Don't call it "Czechia" and five other things I learned in Prague
April 25, 2017
I know, when you enter an address in Prague in google maps the result says the address is in "Czechia". Since I always make efforts to treat every culture with respect when traveling (well other times too!) I asked a waiter at a restaurant if it's more proper to say "Czechia" or "The Czech Republic."
He replied unequivocally that the people who live here call it "The Czech Republic." I mentioned that google calls it "Czechia" (hmmm, my spellcheck just changed that to "Czechoslovakia") and he replied that he is aware of that but no one calls it that. End of that confusion.
Here's what else I've learned in no particular order;
The Czech people are very polite, friendly and forgiving if you don't speak Czech, although they seem very touched if you try. I haltingly said "gjee-ku-ay" (thank you) to a lady as I prepared to leave a little store and she looked so moved that she paused, smiled sweetly, put her hand to her heart and replied, "Nemáš zač." (You're welcome.") as though I'd said some wonderful thing.
Prague is a very tiny city and is immensely walkable. Unless you're hauling luggage, forget about the tram and walk. It's prettier that way.
The Czech are literate. They have a bookstore on almost every block. It's gratifying to see, which leads me to my other observation.
Traditonal handicrafts are respected and passed down for hundreds and hundreds of years. In the little artist houses in the "alley" behind Prague Castle I became enthralled by the charming items inside a ceramics shop. In asking questions I learned that the intricately hand painted designs have been handed down since the 16th Century right here in Prague, and have been created continuously since then. That's respect for the past. The pieces are charming and beautiful.
Although the past is respected and revered, the Czech are forward-thinking and embrace new art, architecture and ideas. They are truly a modern people and this is a world-class city.
Prague or Praha, as the locals call it, has captured my heart like San Francisco, New York and Paris have. I will be returning to this sparkling city of old and new.