I've been doing a lot of brainstorming about my favorite things from the Czech Republic, and here's the Top 10 list with explanation.
10. Alfons Mucha
This man was a Czech painter who studied in Paris and painted all these wonderful, though washed-out, posters of beautiful women, such as the turn-of-the-20th-century famous actress Sarah Bernhardt.
I'm not sure if this is only a Czech thing, but I've never seen it in the US. It's this incredible nasal spray that clears up nasal congestion within about 3 minutes of use and keeps your airways clear for about 24 hours. It was excellent when I was suffering with a head cold and couldn't breathe.
8. Water cookersIn Czech they're called "rychlovarná konvice" and they're electrical water pitchers. It's a much faster way to boil water for tea or for instant coffee than using a tea kettle on the stove. I used mine every day with my delicious instant Jacob's coffee. Yum.
7. Rohliky and Housky
These are the breadsticks and rolls that everyone buys fresh and eats every day. I'm REALLY going to miss them.
6. KrtekKrtek is Czech for "mole" and Krtek is like the Czech Mickey Mouse. He's the start of an animated cartoon for children. Mole's friends are a mouse, a rabbit, a hedgehog, and a frog, all named for what they are. The cartoon has no dialog, and the only sound is music and a toddler giggling.
This is the Czech national dish. It's pork, bread dumplings, and Czech-style sour cabbage. It's delicious!
Kofola is the Czech cola. During communism, the government didn't allow Coca-cola into the country, so this was the cola that everyone drank. When communism ended in 1989, Coke came in and overwhelmed Kofola, but in recent years, it's been increasing in popularity again. It's main flavor ingredient is anis, which is also the main flavor in black licorice.
Přání is Czech for "wishing," and it's tradition to shake hands, wish beautiful things and give blessings to a person on their birthday or name day, or saying good-bye to a person who's moving away. This is such a lovely tradition and a great way of honoring people and letting them know how important they are to you. The person wishing shakes and holds the hand of the one to whom he or she is wishing, looks them in the eye, and tells them everything they need to say. I had many wishes before I moved home.
The most beautiful, romantic city in all of Europe. I love it, but can't spend more than a couple of days there, because it's full of tourists. :)
The Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession (pictured is the current Bishop, Stanislav Pietak): This is the church with which I worked during my 27 months of field work as an LCMS missionary. It is by far my favorite thing about the Czech Republic: the church body itself, as well as the people which comprise it.