The town of Lostice has its own "monarch" who feeds on smelly cheese, a school full of bats attracts zoologists from around Europe and Harry Potter summer camps are this year's hit among Czech school kids. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
The town of Lostice - which produces the popular smelly cheese rolls called Olomoucke tvaruzky - re-elected its town "monarch" at an annual ceremony last weekend. Cheese-roll I, as he is known, has been elected by popular vote for five times in succession now. Cheese-roll has no army but his might lies in his bad breath which the locals claim would kill enemies from a distance. He keeps it potent with daily helpings of the mentioned cheese rolls. No prizes for guessing what is served to all and sundry on the occasion of his coronation - smelly cheese rolls and beer. The local authorities and Cheese-roll govern together and the local mayor Ctirad Lolek has a portrait of Cheese-roll I in his office. The monarch is present on all important occasions - such as welcoming President Vaclav Klaus to the town of Lostice when he paid a visit some time ago. It is not clear what the president thought of the monarch's bad breath - but he himself declined the offer of a couple of cheese rolls "to keep the doctor away".
Hundreds of people who were looking forward to the first ever dragon boats race in the town of Pardubice last weekend were disappointed. Someone distroyed four of the six dragon boats on the eve of the race, dousing them with petrol and setting them alight. The boats - each twelve and a half metres long - had been imported from China for the event and proved impossible to replace at short notice. What is worse, a European dragon boat championship is scheduled to take place in Prague in a matter of weeks and the organizers are now doing their best to try and get dragon boats on loan from neighbouring countries so as not to have to cancel the event.
An Austrian hotelier has sawn off part of his roof because it was found to be hanging over the border into the Czech Republic. Dietmar Hehenberger was ordered by a court to trim 12 inches from the roof of his luxury hotel in Gugelwald when it emerged that a new wing added to the hotel had in fact invaded Czech territory. Mr. Hehenberger blames the Austrian authorities for allegedly using imprecise maps when they approved his new hotel wing, however his arguments did not stand up in court. Both the Czech and Austrian authorities ordered the hotel owner to remove the overhanging part and he finally agreed to do so after failing with a court appeal. Hopefully the publicity surrounding this bizarre case will bring the hotelier more guests and maker up for the trouble and expenses incurred.
Half of all Czech children spend at least part of their summer holidays at summer camps. While in the past one summer camp was much like another - swimming, hiking, and various sports - in recent years there has been a tendency to organize themed-camps - astronomy, horse riding, fishing, canoeing, and so on -enabling children to pick exactly what they want. This year the most popular summer camps revolve around Harry Potter, history and military themes. The price of camps has risen several-fold - many now cost the equivalent of a holiday at some exotic location but the camp organizers say they are always fully booked well in advance. And often kids make no secret of the fact that they prefer time spent at a summer camp to time spent with their parents holidaying abroad. Martin Belohlavek, who has organized summer camps for years, says the secret is in keeping kids from getting bored - something that parents are not always able to do....no matter how much money they are prepared to spend.
The military academy in Brno has just unveiled its latest invention- a model aircraft equipped with monitoring technology which is designed to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes - monitoring large areas during floods, traffic, forest fires or searching for missing persons in difficult terrain. The plane was constructed with the help of an EU grant and the Brno-based academy is hoping that other regions will be interested in acquiring it as well.
Temperatures are in the thirties but in one part of the country there is still snow on the ground. It is high up in the Krkonose mountains in a protected area that is off limits to tourists. Still hundreds of them flock to see it through binoculars from afar. Because the patch of snow that usually makes it from one winter to the next is special - in the spring its shape resembles that of the former Czechoslovakia, by early summer - the eastern part - Slovakia has disappeared leaving a map of the Czech Republic and in the autumn all that is left is Prague. Well, let's hope it does not reflect out history as closely as some people like to believe.
The Myotis Myotis - or Big Bat as it is popularly known in Czech -is an endangered species whose numbers are dwindling across Europe - but in one Czech school there are plenty of them around. The school in Jilov near Decin is now home to some 600 bats and their numbers grow every year. The headmistress says the bats simply appeared in the loft one season and because no one made a move to chase them out they stayed and more appeared with every passing year. The loft is huge and obviously the conditions are just right although the school does little more than tolerate them and see that they are not disturbed during the breeding season. Zoologists from all over Europe have come to see the sight and the school is happy to be doing something for an endangered species. The only real problem that the bats present is the amount of bat droppings that the cleaners have to sweep up every week. However, the gardener soon discover that bat droppings are an excellent fertilizer - and the school plants now look better than ever. So in a way the bats are paying for their lodging...