A few things instigated my move to the Czech Republic, firstly I had met a Czech girl who offered support and an alternative to solve a problem caused by my great addiction to Coca-Cola (2 litres everyday), this addiction had created a requirement for dental implants, in fact quite a few. The cost in England is approximately 60.000 CZK for one implant. I travelled to Olomouc for a pre-arranged appointment with a dentist. I will be honest, maybe propaganda, maybe it could have been English arrogance that was to blame for my thoughts, but I expected to find something close to a third world country and with regards to dentistry probably an engineer with gardening tools.
When I arrived in 2014 I found a country with hot and cold water coming out of one point, not two separate taps. For my first meal in a restaurant, I paid the same amount for two meals which was less than the price of one meal in Oxford, it was a warm sunny day (again not a regular occurrence in England). When it came to night-time, I looked up at the sky and saw a myriad of stars, not the orange reflection of countless cities that role into one in South-East England. The ice rink in Olomouc is bigger than the one in Oxford, the football stadium in Olomouc is complete and with better refinement, even the smaller town of Prostejov has 3 swimming pools, poor old Oxford has only one and it’s an outdoor pool with no slides and a system to regulate who swims and when due to the high numbers of customers on a sunny day (yes, it happens occasionally). So, I was happy, I looked for property then with the sale of my house and businesses in the UK I found a solution for early retirement.
Teaching is the first job I have done with a feel and sense of a satisfaction from doing, you help students to achieve their goals; either an exam pass, to improve how they carry out their business or simply to help them with a dream holiday and be able to communicate or effectively or even to complain about bad service. Sometimes you get a thank you or even a chance meeting and reflection about your lessons, in all my years as an IT professional this was always the last thing to happen.
When I travelled to the Czech Republic, I visited a few cities Prague, Hradec Kralove, Olomouc, Brno, Prerov, Krumlov. I came to like Olomouc, I read once it to be described as the hidden jewel in the Czech Republic maybe Europe, I like this. It reminds me in part of the beauty of Oxford with its historic architecture and then the intrigue of its immense history as being the crossroads of Europe. At Christmas time you can visit the market, this is something I never witnessed before in any town or city. With a lack of tourists it creates a pleasant environment to relax in, comparing Olomouc to Oxford we can depict a scene in post Harry Potter tourism with a great number of visitors to see the great halls of Christchurch college in this scenario you enter into a crazy paradox of being in England and then to ask ten people in Oxford what the time is, maybe only one person will understand and reply.
I think I would have to say it is the town of Kroměříž as the hardest Czech word to pronounce, if you would like to entertain yourself and friends during your next trip in Czechia select English language on “Waze” or a different satellite navigation unit, then Czech natives might understand how foreigner’s pronunciation can be so bad!