Top 10 signs that you’re in Czech Republic

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Socks and Sandals Socks and sandals Karl Lagerfeld could have a heart attack if he saw this. They even ain’t strictly indoor or a fair weather thing: some people are so used to them that they wear them even when it rains a little. Most people treat their shoes as something to get off at the first chance, which might explain the reason why there isn’t a great deal of good shoes on offer in Prague shops. Usually people have sandals wait under their desk at work and kiss them good bye when it’s time to go home and wear these dreadful things with laces called shoes.

Beer is cheaper than water Mineral water, although popular now, is still a recent introduction and considered somewhat superfluous. Being a man, I get the at least occasional odd look when I don’t order beer and instead order Mattoni (a specific brand which here is really a synonymous of sparkling water). A small bottle of Mattoni goes for an average of 35kc at most places, while half a liter of beer still averages at 30kc.

Colza Fields Colza fields Take the train from Prague to Bratislava and you’ll see kilometers and kilometers of beautiful yellow colza fields for almost half of the journey. Colza oil has been used extensively for public lighting in Central and Northern Europe for ages and it’s now being used to produce bio-diesel.

Poppy flowers Poppy seeds Guess what?! They are legal and used for baking. Yeah, I hear you, what a waste! The use of poppy seeds is banned in some countries due to the opium alkaloid content that can cause false positives in drug tests. In Czech Republic you can find them in pastries, bagels, cakes and they taste delicious. Don’t worry, they’re safe, you won’t develop an addiction. Now sorry, but I have to go get my daily fix!

Carp Monster in the bathtub It’s almost Christmas and you’ve been invited for a party at a friend’s place. You already had a few beers and need to use the bathroom, so you stand in front of the toilet bowl, aim, lock the target and release; but immediately you have the weird feeling you’re not alone, you look around, then look in the bathtub: a 10kg carp has been staring at you all the time! As Christmas approaches you’ll see loads of places at street corners selling monstrously big carps: they’re thought to bring luck and they’re part of the dinner menu and, while waiting unfed for their destiny in the bathtub, they’ll clear out of all the mud.

Trekking shoes Keen is the new Nike You never know when it’s time to go mushrooming, that’s why very few people wear normal trainers, while the majority wears trekking shoes. Keen is one of the popular brands and in Czech Republic these represent the standard sport shoes, complemented in the summer by the atrocious trekking sandals, supposedly worn for their comfort and durability, certainly not for their look.

Czech tram Tram etiquette Someone even wrote a book about it, taking it as a starting point to discuss about the Czech’s national character. Nowhere else I’ve seen people so promptly give up their seats to elderly or disabled people; and I’m not talking just about the reserved seats assigned to them. But what happens quite often is that, even with no disabled in sight, on a full tram, most hesitate to sit on a free seat, failing to realize that it could save everybody some space.

Pomlazka An Easter-n nightmare If you’re a woman don’t be surprised if on Easter Monday men will wake you up by pouring a bucket of water over your head and start whipping you with a pomlázka; this is a very old pagan tradition in Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Usual targets are unmarried girls and the whole ritual has to do with fertility and although generally conducted in a playful way I’ve heard the odd report of it being performed by the grandpa, with heaps of water and hard whipping. Ouch!

Shoes on doorstep Shoes on the doorstep You know those Southern Europeans that never take their shoes off when entering a house? Well, here you’ll find that not only you have to take off your shoes, but it’s even more appropriate to do so outside the door. When someone throws a party it’s easy to tell: there’s a mountain of shoes outside the door, which are sometimes the easy target of petty gypsy thieves.

Knight Templar Knight Templars around town You have this picture of Knight Templars on their horse… but time have changed, and now they take the metro too. Medieval reenactment here is a sport and people go around on public transport with full length swords and other weapons and then go train in some public park, such as Letna. Don’t worry, it’s all normal here, it’s not some kind of highlander freak that goes chop people’s head off until there’s only one.

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130 comments
sergiotgval
sergiotgval

What about dumb whores up every corner and street? =)

sylvos22
sylvos22

I live in ČR and i 100% agree. Except the last one. The shit are you talking about?

LukasBlazek
LukasBlazek

@sylvos22 i live in ČR and i dont fucking know what he mean with that last one :D

Dganung
Dganung

I can remember sandals back in the days of the North Beach artists and intellectuals, before the hippies. They wore socks and sandals. It is a cooler climate in San Francisco. I read all the comments here and NO ONE mentions the fact that Prague has most the year a cooler climate. I think I've seen sandals without socks well represented on hot summer days. What a goofy thing to go on and on about. What about Czech indifference, a source of many a painful experience not to mention a good joke.

Bara
Bara

I Guess everybody will have his pros and contras to say about a country they lived in or visited, but to get better sight of how it really works you would actually have to be from there yet have mind open enough to see all the sides not just the ones. To comment all this...I see guys and old ladies wearing sock in sandals every day even in the winter but majority of people does not do it any-more. Most people in the tram will let the old person or pregnant girl sit down, but then you see this idiot who will just comment "I am not the farther" or " He's old he sits all day anyway". We love our beer and thats why its cheep and we love our flowers thats why you see them all over the place :) Yeah leave ye shoes outside the door please I just cleaned the floor.. unless specifically told different.. Gypsy thief's??? well it could have been as well ur "white neighbour" who liked the shoes...lets face it, we are Czech...We are famous for Beer Girls and Thief's Easter really is nightmare for girls..but the water thing is opposite if u come after noon u get iced shower or few weeks old eggs on ye head. Knights over the place..I believe u have this in US as well as Japan etc..its just called cosplay ;) Keen????? Dafug is that? newer heard of them....I wear adidas... Gypsies...they are like any other people, you have them bad u have them nice..problem is the bad one are usually so bad they ruin the image for all the others has any on of U any idea how many of the "opposite racisms" is going on here like when the ticket control stops a gipsy guy or girl who has no ticket and they starts screaming "help racist" just so they don't have to pay the fine...while the white kid just runs cos he could not possibly use this excuse (unless he/she is under-age and starts screaming help paedophile touching me :P ) My best friend in school was gipsy girl and i liked to be around her and her family a lot, yet her brother tried to attack me...And guess what few years later I was attacked by classmate who was as white as the fresh fallen show.... I see why people are scared of big groups of gypsies together, I saw tree gipsy girls attacking a white girl just because she walked pass them on the street...and agues what..I saw same think happen at school when all three of the girls where just plainly white and the 2 attacking girls even from good families..:P And well yeah them social system does favorise them u know why? cos they know it they know every small rule and gap in it and are not afraid to use it for they own good..but to be hones, hand on you heart..if you had the time and knowledge, would you not do the same? And last think..the Canada story..I have to agree that that group of people that used the hospitality of Canada ruined it for all of us as now we need Visa to go there...But lets face it..What group of people went there? Where they gypsies in general..or just those scum-bags that are ruining the gipsy name?

Pjmorphis3
Pjmorphis3

Very cool, I enjoyed reading this! I felt like I learned something.:)

Boris Krumov
Boris Krumov

Hey, but ain't it cool as a glass of Pilsner Urquell ?

Bartos Marek
Bartos Marek

The socks in sandals thing , is in whole Eastern Europe

Moravian
Moravian

Prague sucks monkey's ass :D Moravia is much better, Brno, Olomouc etc.

Napali
Napali

Funny article about Czech. And yet, there is a word "gypsy" used 61x in the discussion below and people flaming. Get a life.

Jaroslav Reznik
Jaroslav Reznik

Hey, I've recently bought Keen sandals and yeah, I have Keen shoes too :) But I do not consider Keen as outdoor equipment - not very durable, especially for the price... That's another point - we like to wear/buy expensive shit - so that's the reason why everyone wears it.

Guest
Guest

THE Czech Republic. Naučte se to, konečně.

Raxaxa
Raxaxa

and i frgot 11. you are living in wooden hause in huricane area 12 . honda goldwing is small motorbike but do not worry is normal 13. you are not alowed dring beer at beech niether from paper bag 14. you are scared from sherif

Raxaxa
Raxaxa

how to recognize you are back in USA : 1. the beer is much more expensiver then water but the tast is almoust same 2. you spent 90 procent of your time in car - you go to the atm by car . 3. you and people around you are fat 4. you are talking but nobody is lisening 5. everybody claim he/she is happy but it is not true 5. even you earn much more then in czech republic - you are poor 6. you can frget about maschrooms because you do not have forest evrithing is PRIVATE 7. fishing without burning 400 l (100 gal) gas per one fich at hudge high speed motor boat is not fishing. 9. you do not have any public transport or noboady know about it 10. Poppy seeds is white not red / red is wild Jan wearing socks in sandals

Me
Me

Little gayish if you do not see all beautiful girls ;DDDD Socks = hygiene Shoes on the doorstep = clean house

Klára
Klára

Hm, Socks and sandals. I can´t rememeber last time I saw somebody wearing socks and sandals, only old people. It is true there is not enough of good shoes on offer in every shop in Prague, but there are, you just have to know where to look for them. Sandals under their desk at work? Where do you work, man? Beer is cheaper than water. If you talk about Prague –yes, it can be, because – as somebody has already mentioned – it is just marketing, but I have never seen Mattoni of 45 Kč. Keen is the new Nike. I have never heard of this brand at all. Probably it depends on part of CR. Shoes on the doorstep. It is normal to take off your shoes when entering house, but there is nothing typical about taking off shoes outsider the door. Knight Templars around town. What are you talking about ?? :D

Chuj++
Chuj++

Good point! Shoes suck indeed. Can't fathom the suffering of those confined to a pair of "proper shoes" all day long. To me, that's on par with latex underwear, comfort-wise. Why not do your feet a little favor?

Muriel
Muriel

Socks in sandals are comfortable and not changing your shoes when you enter your home is disgusting.

Guest
Guest

After reading through all the comments, I am wondering if it is just me who thinks that this is supposed 2 b just a funny article, a joke. I mean u can generalize like this about every country...

Margarethe
Margarethe

WTF, Keen? I've never heard of them! WTF, Templar knights? Where did you get that from??? + Czech people do not speak foreign languages although they (pretend to) learn them at school... (95% I would say :D)

Poor CZ mentality
Poor CZ mentality

You forgot to mention that 1) the majority of the Czech population believes that dark people are less than white (see bellow comments). 2) that a part from pork there is very little to eat, if you are vegetarian you will probably starve. 3) that they say really bad things about American junk food but almost 100% of their traditional food is rich in fat, animal saturated fat, almost everything is deep fried or processed (salame, sausage and all that crappy variances of processed meet). 4) the mentality has not yet followed the recent economical growth. Food, music, entertainment and leisure is not as I expected. Please don't take me wrong, I leave here for more than 3 years ( I really have to) and the place is just fun but can't swallow the arguments about gypsy, thieves, crime etc. They are mostly done by white and there is no cz person to mention that here. Has someone ever visited a prison in CZ? I have! and I CAN ATTEST THAT THE MAJORITY IF NOT 90% ARE WHITE PEOPLE. I really hate cz mindset. Just to mention, I am not dark or gypsy and honestly speaking, I would love to be able to come her just as a tourist (that is cool) but to adapt to the life here is a long term is almost impossible.

Ma
Ma

Seems like somebody has not been anywhere here. Go to Rome to see tough guys getting up instantly to free their seats for boarding elderly women.

Likininka
Likininka

Hey! I am from Czech republic and I don't wear socks and sandals because I haven't got sandals! I don't drink bear and Mattoni costs 25,- Kc. I think this isn't an optimistic article for us. Everyone isn't same and I think you are biased against the Czechs!

Sloth
Sloth

Another thing which is very typical is RACISM- reflected in this article as well. Be sure your shoes are "the easy target of petty gypsy thieves"... seems like the author loves stereotypes. Moreover, honestly guys, who would grab someone´s shoes?

J.K.
J.K.

Generally nice article, but this is quite nonsense: "Mineral water, although popular now, it’s still a recent introduction and considered somewhat superfluous." Mineral water is popular here for more than a century and not a recent introducition. The reason for high price is different. Many people used to judge the price level of restaurant by the price of beer - so there is a pressure to keep beer prices low... and make profit elsewhere.

CzechGuy
CzechGuy

You left out the point that Czech's can't handle any spice or anything that has flavor beyond what pork and potatoes can deliver... after living for years in Prague and having hundreds of family and friends from the region.. I can attest to that. I was always fed up with how anything labeled spicy on a menu was far from it while asking to make a proper fiery Hungarian Goulash was impossible, and always getting complaints from my Eastern European friends and relatives about anything that had a deeper palette of tastes and spices.. Once you get used to knedlo vepro zelo, pecena kachena and svickova there is nothing original left, except for maybe a pecene koleno

Janexoxo
Janexoxo

Btw. the author is right about the gypsy thieves. If only they stole just shoes. But mostly they mug you, kick you unconscious and then blame it on the society.

Janexoxo
Janexoxo

As for the past years in Czechia I would add one more typical fact - gypsy kids in diapers smoking cigarettes and gypsy adults attacking white people during the day (usually a group of 6-10 gypsies attacks one single person) for being white. Very sad but true fact.

Tim
Tim

Screw Prague, come to Brno :)

Radek
Radek

Hey, nice observation :) but I have to disagree with 1 thing - the shoes (Keen?). I live in CZ for my whole life and Ive never heard of 'em :)

PL
PL

The (outrageously noisy) way Czech people blow their noses should be definitely in this list.

Another Random Guest
Another Random Guest

Hi, you say 10 signs but slandering gypsies (which is another typical czech thing) makes it 11. Why not change the headline?

Steve
Steve

well, all true, again you forgot to tell that probably soap and water are really a luxury for some people and for the socks and sandals, it is really crazy and while you stay at work to see people taking off their shoes to put on their pantofle... and the smell.... :)))) regarding the gypsy part, nothing happened to me... yet...however you are right and is not about racism, just telling the truth

V.
V.

Hei, u forgot the garlic! the garlic is everywhere :)

Ocelot20002001
Ocelot20002001

@Eli: "Socks and sandals... This is quite strange to me as well. And despite the frequency of different people mentioning it, I rarely see anybody, who'd actually wear it." really? come on where do you live? The article is missing the acid smell of Czech people within summer :-)

PragueAtFirstSight
PragueAtFirstSight

I love this!!! How true, you made me chuckle and think of the "good old times". :)

Random Guest
Random Guest

Hi, I'm sorry but I find parts your blog offensive and the mention of petty gypsy thieves racist. I would have prefered to write this in a mail directly to the author but there appears to be no author and no address or any other contact of any kind. Are we ashamed of our opinions?

Kelly
Kelly

45 kc for a 33 cl bottle of Mattoni? You do know they sell it at any Albert for about 19 kc for 1 L, right?

Eli
Eli

:D Hi! I have to say the last one was really unexpected. At first I had no idea what you're talking about. :D I don't know if you want/need an explanation of this though and don't want to give you one unless it'll be desired. Socks and sandals... This is quite strange to me as well. And despite the frequency of different people mentioning it, I rarely see anybody, who'd actually wear it. Nice to read that about trams! Because we've always been taught to let older people sit, then you always do it and yet you also always have to listen to other people complain how nobody does it. Puzzling. Today I heard some people complaining how tram/bus drivers always close the door when they see somebody trying to catch it. While my experience tells me, that they always wait and sometimes even into such extreme, that the bus drives slowly enough so I can manage to run in time to the request stop (though that was the first or the last one and in one case I had large backpack and ski). Some people are just ungrateful bitches. And some are plain stupid. Like when it's raining outside, the tram is full and the windows get all steamed up so you can't see outside. And it's always me, who opens the window just a little bit, so we won't all suffocate. And it's always me, who is considered weird or stupid, judging by the looks. I had no idea MEN pour water onto women.... o.O As far as I know, girls are allowed to pour water on boys when they come for eggs after noon. Too bad there's nobody, who'd have the balls to come to strange people's house and do that where I live.

Lucie Bruno
Lucie Bruno

Dude i'm really digging this, I hope you don't mind if I repost on my blog, with full credit to you and a link back to you of course.

Terreza
Terreza

I have to speak up, because what I read ... It is unprecedented :D From what it says look, we live in the country 3 of the world:D. While Poppy's really eating, but wearing socks with sandals about 1% of the people. I laughed a lot of those articles :D

Diana Macovei
Diana Macovei

Absolutely loved it, Bolognini :) Time to move, time to move :))))

Anna
Anna

Yeah, there are some Czech traditions that I can't stand... and pomlazka is one of them. If I am at home at all I pretend I am not :D But at least in Prague you don't get the water. You get some pretty weird stuff around Christmas too, like cutting the apples during the Christmas dinner, if there is a star (seeds in that shape) you will be fine next year, but if there's a cross... you are supposed to die that year. Just one of the nice additions to a "merry" Christmas atmosphere :O

The Editor
The Editor

Hi Anna, thanks for stopping by, yeah the Czechs have their quirks like all other nations. The nice thing about them is that they are mostly funny and harmless, except pomlazka, that is! ;-) Personally, even though where I'm from we don't normally take off shoes indoors (but then we never use carpet) I find the habit, how to say, refreshing! ;-)

Anna
Anna

Some parts are funny, some quite not accurate. For example poppy seeds don't contain any opium, only juice from unripe poppy heads contains opium. And they are not only used in Czech republic but many other European countries, like GB. And I have to say walking around a house (specially if there is a carpet) with the same shoes that you walk outside is pretty disgusting.... all the yuck that you bring into your house.... ok, leaving them outside (only some people do) is not quite right either. And Colza fields are so common (only recently) because the farmers get a support from EU. Socks in sandaIs are crazy, but I personally don't know anyone who would leave them under their desk at work??? And yeah, buying shoes in Prague IS a nightmare. Also I've never heard that carp is eaten because of luck... I personally don't like carp, but the smaller the better, 3kg has the best taste.

virgil
virgil

Girl in Czechland should be recommended reading for anybody planning to move to Czech Republic ;-)

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  1. […] generally considered quite quiet and polite, with a formidable reputation for being the home of the ‘socks with sandals’ look.  Any big city is going to have its artistic and alternative communities, Prague being no […]

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