In Magazine: fun-lovers attend a bread-rolling competition in Turnov, the Bata Museum in Zlín exhibits old shoemaking instruments and machines, a life-size statue of the Good Soldier Švejk is unveiled in Russia and Czech scientists conduct research into the déjà vu phenomenon.
The Šumava National Park is riding on a new wave of furry animal tourism. Tourists visiting this popular destination are buying up the cuddly toys sold at local information centers – all depicting animals that are at home in the Šumava mountains, such as bears, foxes and lynxes – and taking their picture at various locations in the nature reserve. When these pictures started flooding social networks, the national park’s PR department set up a special page for cuddly toys in Šumava and launched a competition for the best photos. It has also expanded the line of cuddly toys sold to 18 different species. The furry-animal tourism craze, originally started by Japanese tourists, is helping the nature reserve to attract more visitors and the proceeds from the sale of these toys is helping animal shelters in the region. The competition on Facebook runs until November 30th.
Sauna fans are looking forward to the opening of the sauna season on the Vltava – a cruise boat offers the unique experience of a sauna with a view of Hradčany Castle followed by a dive into the freezing cold waters of the Vltava. The riverboat sauna at Prague’s Rašínovo embankment was a big success last year and its owners are providing better services this year including a small pool and showers for those not willing to brave the river.
Close to 200 people took part last weekend’s downhill bread-rolling competition near Turnov. The outdoor competition on a ski-slope was one of the fun events leading up to the winter skiing season. Kids and a number of grown-ups competed in rolling huge, round loafs of bread downhill. The event was organized by the local bakery which donated loafs that were left unsold and were later donated to the local horse-riding club for fodder. Among the enthusiastic competitors was three-times Olympic champion in the high jump Antonín Baba, who handed out a lot of autographs, but in this case failed to win a medal.
The town of Pelhřimov is known as the Czech town of Records and Curiosities. Home to the Czech Records and Curiosities Club the town is happy to flaunt its reputation as being out-of-the-ordinary. On arrival, drivers approaching a ring road on the outskirts of town are treated to the sight of a giant 4-meter tall chair. Further on they will come across an 8-metre tall road sign, the smallest equestrian statue in the world, placed on the building of the local town hall, a 7-meter tall safety pin and a giant pot that would hold 2,300 liters. Having piqued visitors’ curiosity the town offers a great many other exhibits in its Muzeum of Records and Curiosities.
The Bata Museum in Zlín is exhibiting old shoemaking instruments and machines on the occasion of St. Kryšpín’s day – the patron saint of shoemakers. Some of the instruments were used in the original Bata shoe works others have been donated by private owners. The exhibition includes a display of impressive hand-made made shoes with intricate embroidery and the museum has asked a couple of shoemakers to come in and show their craft to the public.
Scientists at Brno’s Masaryk University are conducting research into the déjà vu phenomenon –a feeling that most people have experienced at some point in their lives. The research is based on previous studies by Czech psychologists which suggest that this feeling is linked to a part of the brain known as hippocampus – the development of which may be impacted by trauma or deprivation at an early age. There are reportedly distinct differences in this part of the brain in people who experience the feeling of déjà vu and those who don’t. The team is now working with several hundred volunteers who have been asked to fill in questionnaires which should help take the research further. But it has a shortage of volunteers who have never experienced déjà vu, since only about five percent of the adult population fit that description. Volunteers who are willing to help out can enlist to do so on the university’s web page.
A life-size statue of the Good Soldier Švejk was unveiled in Russia’s Samara this week marking the 130th anniversary of Jaroslav Hašek’s birth. The statue is of Švejk sitting on a barrel of gunpowder smoking a pipe. The author of the Czech Republic’s most famous literary hero is well-known in Samara where he spent several months in 1918 after deserting the Czechoslovak legions and joining the Red Army where he helped to form the army’s Czechoslovak divisions. The local town hall takes pride in this connection and is convinced that Švejk was born during Hašek’s time in Samara. This is highly unlikely in view of the fact that several Švejk stories were published before then. Nevertheless the Good Soldier Švejk is extremely popular in Russia – with Švejk statues and pubs in many cities.
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