A visit to Týn nad Vltavou offers much of what you would expect of a small South Bohemian town. The winding streets are full of locals in the morning, each one greeting the other, the buildings, mostly farmsteads, have a kind of rural hominess that whips up the nostalgia in you even if you’ve never been there before, the woods are full of aged artefacts - bridges and crosses in the middle of nowhere, say – and in the absence of any bustle you get the feeling that the church bell rings almost constantly.
Now, ever gone on holiday and been forced to leave your teddy bear at home? Well, fear not, a Czech tour operator is launching what looks like a world first for tourism – holidays for cuddly toys. Starting from 90 euros you can send your teddy bear or other furry friend on a luxury trip to Prague or other Central European cities – you’ll even receive a photo album with his holiday snaps. Earlier we spoke to the man behind the idea, Tomio Okamura.
The Soviet-era Trabant – a tiny plastic car built in former East Germany that was left “by the roadside” following the collapse of the Berlin Wall, may have been consigned to the dustbin of history, but it still has a special place in many Czechs’ hearts. Among fans is a group of travellers, including a journalist and filmmaker, who have made the tiny vehicle central to their adventures. In late 2009 they conquered Africa in a Trabant - travelling all the way from Tunisia to Cape Town.
Prague’s famous 15th century astronomical clock, known as Orloj in Czech, is one of the oldest and most elaborate clocks ever built and one of the city’s best known attractions. Few tourists leave Prague without seeing it. However the crowd that assembled to hear it chime last Sunday was in for a shock. Due to a technical error the procession of apostles that appears in the windows above the clock failed to make its usual exit – instead it was spinning like a crazy merry-go-round.
Every year the start of Advent in late November sees the opening of traditional Christmas markets in the Czech capital, among the most popular the market on the city’s historic Old Town Square. Surrounded by famous medieval architecture, red-roofed stands, decorated with sprigs of evergreen, sell everything from hand-painted baubles to traditional nativity scenes. Open for more than a month, the market features daily programmes such as children’s workshops and concerts in the run-up to Christmas. It also offers a variety of refreshments - a draw
What are you doing to fight climate change? That’s what Australian environmentalist and social worker Kim Nguyen wants ordinary people to ask themselves. For his part, he’s bicycling from Brisbane, Australia to Copenhagen, Denmark. 15 months into his journey, Kim arrived in Prague for a lap around Wenceslas Square and some meetings with the press to promote the idea that if he can cycle half-way round the world, certainly others can cycle to work.
The border point of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria is the confluence of two great rivers, the Dyje, from the west, and the Morava, from which the region of Moravia takes its name. Along the rivers is a natural reserve of marsh forest and a bastion of Moravian culture called Podluží, or “under the marshland”.