One of Josef Lada’s famous illustrations comes to life. Two beer fans from Liberec have invented a mobile beer crate that you can drive home, and the town of Jilemnice boasts a snow sculpture of the legendary Krakonoš giant. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

Tomáš Pitr,  photo: CTK
Czech fugitive Tomáš Pitr who fled the country after being found guilty of extensive tax fraud is reported to be playing a cat-and-mouse game with the Czech police. According to the daily Pravo, Pitr regularly comes home to visit and leaves again undetected by the authorities. The daily claims that the fugitive businessman was last seen in the vicinity of his luxury home over Christmas. A police spokeswoman whom the daily contacted admitted that the police suspected this was going on, but said that so far efforts to detain Pitr on one of his reported “outings” to the Czech Republic had failed. She said the open border regime within Schengen and the lack of police officers complicated these efforts. Tomáš Pitr is believed to be spending his time in Austria and Switzerland, where his crimes are barred by a statute of limitations.

A dry cleaners’ van with the blue and yellow stripes used by the Czech police force is stopping Prague residents in their tracks. The van looks like a police van at first glance, but a closer look reveals that the new police motto “to help and protect” which is now to be found on the side of all Czech police cars has been changed to “ to wash and iron”. The PR stunt has got the owner of the dry cleaning company plenty of publicity, but he may have to use some of the profit to pay a steep fine for breaking the law – up to 100,000 crowns.

Yvetta Hlaváčová,  photo: CTK
Czech long-distance swimmer Yvetta Hlaváčová is to show off the world’s longest jeans on catwalks in the United States, Great Britain and Australia. American fashion designer Roy Parkin is launching a line of jeans for tall, long-legged women and what more suitable model than the woman who – according to the Guinness Book of Records – has the longest legs in the world. Hlaváčová says she is delighted with the offer and is greatly looking forward to the new line since she has always had problems getting ready-to-wear trousers – almost all of them are short – so she says she ends up buying jeans in the men’s department. She’s now looking forward to a pair that will not only be long enough but will show off her legs and look sexy and Roy Parkin has given her his word that she will never have to wear men’s jeans again in her life.

Photo: CTK
You’d be hard put to find someone in the Czech Republic who has not seen Josef Lada’s paintings and illustrations. His illustrations of village life are particularly popular and thousands of them get printed as postcards every year. Now a pub in the Haná region is aiming to bring one of his illustrations to life. The illustration in question shows the interior of a village pub with everyone in it caught up in a free-for all –including members of the local band. At the centre is the pub owner, rolling up his sleeves and brandishing a stick. The idea is to produce a freeze-frame resembling the illustration as closely as possible and the organizers of the event have promised to take snapshots of the freeze frame, which they will then distribute to participants by e-mail. Apart from a good time at the pub – which is sure to follow – participants will have a truly original greeting card to send to their friends.

Two beer fans from Liberec made headlines last week after showing off their invention – a mobile beer-crate - to the press. Tomas Šarbota and Jan Klusta were enjoying a pint at the pub on a Sunday afternoon and watching a man unload beer crates from a van when they got a brainwave – they decided to invent a mobile beer crate that beer-lovers could simply straddle and ride home. All it took was a motor from a motorcycle, a bit of know-how and a few hours work and soon the crate – chock-full of beer of course – was whizzing down the road at 45 kilometers per hour. It looks like drinking will never be easier, but we will have to wait and see if the mobile crate ever goes into mass production.

Photo: CTK
Most Czechs are conservative when it comes to beer – but you wouldn’t think so if you happened to attend this week’s Best Barman contest in Žatec. Students from six gastronomy schools in the country competed in the art of cocktail mixing – and beer cocktails were one of the items on the agenda. Some of the concoctions sound truly horrific, but their authors swear they taste good and will not leave you with a painful hangover. Among the specialties produced was beer with cream, beer with tomato juice and beer with champagne.

The Krakonoš legend is one that every Czech child knows well. In the deep forests of the Giant Mountains there lives a giant who protects his realm. He is to be feared and respected since he rewards good deeds but lets no evil go unpunished. His main helper is a jaybird who keeps him well informed about the goings on in his realm. Krakonoš is believed to be able to govern the forces of nature and a violent thunderstorm on a warm summer’s day means that he is seriously displeased with someone and teaching them a lesson. The Krakonoš bedtime stories filmed in the 70s have become legendary and you will even find the giant on beer labels. Now there is an outsize snow sculpture of Krakonoš in the town of Jilemnice in the Giant Mountains. The stern-looking old man with an enormous beard, is there to remind the inhabitants that he is watching over them, ever ready to reward and punish –well at least until the snow melts.