Sigmund Freud has been called upon to make a certain Moravian town lots of money - after all it is his birthplace! Not happy with Viagra ? Head for Velke Karlovice in eastern Moravia, which boasts a forest spring as potent as the little blue pill. And, why have some Czechs switched to using hippo-metres? Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
The town of Pribor in north Moravia plans to make a lot of money from its rather tenuous link to Sigmund Freud. The famous psychoanalyst was born in Pribor in 1856 and although he only spent the first three years of his life there, before his parents moved to Vienna, the town hall has planned a huge campaign aimed at making Pribor Freud's town. The main square has been named after Sigmund Freud, the local shops sell mugs with his portrait and the local sweetshop sells Freud cigars made of march pane. The town hall has plans to buy the house where Sigmund Freud was born and turn it into a museum. Right next to it the local authorities plan to build a Sigmund Freud conference centre. It is expected to cost 80 million crowns and should be ready to open in 2006 on the 150th anniversary of Freud's birth. The town is also preparing a Freud Beer Fest and a Pink Freud rock festival.
Well, not every town is lucky enough to have a famous son but if you work on it you can always find something that will attract visitors. The town of Velke Karlovice in eastern Moravia has a very special attraction -it boasts a forest spring that is reputed to be as potent as Viagra. The spring surfaces from the roots of an ancient tree and legend has it that a local nobleman who could not beget a son for years had a vision in which a forest nymph advised him to drink nothing but water from the crystal clear forest spring. The nobleman had three sons in quick succession and a legend was born. However it was not until the twenty first century that someone decided the legend could make good money. It was dug up, dusted off and spread around and the number of visitors to the region doubled and then tripled. The local hotel has bookings from single men and couples from across the Czech Republic and one visitor actually asked to have several litres of the magic water sent to him every week. One of the locals - a 77 year old man -acts as a walking advertisement telling one and all that thanks to the magic water he is as vigorous as any twenty year old and has never needed the services of a doctor. Visitors may pay heed -but the locals know better. They too drink the magic water - but not before they have turned it into slivovitze -the local plum brandy. And many men in the village swear that when it has been turned into fire water its effects are even more powerful.
A man from Prague has just discovered that smoking is truly a health hazard -in more ways than one. He woke up in the middle of the night and decided that a cigarette on the balcony was an excellent idea. He´d barely lit up when a huge part of the balcony collapsed under him. The man escaped with only light injuries but it will be some time before he or any of his neighbours head out for a night smoke. The authorities are now investigating the state of all blocks of flats built in the seventies.
You could smell delicious coffee for miles away. Hotel Olympic in Prague has just hosted a two day coffee festival. Coffee Fest presented the best coffee brands from around the world, there were seminars and workshops attended by coffee experts from around the world and a national competition in coffee making in which contestants had to make an espresso, a cappuccino and a coffee drink of their own choosing. The winner will get to compete at the world coffee championship in Italy.
Believe it or not, drugs, cigarettes and alcohol are not the only things that people try to smuggle across the border. Czech customs officers recently reported a most unusual haul: 4,000 pained wooden eggs worth 60 thousand crowns -just over 2,000 dollars - being smuggled into the country on a bus from Ukraine. The eggs were uncovered during a routine check at the Chotebuz border crossing with Poland. A customs officer checking passengers' luggage could not believe his eyes when he opened one bag after another of wooden Easter eggs. They were hand painted and varnished - an attractive decoration for any Easter table. But they are unlikely to get there. The eggs were confiscated for a more detailed inspection - what if they happen to be little matrojskas /wooden Russian dolls/ hiding completely different goods.
Do you watch your waistline like a hawk and enforce a rigorous diet when the tape measure shows that yesterdays pudding landed exactly where you least wanted it? Well, some people are proud of every centimetre -or I should say every hippometre. Members of the local XXXL Club have decided that the scale for normal people is a bit daunting when the tape measure is too short to reach all the way around their waist -so they have established a scale of their own - using so called hippometres. In hippometers your waist is much slimmer -although at the annual XXXL get together members tend to push out their stomachs instead of sucking them in when a member of the jury takes their measurements for the fatties contest. For five years now twenty three year old Jakub Filek has gone unchallenged as king of the fatties. His waist measures 181 centimetres - before supper. However doctors are not happy about the fact that Czechs are carrying around more fat than is healthy. This is ascribed to a sedentary lifestyle and a bad diet -a traditionally heavy cuisine combined with junk food. According to statistics a full 22 percent of Czech men and 25 percent of Czech women are obese. 48 percent of men and 30 percent of women are overweight. If we don´t take care we could all be using hippometres soon.
An exhibition of army vehicles and technology dating back to 1945 is due to open on May 15th in Orechov, south east Moravia. The permanent exhibition - Army Park - includes T-34 tanks, Tatra 111s and the old Russian ZIL military trucks. The exhibits map the past and present of the Czech military. The vast majority of exhibits are functional and can be viewed in action, so if you fancy a ride in an armoured vehicle head for Orechov between May and October. The exhibition is open on week days as well but on weekends the organizers plan special competitions and events. Army Park will be closed during the winter months.
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