In this week's edition of Mailbox: Prague's man-made "beaches" along the banks of the Vltava River, what cars Czechs like. Listeners quoted: Henry Longman and Hideo Suzuki

Vltava RiverVltava River Henry Longman, who visited Prague recently but doesn't state where he's from, sent us an e-mail in which he says:

"While in Prague, I saw an article in one of your local papers, carrying photographs of people sunbathing alongside your river. The weather was warm but I did not see anyone swimming in the Vltava. Is that what the residents of Prague do in the summer? You are very fortunate if your water is clean enough for that."

I'm afraid the water is not clean enough and luckily there are only a few people who are brave enough to swim in it. But it is true that we will soon see people basking in the sun on a sandy "beach" alongside the river. The article you saw was about Prague opening up its first ever man-made beaches. One such place is going to be on Strelecky Island close to Charles Bridge and will be open in the next few days - in mid-July - every day between 10am and 8pm. After that, visitors can watch a movie at the open-air cinema that's also on the island. Admission to the beach, but not the movie, will be free and people will be able to rent deck chairs and parasols and play all kinds of out-door games including volley ball, and badminton. For children, there'll be a little pool and a play corner.

The other "beach", if it gets the green light from the district council, will open on August 1 in Prague's Smichov district. Here too, visitors will be able to play volley ball and tennis as well as enjoy concerts on Fridays and Saturdays. Most importantly, there'll be showers. In fact, the water of the Vltava River is so dirty and contains harmful bacteria that hygienists strongly warn it can cause diarrhoea, skin disease and can even give you jaundice!

Hideo Suzuki from Japan would like to know:

"What kind of cars do Czech people like?"

Well, I don't think I can tell you what cars Czechs like. The cars they would like to drive are probably not those we see on the streets, meaning those they can afford. Unfortunately, most Czechs buy cars on what they call a "leasing" payment plan here in the Czech Republic, where they pay for the car in monthly rates, which takes them several years. But Czechs are still true to their Skodas because they are reliable and affordable. Then we see lots of VWs like the Volkswagen Golf and Pollo, as well as Opels and Audis.

And before we get to the competition question - some of you may have noticed that I've started producing Insight Central Europe. For this reason, I have not had as much time as I would have liked to have to respond to your mail. Pavla Horakova will therefore be answering your questions and presenting the programme from now on. I've had a great time being in contact with all of you. So, thanks for your letters and e-mails and please do keep them coming!

And finally the question for the month of July: "What is the name of the Bohuslav Martinu opera about a girl from a town where no-one can remember their past?"

Please get your answers to us by July 31st. Send them as usual to the Radio Prague English Section, 120 99 Prague 2, the Czech Republic or by e-mail to english@radio.cz.


Choose Karel Gott´s greatest hit (More)