thanks for describing us that well ;)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Yo Carminerodi,
    I’ve really enjoyed reading your article and generally speaking, its quite accurate. The one&only problem is hidden within Prague =/= Czech republic, it goes almost to the comparsion with “Paris =/= France” (and if you are familiar with ‘parisians’, you know exactly what I mean :).
    Anyway, enjoy your stay or life or whatever you do here. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. i came to CZ as a foreigner, lived there long time, loved it beyond everything…

    good article, except for if you want to see GRUMPY PEOPLE – check out Belarus, really. when i came to CZ i felt like i’m finally surrounded by living people and not zombies.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great job, Carminerodi! You have hit the nail on the head! I might be the one Czech who is the exception to your presentation of our nation as a horde of ironmen, but apart from this detail (in which I certainly belong to a minority), your observations are very precise, insightful AND hilarious! I also agree that they are expressed very politely and respectfully. No reasonable person should take offence. Good job and good luck in all you do. And do not stop writing! Jaroslav

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Post was Long but you wrote your Heart out and it was nice to read it. I am a citizen of Czech Republic, and i must say i enjoyed reading your post, At last i would just like to say Great Job Dude.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is really good and I’ve recognized myself well ;). Maybe I disagree that all czechs are “sporty animals”…What is also very typical for us, is Tearooms. Imagine some living room-like with oldschool furniture, kinda oriental and arabic style, with smell of incense sticks and full of ethno-ambient-psychedelic music, the place where you can sit down for a few hours and simply let everything go…and get some tea. Which means, you have to choose between approx. 20-50 kinds of black, green, fruit and herbal teas. You can smoke also waterpipes there with fruit molasses tobacco.
    What is also typical for us, is tolerance for smoking weed. Although it is not legal here, most of young people has the experience with it.
    If somebody wants to understand the czech temperament, nature, I highly recommend the book of Jaroslav Hašek: The fates of good soldier Švejk. Švejk, that is our “hero”. And also Jára Cimrman, fictious person who lived in times of Austria-Hungary, our “Forrest Gump”, man that was the witness of important historic events, crazy scientist, writer, composer and forgotten genius. Look for Jára Cimrman theatre in Žižkov, I think they play also in english

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I know of Svejk, and Cimrman, but only indirect knowledge since my friends told me about them but I have not read the original stories. Also hloupy Honza, since I love fairy tales :)
      Thank you for the suggestions!

      Like

  7. This is a MUST share and I am going to do so. You have described us like none of us would manage. With your attitude I can see it as a very independent celebration to be Czech. So truethful and honest with no offence. Thank you mate, you have done a great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi, I loved your article. And being a Czech, I must say your observations are true. And makes me proud to be a Czech:). Thank you for the nice article and enjoy living here!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hahaha, it’s really funny article. I’m Czech and love fun, so no offence at all. Actually, it helped me to have a look on my life and say :OMG, why am I doing this?! :D Thanks, all the best :)))

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi, I have just read your article while having a morning coffee at a hostel in Brazil. The coffee seems to be all over the table, I was laughing that hard. It is amazing how well you describe us. We look grumpy all the time but we aren’t, we are kinda xenophobic but actually we aren’t and we certainly hate the public transport but we use it anyway. I was born and raised in Prague and can’t be more proud of it. All foreigners I meet on my travels just keep telling me nice things about my city. As I am traveling now, I think I will use some of your good points when people ask me, how the people are in the Czech Republic or ‘the Prague’ environment. To emphasize the best point (in my opinion) is the outdoor thing. Going somewhere for less than 6 hours is not considered a hike or outdoor activity. I so feel it. Especially here, in South America where you are forced to use buses, uber or taxi just because of safety reasons. Thanks again, LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad a lot of people got the real intention behind my post: to express love and fondness for a culture that i chose as my new home. There are things I will never understand, and it’s fine like this.

      Like

    1. Hi!

      I agree with you totally; I unfortunately had the bad idea to move in Prague..Czech Republic is definitely not for everyone…used to travel all around the world but CR is THE worse.

      The positive fact is that I will move out in a couple of months.

      Like

  11. Heh, I come from Czech Republic and have to say that I couldn’t agree more (and frankly, I am proud of almost everything that you have mentioned!) :D BUT. It’s true that I have realised this and started to appreciate it only after moving to another country. Before that none of the above has ever struck me as something so typical for us :D Love this post!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. CARMINERODI: Hi,

    “auto” in Czech is neutrum, but it’s itself a short-hand for “automobil”, which is now archaic and almost never used, but it’s masculine :-) so the comparison of “auto” to “vlak” isn’t all that weird. But I agree completely that while most people know there’s two distinct kinds of masculine gender in the Czech language almost nobody knows why :-) me included of course.

    And I also hate almost every kind of sport there is, and those I don’t hate I at least *intensely* dislike :-) so there are exceptions to the “always sporty” rule.

    Otherwise I’d say you’re quite spot on, while simultaneously being very kind to us Czechs, which is more than we deserve. Thanks for your article! :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, the two distinctive versions of masculine gender aren’t actually that hard to get hold on. It makes perfect sense. “Inanimous” version is for everything that is let’s say “not alive” or “lifeless” such as automobil, stul (a table), rucnik (a towel) etc. whereas the other version let’s call it “live” is for everything that is alive for example names (Honza, Petr..) or job occupations, such as (strojvedouci (train driver), prodavac(shop seller)..etc). There’s an exception though which are animals, they are considered “lifeless” even though they are obviously.. alive :)

      I cannot really imagine if this is hard for foreigners or not, since I’m a native speaker, but hopefully it helped you clear any irregularities.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Funny fact: For example snowman is considered “alive” :D
        I would like extend TRANSLATOR’S comment in more technical way.
        It is based on declension. You can find out if the word is masculine alive or not alive by declining it in 2nd and 4th case. Although I think you need to be really good at this language and be able to write down correctly cases of the words you are looking for.
        I took snowman as an example. Snowman is “sněhulák” in czech.
        2nd bez “sněhuláka”
        4th pro “sněhuláka”
        Words are the same in both cases, thus sněhulák (snowman) is declined using alive masculine gender. If the words differ in that particular cases, they will be declined by non-alive masculine gender (table=stůl; bez “stolu” pro “stůl” or train=vlak; bez “vlaku” pro “vlak”).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think animals are animous noun – for example pes (dog), jelen (stag), houser (male duck) have the “live” form in 4th case of declination: “Vidím psa, jelena, housera” .
        Un-live noun have the same form in 4th case: vlak (train), Vidím vlak (not Vidím vlaka).

        Like

  13. I think you can still consider yourself proper Czech already. Why? You never lose opportunity to point out that something is worse in Poland.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh wow.. I can’t feel less czech now :D
    But of course, I speak czech and do know stuff from #10, but other than that… I like helping foreigners find their way, I hardly ever hurry, I don’t eat most of the czech food, the only beer I like is Hoegaarden, I don’t think I’m xenophobic, I mainly take public transport (except in my town, because our public transport sucks), I dislike sport (except one week snowboarding during winter), I hate mushrooms.. Sometimes I really think I might by adopted from another country :D
    Well.. I kinda like hiking, but mostly for the view down the hills…
    And yea, I like to manage my time, because when I don’t I just prokrastinate.. Or do stuff that’s not the most important at the moment…
    But I often meet theese typical czechs in pubs ^^ And they are kinda hard to get by sometimes :D

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hey! I have just seen your article. It’s amazing and so true! I come from the Czech Republic, however I live more than one year in the UK because of studying at university. I have to say with the transport and timing you are really right!!! I always want to be on time, however in Bristol it’s almost always impossible. Buses never on time!!! In the Czech Republic it has never happened to me! Haha. Also, I always plan my days in an advance and people from other countries always ask me why do you need to plan everything? Now, I see the reason! Because I’m Czech!!! :D Really nice article! :)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I don’t think Prague / CR stands out in any of those 10 points.
    E.g. saunas with forbidden swimming suits? It’s same in Germany, Austria, Slovakia…
    Or obsession with etiquette? Where do people go to opera type theater in jeans? To La Scala in Milan?

    Etc, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you very much for this article, it’s really awsome and make me proud to be Czech :-) I didn’t realize that all these things are not so normal in the world as they seem to me, that’s really funny :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Wow l loved this as it is all so True!
    I am half-Czech yet none of the apply to me even by 50%, and l am sometimes called “unCzech” coz of that but l don’t care.
    Hey you forgot obsession with football and hockey there as well ;)
    I will say spot on, didn’t take you long to figure all this out, and while there are always exceptions to every point in general my experiences here confirm pretty much everything you say and it is truly an excellent, objective guideline to go by ;)

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi, I love your article. And being a Czech, I must say most of your observations are true. I know how you feel and what you mean with this article. It took me a time assimilate to the life and culture in UK, where I live. Sometimes was hard and funny in the same time. I’ve found myself in point 8. I am really mushrooms and berries expert :-). It is not very ussual here. I like nature and go for hike in UK too :-).
    Thank you for the nice article and enjoy Czech nation :-)!
    Lenka
    .

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Yeah, that’s very true. And I hate that :( The more so because people are proud of it. Looking forward to move somewhere else… :)
    Anyway, your article is very valuable. I wish there were similar articles about other countries.

    Like

  21. i may agree on some points but the depiction you gave of czech society is partial and somehow romantic . It seems more the tale of a young student that approaches the Czech Rep. for the first time , enthusiastic about everything he sees than the account of reality given by a mature person . Czech people are not bad at all but there are some issues about them that are still unsolved and that concerne mainly their past . Czechs are very distrustful towards foreigners and often also towards their countrymates and they tend to keep a defensive appraoach towards anything that is new and unknown to them and rarely they tell you what they really think . 2 czechs together that deal with a foreigner tend to stick together and make a team to protect themselves from “the stranger” , as soon as the stranger is gone , one starts to protect himself from the other one. Second issue is envy, everybody who has spend a decent amount of time here knows about this , czechs tend to be envyous of neighbours and people they don’t know , envyous of anything really : better car, better house , better job; situation is surely getting better but still this is a considerable problem. Best side of czech nature : they let you be .. Best side of CZ , no social unrest and very limited immigration .

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Well… I am Czech and I hate sports (except swimming in summer ) and almost all of my friends hate sports, too. And I dont know anyone who would like to plan their day. I know a lot of people who are almost always late, so when going to school or work, they are in a hurry. And really small cities or villages are often full of racist people and people who just sit in front of TV or in a pub, drink beer and complain… (but they are in prague as well)…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, it depends. I’m from small village near to small town and I can’t complain. Most of my friends have at least one sport they like practicing, are mostly on time and are really great people with great hearts. :) At least for me, this article is so damn true! :)

      Like

      1. ok so , if it wasn’t meant to be serious i take back what i wrote- The problem is that i have read so many posts all through the years and i still don’t understand why foreign people try to make of Czechs what Czechs are not. Czechs have good and bad sides and the bad sides , honestly are not pleasant at all , i respect them because i live here but i will never try to minimize their defects only because i am a guest. Just one example , i will never accept the drinking habits here. It happened to me several (let’s say most of the ) times to go out with Czechs and been stuck in conversations that were centred only around beer . There is a relationshiop between Czechs and beer or alcohol in general that i will never be able to understand , many people seem to be not able to start a conversation or have fun before he/she start drinking beer …About good sides i wrote before .

        Like

  23. Hi Carminerodi,
    I haven’t had such a good laugh for quite a long time, reading about us and our country. I don’t live in Prague but in a town near to it (Kladno) and your comments on Pražáci (Prague poeple) were just great. I would disagrree with you only about 1) the obsessive sporting because there are people who don’t do sports at all (not even ocasional bowling! Scandalous…) but they do other things (like gardening or repairing things or – sadly more and more- shopping), and 2) the food – you must have observed that not all people are like your wife (or me), having eaten “svíčková se šesti” (svíčková with 6 dumplings) and still looking fine, people here are becoming fatter and fatter (obese even).
    I have to say you were too kind to us, cutting some slack. I would have been stricter. ;-) Thank you for your observations, gotta go now you know, no time Toulouse, so many things on the to-do list for today. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Going down a little bit deeper about this post. I guess most of Carmine’s opinions are influenced by the place he comes from , i am italian like him and from his name i should guess he comes from Napoli , a place where , because of my previous job i was forced to live for 5 years and , still because of my work i could see the worse of it. I believe that for Carmine Czech Republic is heaven on earth ciompared to the extremely difficult social conditions and the ferocious criminality that he left back home . This is understandable and i heard it from other neapolitans in CZ, they find here a decent social environment to lead a comfortable life. What i didn’t like about this post is the pretension of to classifying everything into categories , like a “low cost ” traveller . Being considered according to a stereotype is a thing that we italians have always suffered before and more than any other people in Europe and around the world. Italians have always been considered like spaghetti, pizza, good lovers and mafia but there is much more than this to our country and there is much more than what Carmine has written here about czechs. Undoubtedly every and each country has its own traditions and certain national characteristics, and thanks God that it is still like that but to try and figure them out , it is not enough to sit in a hospoda and watching people drinking beer . Conclusions can and shouldn’t be based about your wife’s eating habits ; knowing the history of a country is essential to try and understand at least the general attitudes of its people and honestly this post seems to me more like a joke than a serious attempt to do that

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Have you noticed the bit in my post where I write, more or less, “this post must be read more like a joke, than a serious attempt to describe Czech society?”
        Because it seems to me that you took it pretty seriously. Have a nice evening, mate :)

        Like

    2. I know, there is no time to waste time. Well, Svickova and a sporty attitude make for a healthy and fit population. Of course I was over enthusiastic in my post. That was exactly the idea. A Czech person would have been stricter… but I am no Czech ;)

      Like

  24. This is brilliant!
    I found myself in so many things. :)
    I just can’t agree with the Capitol part. In bigger (nowadays in smaller too) cities it’s ok as well to be vegan, pinkhaired or hipster. Times have changed a lot in past few years and I feel the acceptance of difference still growing every single day.
    It must be one big stress in Prague. I live in small village right next to small town in eastern Czech and it’s so much more relaxed. I actually pretty hate the rush in Prague. That’s also one of the reason I went to an university in Brno, it’s calmer and (for me) more pleasant. You know, great wine, great people, haha :)

    But in other things I couldn’t agreed more! I love our country and the personality of Czech people. That’s why it always makes me sad, when someone is speaking disgratefully about our homeland like it was a trash. Czechs have amazing sense of humour. When something unwanted happened, they make jokes about it instead of making big drama. They really are tolerant even if they try to hide it.

    And last… I can’t see the point where I could get offended by what you wrote. You didn’t write anything bad, maybe some paradoxes, but let’s be honest, it’s mostly true! :)

    Have a nice time in Prague,
    Christina :)

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Hi, Im a foreigner living in Ostrava, married with czech woman and already rearing a small kid…
    I agree with almost all points or habits or costums regarding to czechs, but I would like to point out a fact under my opinion….Since there is a bit difference between Prague and the majority of cities in the rest of the republic, you would feel even more those facts out the capital!! Praguers are more open to foreigners, at least more used to interact with them…
    Anyway, super chapter, gratuluju!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Although the differences are narrowing , the gap between Prague and the rest of the country is still enormous, both in terms of prices and mentality . Brno that is afer all the second biggest city, cannot compared under any view to Prague , being Brno a city with the mentality of a small town .

      Like

  26. There is a lot of versions of “svíčková”, but in my opinion onion is not important to point out as an ingredient. Mostly it is carrot, parsley and celery with cream and spices. Pork lard and onion is used in small amount to create a base for the beef to roast properly in the first stage.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Hi, when I came to study in France I spend an eternity on documents, especially on my student visa. Since Then I will never complain about in how Long the documentation is ready in CZ. In Fr I asked for Visa in September and I had it in April in my passeport ! What a Hell.

    Like

  28. Oh, what fun!I am gonna send the link to my SA husband to compare his notes with yours!He’ll have a good chuckle!
    So did I!Wait how your observations will take shape when you have kids!!LOL, like with the nakedness?It’s just perfectly fine for kids to pee in public!:)And hey, I always tell my beer statiscs this way – 600 liters of beer/person/year including beer drinking on a building site 9.30 am and yes when my son went to a National theater in what in Israel would be considered decent he felt decidedly underdressed…..great fun!My hat off to you for learning Czech!
    Am a Czech married to South African living in Israel passed 24 years and those did not beat out your 10 points out of me!
    Well obsereved for such a short time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Frantiska! Do you still live in Israel? I live in Rehovot and I haven`t met any other Czech here:)Maybe we bump to each other somewhere sometimes:)
      Carminerodi: very true observations expressed in a very funny way! (Milos Zeman`s photo with your comment under it made my day!:)

      Liked by 1 person

  29. “metro and tram tickets are still a bit of a funny business, ” Well, only in Prague.as you wrote Prague is basically “The capital”, so also the most corrupted part of Czech and therefore their public transport invoicing is from the 20th century. However looks like better times are coming last time I was able to buy a ticket with my card! :)

    Liked by 1 person

  30. The article is not offensive at all. First, when I was reading the introduction where you were mentioning your apologies, I thought what horror this must be. Now, after reading it, I think you are very kind with Czechs. Since I am Czech, too, I am used to all you have mentioned. Surprisingly the things you are adoring, such as public transportation, outdoor activities, castles or sense of etiquette behavior, Czechs are complaining how rude, lazy and violent the others Czechs are.

    I am happy you like the Czech Republic, happy you find some of our local habbits attractive. When you come to Ostrava, let’s meet and visit the Vitkovice Steel Factory which no longer serves for steel production and which nowadays offers an excellent opportunity to explore industrial architecture, marvelous landscape views and good beer, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Hello,
    I am a Czech, married to an American, living in the US. I have been living abroad for a while, which gives me sort of different perspective on Czechs and our lovely country. I love your article. I have told about some of the same points that you described to my non-CZ friends before but you do it more eloquently. Now I can just link them to your post. 😀. Your article also made me miss home even more deeply. It makes me proud to be a Czech. Have a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. I really agree with the point about nudity and it actually got me to a few embarrassing situations during my travels. Especially when I studied in Scotland – when I went to play hockey there (I am stereotypical Czech in loving sports) and started changing in the changing room as I am use to all the girls were looking at me weirdly. Later I realised that they were all changing in a way so they would show as little skin as possible. :-D Or when playing “Never have I ever…” when someone said skinny-dipping and I was like “what you have never done it!? I have done it like hundreds times!” :-D

    Liked by 1 person

  33. I can’t be more identified with this. My wife and I enjoyed every word. We laughed, cried, reflected and pondered. As a foreigner couple we feel understood. Although I have found Czechs that don’t like to move, and just be lazy too but I have 7 more years here than you. Thanks for writing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Well done. I am a Czech living abroad and I’ve had to get used to the fact that people in most of the world are too prude. I go back to Praha often to just get naked and sweat in the sauna with a beer in between sessions. Only I wish people there were friendlier and didn’t look like something dramatic has just happened to them haha

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Thanks for the brilliant article! I’d just like to add that 1) planning your day intensely 2) hating the public transport and 3) always being in a hurry are very much Prague things. People are more relaxed and more in favour of the public transport in the rest of the country. Btw, I’m creating a new website – from a Czech’s point of view for expats. http://www.exploringczechia.cz – it’s under construction. May I add a link to this article there?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. of course you can, it would be a pleasure :)
      and yes, I agree, what I describe is mostly the life in Prague.
      The interesting thing is, after 1 year of living here, I am also adopting many of the same obsessions (time, public transport). Except saunas, I am still not ready for that.

      Like

      1. Thanks! :-) I can totally relate to that, I lived in Latvia and the 3 years there transformed me from folklore hater to folklore lover (they have superb folk dance choreographies). About the saunas – you must have come to a special environment because nobody I know visits saunas regularly. Most of my friends prefer to spend money on hiking, biking, swimming, dancing or so, not sitting and sweating. Saunas are better for Northern countries where they help people survive winter. You’re lucky you haven’t moved to Finland :-D

        Liked by 1 person

  36. Great and funny! But I am sure you are wrong in so many things, because you compare us with people from Italy. For example I can’t imagine, that someone from Sweden, Norway, Denmark (…) could say, that people from CZ are “sporty and outdoorsy”. Or someone from Switzerland or Germany, that we are “obsessed with time”… But still, great article :)

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Haha. Absolutely spot on:) I am Czech but have been living in UK for 12 years and was laughing so much whilst reading your arcticle. Especially about wearing outdoor clothes etc most of the time:) All these points you really notice when you live somewhere else. Because when you live in Czech rep all the time, you are proud of it:) Well done. The best blog about our culture I have read so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. This is probably my fourth time coming back to this article. I first got it when my Czech boyfriend who lives in Prague (where I met him last year when I lived in Prague) sent it to me saying “YOU’VE GOT TO READ THIS” and now I keep seeing it in my news feed on facebook and deciding to take another look. Anyways, it’s GREAT. I certainly felt a lot of the things you mentioned in this post. I miss Prague dearly and hope to move back within the next few months. Great post, great writing. Keep up the great work! :)

    Liked by 1 person

  39. I was expecting to get bored and disagree half way through this… there were a few points where I did, but mostly very good. BTW, mate plan na vikend means do you have a plan on the weekend, not what is your plan… :-)

    Liked by 1 person

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