Visitors coming to Prague from Holland or Scandinavia may get the impression that Czechs don't like cycling. Seeing bikers in the streets of the Czech capital is not a rare thing nowadays, but compared to other European cities, there are still very few of them. Besides, you almost never come across bicycles parked in the streets. Yet, strange as it may seem, statistics say that every second inhabitant of Prague is a bicycle owner and Czechs claim that cycling is their favourite sport.
Back when I was in my early teens one of my favourite books was J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, which I must have read at least a dozen times. Along with more adventurous passages, one of my favourite chapters was "A Short Cut to Mushrooms" - in which the hobbits make their way across Farmer Maggot's fields and the greediness of hobbits' love of mushrooms is described. That description, I've always felt, would also fit well for mushroom lovers in the Czech Republic, including myself. Mushroom picking here has a long tradition and is something
Beauty pageants are by no means just a Czech phenomenon, but the do enjoy a popularity here unparalleled in most of Western Europe. There are scores of different Miss competitions, from the big nationals like Miss Ceske Republiky and Ceska Miss, right down to the more specific titles of Miss Deaf Czech Republic, Miss Roma Czech Republic, and Miss Orphan Czech Republic, to name but a few.
Over the last seventeen years Czechs have gotten increasingly used to fast food and now many accept everything from hamburgers to hot dogs to pizza as part of their regular diet, if not every day than certainly from time to time. Forgotten are the days when there were only one or two international franchises in town: there are increasingly more venues to choose, with ever more variety.
Gone are the days when the only thing you could get at a Czech flower shop were a few wilting carnations. Nowadays, you can find a florist at every corner, packed with Dutch tulips and flowers of every colour and shape. According to recent data of the Czech Association of Flower Growers, Czechs are spending an increasing amount of money on flowers.
Hundreds of scouts around the Czech Republic have been celebrating the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the scouting movement. One event involved 60 Czech scouts meeting 40 from Poland on the highest mountain in the Czech Republic, Snezka. There have also been scouts' gatherings on other Czech mountains, including Praded, Bezdez and Blanik.
The International scouting movement celebrated its 100th birthday on Wednesday, and Czechs, along with scouts from around 200 other countries, have been taking part in the festivities. There are now more than 45,000 scouts in the Czech Republic - a far cry from the 13 that attended the first Czech scout camp back in 1912. The rise in membership is impressive, but it's been a bumpy ride for the Czech scouting movement over its first hundred years. With a brief history of scouting in the Czech Republic, here's Rosie Johnston:
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