Just a fleeting glance on the map of Europe tells you that Czechs can just dream about their own sea. Our landscape is hilly, without any lakes and seas. You can find here mostly springs of rivers that only in neighboring countries flow into great rivers and then into seas. A human being always wants what he can’t have.
That also might be the reason why Czechs on a mass scale love to spend their holiday at the seaside. In the past we visited Bulgaria a lot, nowadays our holiday paradise is Croatia. Romantic rocky coast, clear salty water, warm comfortable weather. “Why don’t we have sea at home too?” occurs to many Czech people when they wash down the last salt crystals and pack their luggage for going back to the inland. Sometimes you can also hear this complaint: “Why the forefather Czech didn’t go a little bit further?”
The forefather Čech in the Czech legends is described almost like Moses in the Bible. In the old chronicles he is a man who leaves his country (Charvatsko) to find a promised land. Čech left his land perhaps because he was afraid of retribution for the murder. His land was maybe on the Balkan Peninsula or maybe at the river Vistula. The promised land should be the place at the river Elbe. As the tribe arrived there, he decided to stay, because it was a land full of game and birds and honey and milk. Forefather Čech asked them for the name of the new homeland and they answered: “Let’s name it after you, Čechy!”
The younger chroniclers add some more details to this story – the forefather Čech had a brother Lech, who continued to the North and founded Poland. The speech about the beauties of the land was delivered on the hill Říp. They also offer some explanations why Czech land is also called Bohemia. One of the possibilities might be derived from the Czech word Bůh (God), because the forefather saw his land as a land promised by God. The other possibility might be the Celtic tribe Bojové that inhabited the land before Christ. Who knows?
Coming back to the unfilled desire of the Czech for the sea: Czech people blame the forefather Čech that he didn’t continue and they – as his descendants – have to go a long way for holidays on the seaside.
However, my personal opinion is, he made a good choice. Because who knows, maybe he would have ended up at the Arctic Ocean. 😉