27-05-2006

Three D graffiti toys have started appearing on Prague buildings, Vyskov gets its own dinosaur park and - a 97 year old tour guide who's still going strong! Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

It does not pay much but it captures the imagination of every little boy. The vypravci - or train dispatchers who give the signal for the train to leave the station will soon disappear from train platforms and many people are sorry to see them go. The train dispatcher is a profession that goes back to the days of the steam engine and in many villages the dispatcher is a solitary, all-important figure who hands out tickets, information and smiles. In some families the profession was handed down from one generation to the next but now computerization has put an end to that. The vypravci will disappear from most Czech railway stations within a few months and only a few dozen small villages will retain their services for a while longer. By the way, train dispatchers are so popular in the Czech Republic that Christian Democratic Party leader Miroslav Kalousek dressed up as one recently within the election campaign to the June parliamentary elections.

 

Three dimensional graffiti toys have started appearing on Prague buildings and unlike the standard graffiti they have been well received by the city's inhabitants. People describe them as "cute", "interesting" and "innovative". In fact some people like them so much that they are stealing them to take home. Question is -is this the kind of response 3D graffiti artists are looking for?

 

If you are a collector of antiquities then check out the Antik Olomouc expo that is to take place from June 1- to June 6th. As usual it offers a choice of porcelain, jewellery, glass, paintings and furniture, but also a few truly bizarre objects. The most curious - and somewhat gruesome - piece is a Mongolian musical instrument used in monasteries that was allegedly made from the thigh bone of a young woman. This morbid relic can be yours for the price of 30.000crowns. Also on sale are: a silver ring dating back to the 2nd or third century and a six metre long Cajka limousine used by the former Soviet president Michail Gorbachev during his days in office. The biggest hit of the last season was a dinosaur egg - 70 million years old - from Mongolia. The interest in it was huge and it was sold for 50, 000 crowns. Aurelie Pokorna

 

Cesky Krumlov - an architectural jewel of south Bohemia which is on UNESCOs list of cultural monuments often gets painted and photographed. The Pesek family chose a more painstaking way of preserving its beauty - they created a perfect ceramic model of the town, hand-pained and accurate down to the smallest detail. It took the couple 10 years to make, but they consider the time well spent. The model is now on show at the local museum and gets almost as much admiration as the town itself.

 

The west Bohemian village of Bozkov has acquired a new mascot - an albino catfish named Alfons. The locals were cleaning out a stream behind the village pub and were amazed to see that a metre long white catfish had made a home for itself it little pool that had been created by water undermining the earth. The villagers immediate voted it should be the village mascot and named it Alfons. Then they set about digging a broader and deeper pool for it to live in and have agreed to keep feeding it to make sure it stays in the village. Albinos are supposed to bring good luck and Alfons is in little danger of being caught and fried for dinner. For one thing there's a saying that if you kill the village mascot you will die within the year - which few people would be willing to put to the test - and for another - anyone who harmed Alfons would have all the pub regulars to contend with.

 

May 22nd turned out to be a very blue Monday indeed for thousands of people in northern Bohemia. The region was hit by the biggest Internet fall out ever. The twenty four hour fall out paralyzed much of the region affecting banking services, sales, schools and public institutions. Thousands of people called in to complain that the fallout was costing them big money. The entire region was disrupted by thieves who was were out to steel copper wires and picked the wrong cable. After severing the Internet connection and finding that the cable was of no use to them they simply left it where they'd dug it up and walked away.

 

Rostejn Castle near Jihlava, which dates back to the 14th century, is the site of an Oriental weekend - complete with a bazaar, tea-house, fire-eaters, belly dancing, and A Thousand and One Night Oriental tales enacted for kids. So if you are going and visit the bazaar keep in mind that you need to haggle over the price of things. To accept the first offer made is considered an insult to the salesman.

 

Moravia has now got its very own dinosaur-park. It is located in Vyskov and offers visitors some thirty dinosaur models - some of them mobile, complete with sound effects. There are also 3D projections about dinosaurs and a "palaeontology" playground for kids where there can dig up dinosaur bones like real archaeologists. The park is close to a zoo and the two are linked by eco-trains so that visitors can pass easily from one to the other. You only need one ticket to visit both and it will cost you a mere 70 crowns - that's just 3 dollars.

 

Mrs. Aurelie Pokorna is the oldest tour guide in the Czech Republic. She's an incredible 97 years old and still organizing popular expeditions to Czech castles, ostrich and butterfly farms and even caves. She took up the job 30 years ago and is still going strong - her outings are always sold-out well in advance. After 30 years of being a tour guide Aurealie says she'll give it another 3 years and when she turns a hundred she'll retire and only go on tour as a tourist herself.

27-05-2006