In Magazine: Prague joins international No Pants Subway Ride, record number of Czechs take part in annual Polar Bear dip, a retired miner turns mountaineer, an edible wedding dress makes the Czech Book of Records and a man develops a passion for embroidery.
Around two dozen young Czechs joined in the international No Pants Subway Ride on January 10. The fifteenth annual No Pants Subway Ride took place in 38 cities around the world with thousands of young people joining in and sharing the experience on social networks. In Prague its fans traditionally meet up at the top end of Wenceslas Square, take off their pants and ride all three lines of the Prague metro before getting off at IP Pavlova and heading for a pub. Participation peaked in 2014 with some 200 young Czechs taking part.
The tradition of winter swimming is strong in the Czech Republic with a record number of people -339 -taking part in the 69th Alfréd Nikodém Memorial event, an annual swim in the Vltava River. The Polar bear dip, which takes place near the National Theatre, was established in 1923 by Prague hardy-man Alfréd Nikodém who propagated winter swimming as part of a healthy lifestyle. Many others take place elsewhere in the country. For instance twenty people, including one woman, braved the waters of the Morava River near Hodonín for the traditional cross-border swim to Slovakia and back on December 31st. But while the New Years Day swimmers had enviable conditions - the temperature of the water was 6.9 degrees Celsius with sunny conditions –only the hardiest of the hardy – took part in Three Kings Swim marking the end of the holidays on January 6th. Thirty swimmers jumped into the Vltava from a boat near Charles Bridge in heavy snow. The temperature of the air was -2 degrees Celsius, that of the water was three degrees higher.
Lysá hora, photo: CzechTourism
A 63-year-old former miner has made headlines as a result of his new-found passion –mountain climbing. Jan Cupa says that when he retired at 58 after 23 long years underground, he could barely walk up a flight of stairs and spent all his time on the couch watching TV. One day his wife practically threw him out of the house telling his to take a long trek in the mountains and get a breath of fresh air. He went and hasn’t looked back. He developed a passion for the mountains and in the last three years has climbed Lysá Hora, the highest peak of the Beskydy Mountains, every day of the year with only a few exceptions. Even in the coldest weather he goes up stripped to the waist and very often barefoot. “Suddenly all my old energy has come back – I feel like a twenty-year old,” he said in an interview for Respekt magazine. Now he is planning to take part in an endurance race where the goal is to go up and down Lysá mountain as many times as possible within the space of 24 hours. On the day of the race he will be 64 and hopes to give himself a present in the form of a prize.
An edible wedding dress was the hit of this year’s Best Wedding Cake competition. The life-size lace- decorated wedding dress is the work of three pastry chefs and took one hundred hours to make. It was tailored according to a real wedding dress by designer Sonia Hlaváčková and the edible version is made of fondant, white chocolate, pearls and march pane. The creation weighing 90 kg made the Czech Book of Records and is being kept in a climate-controlled glass box at the Museum of Records and Curiosities in Pelhřimov.
Embroidery is generally perceived as a hobby for elderly women, but that did not deter 53-year-old mechanic Petr Volna from trying his hand at it after a serious accident left him bedridden for months. “I had plenty of free time on my hands and no idea what to do with it,” he says. To keep his fingers nimble he decided to embroider a cartoon by a well-known Czech illustrator. After a few days of struggling with the needle he got the hang of it and was hooked. In 1993 he started work on a big project – embroidering the country’s most famous castles and chateaux. He now has 50 embroidery paintings which required over 700,000 stitches and took 4,845 hours to produce. The collection made it into the Czech Book of Records and although Petr Volna is now fit once again embroidery is not something he is about to give up.
Illustrative photo: Jakub Čížek
The railway station in the west Bohemian town of Plzen is to get a piano for its main lobby. The piano was purchased from the sale of a painting in a charity auction held within the 2015 Plzen European City of Culture project. The artists who contributed paintings to be sold at the auction could say what they wanted the money to be used for and one of them asked for a piano in a public space. Czech Railways welcomed the idea and so as of next week tired and dusty travelers waiting for late trains will be able to cheer themselves up by strumming the piano.