Under communism, when travelling was far from easy, many Czechs' main form of escape was spending time at their country cottages. In the 1990s it remained an extremely common part of life in the Czech Republic, with many families continuing to load up their cars and head to their chata every weekend. But now, it seems, this is changing.
The number of Czechs spending weekends at their country cottages has fallen significantly, suggests a survey quoted in Lidove noviny. The poll found that while in 2001 19 percent spent weekends at their "chalupa", in 2007 the figure has fallen to less than 8 percent. A sociologist told the daily the reason for the drop was that young people today have less free time and either work or stay at home at weekends.
On hearing cicadas, most Czechs recall Croatia. Last summer, around 1 000 000 Czechs travelled there to enjoy summer vacation. In other words, one tenth of all citizens of the Czech Republic including newborns and the elderly crossed the Croatian border during the high tourist season. I asked Goran, who has worked in tourism here on Rab Island in Croatia for 15 years, which nationality of tourists he considers the most numerous, in Goran's words the most "populated".
The 42nd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival came to a close on Saturday night with a glitzy ceremony at the town's Thermal hotel. The festival's prize the Crystal Globe was presented to a number of directors and actors - and to US star Danny DeVito, who got an award for outstanding contribution to world cinema.
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is in full swing in the west Bohemian town. By the time it ends on Saturday evening, thousands of mostly young viewers will have seen over 250 films. They will also have had the rare chance to see or even meet some of the makers of those pictures, with many actors and directors attending the screenings of their films, in some cases holding discussions with the audience.
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is one of the biggest cultural and social events in the Czech Republic. The 42nd Karlovy Vary got underway in the pretty spa town on Friday evening, with the Oscar-winning Hollywood star Renee Zellweger perhaps the biggest name ascending the red carpet at the Thermal hotel for the official opening. Ian Willoughby was at the glitzy ceremony. Radio Prague's Rosie Johnston spoke to him over the phone and begun by asking about the gala opening ceremony.
A unique find has been unearthed in the Orthodox Church of St. Peter and Paul in Karlovy Vary, a little Scops owl strays to the Czech Republic and Czechs gather to see a rare sight - a perfect replica of a historic train built in 1891 for the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef I and his wife Elisabeth. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
It's just two and a half weeks now until the 42nd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, one of the biggest events on the Czech cultural calendar. This year's most famous guest will be Rene Zellweger, star of Bridget Jones's Diary, though organisers also revealed a number of other interesting names at the last news conference before the glamorous festival begins. Programme director Julietta Zacharova outlined some of the likely highlights of this year's KVIFF.
This week, the Agriculture Ministry, Food Chamber, and food quality control bodies are holding various seminars and conferences for the general public. What have been titled "Food Safety Days" will run until Sunday and their main aim is to educate consumers about the country's food quality monitoring system and about their rights.
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