Sunday, October 30, 2016

Happy 9th Anniversary Czech Off the Beaten Path

Hi Everyone, 
Today (October 31st) marks the 9th anniversary for Czech Off the Beaten Path! It’s hard to believe this blog’s been around since 2007. Blogging has taken me on an adventure, with many twists and turns over the years. 

I originally started writing here as a way to share my expat life with others. This blog’s also been a form of therapy; it’s given me some vital perspectives on being in a cross-cultural marriage and living in a foreign country. Writing has been a cathartic process, as well as a fun way to meet others and make expat friends.

Top 9 Posts of All Time
Here are the top 9 CZOBP (Czech Off the Beaten Path) blog posts of all time. These are the posts that have received the most traffic through the years. You’ll find some of the twists and turns of expat life, cross-cultural relationship humor and issues, along with some of my favorite places visit in this beautiful country.

The posts start with #9 and go down to #1—the top post of this blog:

9 Off the Beaten Path Facts about the Czech Republic
When searching for information about the Czech Republic, you’ll come across interesting facts such as the country is landlocked, it has over 2,000 castles and castle ruins, Prague Castle is the biggest in the world, etc. However, there are some other unusual facts you don’t often come across about the Czech Republic. Let’s take a look at some “off the beaten path” facts about this beautiful and fascinating country. 

Skull of St. Wenceslas paraded on his saint day.
1). St. Wenceslas (Sv. Vacláv), the patron saint of the Czech Republic, was martyred by his younger brother, Boleslav. This is the very Wenceslas we sing about in the traditional Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas.” There is a legend which says that St. Wenceslas and an army of knights sleep inside a mountain called Blaník. The legend goes on to say that when the Czech lands are in the greatest danger, St. Wenceslas and his knights will come out of Blaník to save the country from its enemies, and bring in a time of peace and prosperity for the land.

2). Foreigners may find it strange, but when you enter a Czech home, you’re asked to remove your shoes and put on pantofle (house shoes/slippers).  This is done to keep a home clean from outside dirt (including dog poo on sidewalks and other yucky things). Some businesses also require employees to wear pantofle while working. There’s a Czech saying that you should never leave home with holes in your socks—this is the reason why.

3). Legends say that Princess Libuše started the Czech Přemyslid dynasty, the first rulers in the Czech Republic. She was one of three sisters who were daughters of King Krok (hewas descended from Father Czech—the original Czech leader). Each sister had a gift: one sister was a healer, another was a priestess, and Libuše could foretell the future. She is widely known for her vision of Prague. She had a vision while standing on a rocky cliff above the Vltava, looking down to where the city of Prague would eventually stand, “I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars.” After inheriting the crown from her father, Libuše ruled well and justly for a time. However, eventually some of the men of the kingdom were unhappy to be ruled by a woman. They demanded she find a husband to rule with her. Libuše had another vision about her future husband. She saw a farmer ploughing his fields in a specific spot. She told the men this was the man she would marry. The men found the farmer as she had described; his name was Přemsyl. Libuše and Přemysl became rulers together and eventually had three sons to continue the new Přemyslid dynasty of the Czechs.

4). 81.4% of Czechs are connected to the internet; the country ranks 49th in the world for the rate of internet connection. That’s a high internet penetration rate—pretty impressive.

Cimrman Bust
5). Jára Cimrman is one of the most famous Czechs who never lived. He’s a fictional character created by Jiří Šebánek, Ladislav Smoljak and Zdeněk Svěrák. Czechs claim Cimrman has invented everything from the first wheel, the first rocket and more. He won the title of Greatest Czech in 2005. Cimrman is a fun example of Czech humor—sometimes black and tongue-in-cheek, but at the same time fun.

 6). The Plastic People of the Universe was a band first formed in 1968, during the Prague Spring. The band was known for their non-conformist views and music in the 70s. The communist regime went after the band for playing “indecent” music, forcing them to go underground. Various members were arrested and harassed off and on during the regime, but survived and the band still performs today. 

7). Charles IV is considered the country’s greatest leader of all time. Charles IV was not only the king of Bohemia, but was named the Holy Roman Emperor on July 11, 1346. He was responsible for many reforms during his time as emperor, and was a staunch patron of the arts. Karlův most (Charles Bridge), in Prague, is named after Charles IV, who began construction of the bridge in 1357.
By Berlin-George - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
 8). The word “dollar” comes from the Czech tolar (thaler) coin, which was used in the 16th century. The tolar was first minted in Jáchymov, a town in north western Bohemia, near the spa town of Karlovy Vary. The region was rich in silver mines.

 9). Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (1850-1937) was the first president of independent Czechoslovakia after WWI. He’s sometimes referred to as the Czech’s “George Washington.” Masaryk was elected president of the Czechoslovak Republic on November 14, 1918. His government provided the stability the country needed after WWI, and developed the country’s economy into one of the best in the world at that time. Another interesting note, Masaryk had an American wife, Charlotte Garrigue from Brooklyn. Jiri thankfully followed in Masaryk’s steps by marrying me. J

Thank you for your continued support of Czech Off the Beaten Path. I’ve been amazed that this blog gets so many visitors, even when I’ve not written new posts for a long time. It’s been fun getting to know some of you virtually, and some of you in person.

I’ll continue to write and share my expat journey with you. It’s still an adventure, even after almost living here for an entire decade! More on that in a later post!

Happy Birthday, Beth! :)

One more note—today’s also a special day because it’s my sister-in-law’s birthday! Happy Birthday, Beth! Jirka and I hope you have a wonderful day and wish you all the best in this new year! J

That’s all for now! Have a great day!

God bless,

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