Is crawling along a rope over a highway really such a good idea? Czech kids spot squirrels in the Czech capital. A Czech MTB rider wins one of the world's toughest races. And, the (in)famous CzechTek music festival is to move further east. That - and more - in this edition of Magazine.
Are these guys nuts? Crawling along a rope stretched high above the highway...
Is a small group of Czechs embracing a dangerous new sport? This week it was reported that a small team of climbers has been practising crawling along a rope stretched horizontally above a major highway as cars and trucks zoomed below. One of the climbers said that the highway was only one site that had been crossed: he and his eight-member team, he claimed, had also crawled hand-over-hand above high-voltage tracks. So far, no one has ever caught them as they operate late at night dressed in military fatigues.
I don't know about you but hopefully this is one pastime that won't catch on: crawling hand-over-hand over certain death - also endangering drivers - seems about as bright an idea as grabbing hold & jumping onto fast-moving trains, another questionable "hobby" reported on a few years ago. There, a group of anonymous surgeons spent their nights jumping onto and riding transport trains like they were hobos in the Depression-era.
I spy with my little eye: a squirrel!
Kids most vocal in new "family-friendly" stadium sector
Things can sometimes get a little heated at Sparta Prague's famous football stadium: I'm not talking about warm spring weather, I'm talking about the atmosphere when the home team is behind. Some of the language commonly used by fans - which I won't repeat here - is enough to make anyone think twice about whether they should take their kids to a football game. Now, no more need to worry about innocent ears. Last weekend the Sparta football club opened a new family sector at Letna stadium where everyone can enjoy the goals, whether Sparta's winning or not. There is even a small play area for kids to kick or toss around their own ball if they feel on top of their game. So far, parents have greeted the idea favourably: the zone was completely full shortly after opening for the first time. Who were the loudest? Not die-hard fans but some first-time viewers: a bunch of eight-year old kids.
Czech wins world's "toughest" human-powered race
Speaking of sport, it isn't too long ago that this year's Iditarod Trail Invitational - what some have called the world's toughest human-powered race along the historic Inuit trail - was won by a Czech. Held in Alaska in the coldest winter he won the race on his mountain bike. The rider, Jan Kopka, must be made of extraordinary stuff: how else could you survive, let alone win, a course lasting 1800 kilometres in -40 degree degrees Celsius? I feel cold just saying it. The racer told a Czech newspaper that at times on his bike he reached speeds of 80 kilometres per hour with the help of strong gales, along what he called an old gold-diggers' path, where he was completely alone. At night he slept in a special sleeping bag by the side of the trail and told the press, the main thing is just to "survive". Well, if I was going to do the Iditarod I think I'd prefer the famous dogsled version: I can't change flat tires with mittens.
Internet news site readers fail to get April Fools' joke
More than a few readers of one Czech Internet news site must have felt a little sheepish after they fell "hook, line & sinker" for one of the site's April Fools' jokes. On April 1st the site reported that Prague's famous Nusel Bridge would soon have an electronic toll, keeping track of vehicles coming in and out of the city. A photo, featuring city hall's logo and the "proposed" toll booth had some readers up-in-arms, and they fired off responses before they even got to the end of the article. They should have read all the way through. The article wrapped up by saying: the current plan proposed by the city was expected to come into effect by next April...Fools'.
Yes, but will they still call it CzechTek?
It's no joke for Czech techno fans but that's the way it is: organiser have announced that the CzechTek techno festival won't be back this summer - at least not in the Czech Republic. Organisers are complaining that the previously illegal festival has lost its "edge". Last year it was held with permission from authorities at an empty military site, a year after police forcibly closed it down, leading to violent clashes. Although tens of thousands of young people attended last year's peaceful event, some are complaining that getting permission went against the whole idea of the fest in the first place. In the past, the chosen location was always a secret until the last minute.
If CzechTek does move abroad, it will be further east. Locations reportedly being considered are Ukraine and even Belarus. While no doubt some Czech fans will probably be sorry, others - like villagers here who've put up with the festival before, will probably breathe a sigh of relief.