Hrabal’s book "I served the King of England" makes working in a restaurant sound very dramatic, and very glamorous. But the novel also suggests that such drama and glamour belong to a time now long gone. To find out whether this was true, I visited two of Prague’s most famous restaurants, to talk to their owners about their work from day-to-day.
Prague City Hall is to establish a new police unit to tackle the problem of homelessness in the capital. On Tuesday, deputy mayor Jiří Janeček made the announcement, adding that the police unit’s goal would be to make Prague’s homeless either leave the capital or ‘reintegrate into society’. He said that Prague City Hall would find employment for each homeless person ‘displaying an interest in work’. But the plan has been criticised by some social workers, who say that it fails to tackle the problem, which, they say, has deeper roots than unemployment. According to last year’s census, there are around 2000 homeless people in Prague. Around half of them sleep rough, while another half are accommodated in shelters run by charities.
The government has signed the legal documents required for Prague’s 2016 Olympic bid, it was announced on Wednesday. The signed documents state that the government respects the Olympic charter, and that it would grant free entry and movement to the games’ accredited participants. They will be enclosed in the application which will be taken to the Olympic Committee’s Headquarters in Lausanne on Sunday. Czechs are divided over whether Prague should attempt to host an Olympic games or not. Many think that an Olympics would attract money to the Czech capital at the expense of the regions. They fear that in signing such legally-binding documents, the government has also bound itself financially to the scheme.
In Sports News: confusion surrounds “victory” for Lukáš Bauer in two Tour de Ski races, with the Czech cross country skier ordered to return prize money after it emerges that while he may have crossed the line first he was not the winner; Germany’s coach brands a skiing sprint event at Prague Castle a “joke”; the downhill World Cup is coming to Špindlerův Mlýn but a bizarre accident could rule Šárka Záhrobská out; ski-jumper Roman Koudelka comes fourth in Four Hills event in Germany; and young Czech football star Martin Fenin joins Eintracht
Thousands of people gathered in the centre of Prague to celebrate New Year’s Eve. An estimated 10,000 attended a four-hour concert on Prague’s Wenceslas Square, broadcast live on TV Nova; others watched a musical show on nearby Old Town Square. The authorities reported on Tuesday morning that most of the streets in the city centre had been cleaned following the night’s celebrations.
Every year, thousands of tourists come to Prague in order to visit the city’s Christmas markets. The numerous markets offer visitors a chance to shop for traditional Czech crafts, while sipping on a cup or two of mulled wine or mead. But do they live up to their promise? Earlier today, I interrupted a couple of British tourists on Old Town Square to ask them precisely that. Here they are introducing themselves:
Christmas is everywhere in Prague at the moment, from the sparkling lights in the city’s trees to the festive markets selling mulled wine and mistletoe. But one outpost of festive activity that you might miss if you didn’t look out for it is the exhibition of nativity scenes currently running up at Prague Castle.
Fast food stalls selling grilled sausages and other foods are set to disappear from Prague’s Wenceslas Square in the next few years, Lidove noviny reported. The city’s authorities have decided to remove the stalls because they attract homeless people who root in nearby bins for discarded food. Two stands at the very bottom of the square will be first to disappear, in the middle of next year; they should all be gone by 2010, by which time the whole of Wenceslas Square should have been remodelled.
For most people in Prague and the Czech Republic, last Sunday was the Second Advent Sunday marking the middle of the four-week period before Christmas. In their homes people light the second candle on the advent wreath in anticipation of the coming holiday. But this past Sunday, another lighting ceremony took place in Prague as well.
Jana Ciglerová: Americans say their lives are fantastic, Czechs say everything is terrible – neither is true
Study: Demand for new flats in Prague set to keep outstripping supply
“There is good, better and then there is the USSR.” – New book depicts life in communist Czechoslovakia through memories of people who experienced it
CzechTourism head hints attracting tourists no longer agency’s main goal
“The only solution is political” – Organisers of major anti-government protests in Czechia announce plans for the future