This summer, Rob Cameron and his former Radio Prague colleague Nick Carey – now of Chicago, Illinois - spent nineteen days travelling across the Czech Republic by train. The trains were very, very slow, giving them enough time to see a huge number of places on the way. They set foot in more than 80 towns and villages, crossed the border into Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Austria, and trundled over more than 2,000 km of track. They’re currently writing a book about their experiences. This is an audio diary of that trip - From As To Zlin…and back
Spotlight this week comes from the town of Pardubice, which lies about an hour away from Prague in east Bohemia. The pretty Renaissance buildings on the main square Pernstynovo namesti and the impressive chateau nearby give an indication of Pardubice’s long and rich history, which saw it evolve from a prosperous hamlet in the Middle Ages to an industrial powerhouse by the start of the 20th century.
The Lucerna Palace, long considered a beacon of Czech national pride has been celebrating its centenary this year without too much of the fanfare usually reserved for such occasions.Situated off Wenceslas Square in the very heart of Prague, and established by civil engineer, designer and builder Vasclav M. Havel in 1907, it was the first multi-purpose arcade of its kind ever to be built in this country.
Being turned to stone is the stuff of fairy tales and legends. But there is one place in the Czech Republic where you can witness this in reality - and that is the town of Karlovy Vary in West Bohemia. People have gone there for centuries to drink the town's curative mineral waters but few of them are aware that these mineral springs possess another magical power - in just a week's time they can turn a human being or object "to stone".
Surrounded by railway sidings and industrial estates, it's easy to get the impression that Kolin is simply a town travellers pass through on the way from the Czech capital to the nearby tourist-friendly Kutna Hora. Nevertheless, anyone who gets off the train in Kolin and takes the trouble to walk the short distance past the factories and business parks to the city centre will find that it is a place worth visiting.
If you want to see something else than just another historical sight crowded with tourists, visit the north Bohemian town of Ceska Lipa about two hours drive from Prague to get a more genuine taste of the Czech Republic. Ceska Lipa suffered a similar fate as many other towns in the border region and reflects very well the turbulent post-war development of the country. For those who prefer nature to history, there is also plenty to see.
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to interview extreme mountain biker Jan Kopka for Radio Prague's Czechs Today [25.04.2007], only weeks after the rider had won the world's toughest race: the Iditarod Trail Invitational. Iditarod sees riders take on 1,800 kilometres in the dead of winter in the Alaskan outback, an incredible feat in which one's life is constantly in the balance. Now, Jan has returned to his home in Jablonec Nad Nisou in picturesque northern Bohemia, and a chance to join him on local trails was too good to pass up. Jan was
All this week, Radio Prague has been running a series of interviews with its 'tourist of the day'. Yesterday, Rosie Johnston spoke to some Danish visitors from Copenhagen, who'd stopped in Prague on a drive through Europe. Today, she caught up with a Romanian couple strolling through the Old Town Square.