Living in the Czech Republic
It’s been ten years since I moved to the Czech Republic, to Brno to be exact – capital of South Moravia Region. While the Czech Republic doesn’t position itself high on any of the TOP rankings, I must admit I feel at home here. Just like any other country in the world, the Czech Republic has its advantages and flaws. Living abroad requires a certain amount of flexibility and adjustment. And it’s no different with Czechia. Let me show you my subjective list of thoughts about living in the Czech Republic, created based on my personal experience from the past years.
It seems like every Czech, no matter the age is a natural-born sportsperson and they love all kinds of physical activities. Whether it is cycling, running, swimming in the summer or indoor gym, skiing and skating in the winter. Czechs are active all year round, they do that with enthusiasm and commitment. And beware, it’s totally contagious. When I first came to the Czech Republic I wasn’t much of an avid hiker. Now when living in the Czech Republic, I can’t imagine a weekend without a backpacking trip, being out in nature, or sightseeing in a nearby city. Czechia’s scenery also helps a lot. The country is so small, yet full of surprises.
By some claimed to be “the heart of Europe”, Czech Republic lays in Central Europe, bordered by Poland from the north, Slovakia from the east, Austria from the south and Germany from the west. This location makes Czechia a fantastic starting point for further explorations. A comfortable hour-and-half train ride gets tourists to neighbouring Wien or Bratislava. A 4-hour car ride can take locals to a Parliament House in Budapest or a famous Wawel Castle in Kraków. Prague inhabitants use the opportunity to go shopping in Dresden, remoted only 150-kilometers away. Also, sole travelling around the Czech Republic is not a bad experience at all. I started by exploring the surroundings, going further and further each weekend. From the Beskids to vineyards, from the Charles Bridge to Bohemian Switzerland, from the best-known Czech Spa town, Karlovy Vary to Historic Center of Cesky Krumlov. There’s an endless number of castles and ruins to see, observation towers to climb and paths to walk. Not to make an advert, but the Czech Republic really has it all – except the sea of course ? Living in the Czech Republic has its profits.
EASY WAY OF LIVING
I’m not exactly sure whether this is a good thing or not, but I get the impression that Czech people don’t really care about stuff. Starting with their overall look, with few exceptions, Czechs try not to stand out, they wear rather neutral, sporty outfits. Through the fact that Czechs tend not to worry. Carpe diem as they say. They enjoy their lives day-to-day, without having a headache over a million problems that they cannot solve. Finally, Czechs don’t present themselves as family people. They rather spend their free time with friends hiking than on a Sunday dinner with family. There’re no huge gatherings over Christmas or often visits throughout the year. It’s a kind of duty rather than pleasure.
It’s one of the huge disadvantages of living in the Czech Republic. Whether it’s food or cosmetics-related I feel like the choice in Czech shops is very limited. A big portion of food quality is simply poor. It’s hard to find fresh-looking pieces of meat or a different selection of fishes around the Czech Republic. Organic or vegan products are rare and overpriced. Vegan must really struggle in the Czech Republic. Plant-based food in restaurants is tricky to find. The cosmetics world is growing around the Czech Republic, but still few worldwide brands are missing on the Czech’s shelves.
Living in the Czech Republic with kids is just a pleasure. Starting with the paid maternity leave that may last up to 4 years to leisure options parents can choose from. Czechia does really perform well in this area. Countless activities for kids, baby clubs and happenings make it easier for parents to survive. Only in the very centre of Brno, there’re two Cafes with playgrounds for kids. More and more restaurants dotted around cities are kids friendly as well. In this matter, Brno definitely ranks higher than Prague, although I may say only from a tourist experience.
When it comes to kids, most parents want to raise their offspring in a safe environment. And I believe the Czech Republic is a safe place to live in. I’m not scared to return home after dusk. I’m not scared to send my kids to school alone. You don’t hear in the Czech news scary stories about killing, murdering or kidnapping. Of course, there’re pickpockets or conmen, mainly in Prague, trying to trick tourists, but that’s mostly it.
With a 40-hour workweek schedule, Czechs still find time to go out in the evenings. Whether it’s a beer with colleagues, a 10-kilometre jog, a visit to a playground with kids, Czechs can easily separate their personal and work life. I get the impression; the moment hand of a clock shows 5 pm everyone forgets about all the work duties and follows their passion – mainly sport. I didn’t also notice any fierce rivalry or rat race in the office. On the opposite, the atmosphere is positive and friendly. But that may be connected with point 3: easy way of living and careless attitude to life.
The whole natural look and easy way of living lead to a lack of use antiperspirants. It intensifies in natural human fragrance, which is especially fruity in public transportation during summer. As much as I enjoy public transportation in Brno, I limit my journeys to the very minimum over summer.
It’s very important to highlight that it’s just my subjective feelings about Czechia. Yours may differ.