Magazine

19-02-2005

An invention of the twenty-first century: the three minute date. No time to feel nervous and more than enough time if you don't fancy each other! A wild boar stops the Eurocity train. And, a secret adrenalin skiing race takes place in the Krkonose Mountains every spring. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

This week brought the heaviest snowfall this winter. 48 hours of non-stop snow brought traffic to a standstill along many Czech roads and pile ups along highways. Mountain villages were cut off and Prague's Ruzyne Airport was closed for an entire day on Wednesday. Many people living in the country failed to get to work that day and even in Prague public transport was affected. However for once there were piles of clean white snow in the city centre -instead of the usual slush - and many people clearly enjoyed the sight.

 

The heavy snowfall has given Czech kids a great half term holiday. Three 12 year old boys from Prague decided to find out what it would be like to live like Eskimos. They built a couple of igloos just outside their house and spent the night in them in sleeping bags armed with blankets, sweaters and hot tea. In the morning they crawled out beaming, to indulgent smiles and TV cameras, but instead of going fishing like proper Eskimos-they headed back home for a hot breakfast and lots of boasting to their friends about what it had been like.

 

Petra Nemcova with her mother, photo: CTKPetra Nemcova with her mother, photo: CTK Czech model Petra Nemcova, who was seriously injured in the Asian tsunami disaster, posed for photographers this week, back on her feet but still using a pair of crutches for support. The model broke her pelvis and suffered internal injuries while clinging to a palm tree for eight hours to save her life. Her boyfriend, British photographer Simon Atlee is still missing, presumed dead. Petra says the tragedy changed her entire outlook on life and she may never return to modelling. "Beauty, fame and money are no longer priorities," the 25 year old model told newsmen "health, love and peace in your soul are much more important". She wants to return to Asia to help people as soon as her health allows, explaining that this more than anything else would give her the strength to go on.

 

Was your last blind date a total disaster that left you counting the minutes before you could make a polite escape? Some dateline agencies in the Czech Republic have a new hit: dates that last just three minutes. In a roomful of people couples sit opposite each other and converse for three minutes before changing places and getting acquainted with someone else. Those who have tried the crash-dating technique say it is not only great fun but that three minutes is enough to know whether you want to meet a person again or not. And it saves you the embarrassment of telling people you are not interested. At the end of each mini-date you mark on your list whether or not you'd like another meeting with the given person. If the feeling is mutual the agency will arrange a second date, if not you move on to meet others. It's a dating game that has the older generation shaking its head but it is certainly catching on in this country. Let's just hope the marriages last longer!

 

Getting married and no idea what to wear? Hundreds of Czechs headed for the Wedding Fair at Prague's Hotel Diplomat this week. Seventy firms presented their services under one roof, enabling brides and grooms-to-be to pick their dresses, wedding menu, photographer and even honeymoon destination in the course of a single afternoon. And judging by the composition of visitors streaming in an out - some were there just to dream...This is the fifth Wedding Fair in Prague and it is not likely to be the last.

 

Photo: Jerzystrzelecki, Creative Commons 3.0Photo: Jerzystrzelecki, Creative Commons 3.0 A wild boar collided with a Eurocity train near Breclav last week and brought it to a standstill for over an hour. The boar damaged the locomotive so badly it had to be replaced by a new one before the train could continue its journey from Berlin to Budapest. The boar paid the ultimate price, no human injuries were reported.

 

Photo: Mehmet Karatay, Creative Commons 3.0Photo: Mehmet Karatay, Creative Commons 3.0 Libuse Jahodova from Liberec has a lot of mouths to feed in the winter months. Not the customers who come to her bakery, but the herd of reindeer who come out of the forest to a nearby clearing knowing that she'll be there with bread, rolls, apples and hay. Mrs. Jahodova - whose name means Mrs. Strawberry in Czech - meets them there three times a day, lugging heavy bags of food, because she's the only one the deer will approach, many of them feeding straight out of her hand. When the snow melts the deer disappear again until the next winter, when snow makes it hard for them to find food. The local gamekeeper says he's never seen anything like it. Lots of visitors are used to feeding tame deer in parks but I've never seen wild animals behave like this, he says. Clearly, some instinct tells them Mrs. Strawberry is a kind soul.

 

The Prague and Pilsen Zoos have assisted France with a project aimed at re-introducing wolves back into the environment. A pack of ten wolves from these two Czech zoos were released into the Mercanteur National Park in Saint Martin Vesubie in January. The park is to be officially opened to the public in April. "We needed wolves for our breeding programme and the Czech offer was the best we got," said Genevieve Carbonne, the park's chief zoologist. The wolves were donated for free within the European Breeding Coordination Programme.

 

A secret adrenalin skiing race takes place in the Krkonose Mountains every year and the management of the Krkonose National Park is unable to do anything about it. People take a big risk, and although we know this race takes place on the Studnicni hora slopes every spring we never know the precise date, a spokesman for the national park said. The race has a long tradition. It first took place in 1928 and gradually attracted the best and most reckless Czech and German skiers. It was abolished in the 1960s and was revived in the years after the fall of communism. Nowadays several dozen adrenalin skiers take part. "On some parts of the track the slopes are so steep it is practically a free fall. You are hurling down and you can't see anything ahead" a 26 year old adrenalin skier told the internet server IDNES, asking to remain in anonymity. "It is not a total hazard with you life," he explained. "Most free riders have helmets and spine-protectors. And some of us carry air pipes and bleepers in case we are trapped in an avalanche. We know what the risk is - and the experience is worth it. The ride down is pure ecstasy!"

19-02-2005