It's been absolutely freezing here in the Czech Republic for the last week or so, and the weather forecasters say we can expect the sub zero temperatures to last for another month. While just waiting for the tram for ten minutes makes most of us shiver, spare a thought for the poor souls who have to work outside all day in such weather. On Wednesday morning I braved the elements to see what life is like these days for stall-holders on Prague's Charles Bridge.
Analysts say foreign currency revenues from tourism fell by over 10 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2002, mainly due to the strong crown. They said the strong crown was responsible for 95 percent of the fall, while the floods in August could be responsible for a 7 - 8 percent fall in the number of hotel bookings by the end of the year.
Prague authorities have announced the city is safe and as beautiful as ever in order to reassure foreign visitors who might be apprehensive because of the recent flood. According to the city's mayor Igor Nemec foreign media are still presenting what he termed "an apocalyptic image of Prague". The city is suffering major losses in tourism revenues as visitors are cancelling their stays. The city-hall has said the renewal of the flooded areas is progressing fast. On Wednesday Prague's 14th-century Charles Bridge reopened to the public and as of Thursday, boats will be cruising again on the river in the centre of Prague.
An international cycling relay called Bike+10 which is meant to promote cycling as an alternative to car traffic started in the Moravian city of Brno ten days ago. The relay passed through the towns of Olomouc, Hradec Kralove and Pardubice and on Saturday, a group of cyclists arrived in Prague. The organisers held meetings in the city explaining to the public that cycling can be a healthier and environmentally friendly alternative to cars. Pavla Horakova went to one of the meetings on Sunday and spoke there to Petr Kurfurst of the civic association
On May 1st, a Czech couple will hit the road and start a three-year journey around the world - on their bikes. Michal Jon and Lucie Kovarikova plan to cover all seven continents, taking in 33 countries and peddling 70,000 kilometres. In this week's Talking Point Pavla Horakova talks to Michal about the conditions for cycling in the Czech Republic and to a few other people who are trying to improve them.
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