I'm not sure if the "about" section should be about the blog or about its author. Well, let's say that in this case it will deal with both.

My name's Wojtek and I live in Poland. A few years back I went to the Czech Republic and I fell for this country and its people immediately. Since that time I've been doing my best to get back there at least once a year. I've already been not only to Prague, Ostrava, Brno, Pardubice or České Budějovice, but also many smaller towns like Třebič, Český Krumlov, or Mělník. What's more, my fascination made me learn the Czech language and I enjoy doing it by watching films, reading magazines or just browsing the internet. The Czech Republic and its culture is my passion and that's why living in Prague in the future is definitely on my "to do" list.

What can you find on this blog? The list of items is quite long and actually there are no limits to it. Roughly, it includes: important and/or interesting news about the Czech Republic, humorous reports, photos I took myself and nice pictures I found on the internet, beautiful videos, captivating music and what not. What's important, I’d like you to feel free to make use of the "submit" button too! I hope you'll enjoy browsing this blog and will be returning here in the future.

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If you happen to be in Poland right now, just get your arse in gear and run to the nearest Lidl! They have an excellent selection of cheap Czech beer in this week’s offer.

If you happen to be in Poland right now, just get your arse in gear and run to the nearest Lidl! They have an excellent selection of cheap Czech beer in this week’s offer.

Prague as seen from the International Space Station

Prague as seen from the International Space Station

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Every Public Transit Stop in Prague - this is the blog that I lacked in my life. Seriously.

Just have a look at this video from Prostějov showing people almost killed by a rock flying from factory demolition. Although, luckily, no one gets hurt, the cameraman seems to be surprisingly cool about it, doesn’t he?

Following a two years’ closure, the metro station Národní třída in the centre of Prague has been opened today. Although the station hasn’t changed much below the ground level, it looks completely different above. The renovation of Národní třída station is related to the construction of a building complex called Quadrio, which should be opened for business by the end of the year.

/ photos: iDnes.cz

"Gottland" sees a surreal Czechoslovakia

One thing worth remembering while reading Mariusz Szczygieł’s mordant “Gottland: Mostly True Stories From Half of Czechoslovakia” is that Franz Kafka was a Czech, and Szczygieł is not. He’s a Polish writer and journalist, looking with a kind of appalled fascination at his country’s southern neighbor and finding that life there can often be, well, Kafkaesque.

It turns out that the Czechs even have a word, kafkarna, that they use to describe “an absurdity that is impossible to explain rationally.” Because of the long periods of totalitarianism suffered by Czechoslovakia — a country born out of the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I and dissolved into the Czech and Slovak republics in 1993 — the concept also has a nightmarish application, and that becomes Szczygieł’s true subject.

Readers who lived through the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe may wonder why Szczygiel, who won the European Book Prize in 2009 after “Gottland” was translated into French, feels the need to revisit the totalitarian times. He supplies an answer in an 85-word vignette about a young Czech pop music fan who thinks that Charter ’77 is a rock band needing “better P.R.” to get its work into stores, and therefore “should put some effort into the task.”

Mariusz Szczygieł confesses that initially he “wasn’t certain if anyone in the West would be interested in what a Pole has to say about the Czechs,” since “a representative of one marginal nation writing about another marginal nation is unlikely to be a success.” He needn’t have worried. “Gottland” offers an indelible account of the ravages of 20th-century totalitarianism and the way it continues to pollute human thought and behavior in the 21st century.

"Gottland: Mostly True Stories From Half of Czechoslovakia" by Mariusz Szczygieł has just been published in the United States. Read more about the book here.