Tomas Bata goes back to his roots to celebrate his 92nd birthday. Who has the longest handle-bar moustache in the Czech Republic? And - a contest in speed swimming for tropical fish! Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
Non-alcoholic beer? In the past most Czechs would pass, but not anymore. Consumption of non-alcoholic beer has surged since stricter rules for drivers were introduced at the start of July. The new law, penalising drivers with points for every drink-driving infringement and a driving ban if they exceed the limit, is the main reason why many Czechs have exchanged their favourite brew in return for the non-alcoholic variety. Pubs now make sure there's plenty of it in stock and people are increasingly throwing it into their shopping carts for Sunday lunch. Consumption of non-alcoholic beer is now around 240,000 hectolitres a year but market experts say that figure could easily triple within three years.
It's a throwback to the 30s in London or New York - a bike food delivery service is now making the rounds in Prague. Kevin Avers who runs a coffee-shop in the city centre says it seemed like the ideal way to deliver lunch baguettes to people working in the vicinity - its stylish, fast and environmentally friendly. And - it certainly makes heads turn! This is a delivery service people will remember.
Today Bata shoes are sold around the world - but Czechs like to fondly remember the days when Tomas Bata set up his first production line in Zlin in 1894. Throughout the communist days and even after the revolution Tomas Bata was regarded by the public as a role-model businessman - the kind who not only made money but looked after his employees as well. The buildings that Tomas Bata built in Zlin stand to this day and Czechs are proud to be associated with his name. Tomas Bata is long dead - he died in a plane crash in 1932 - and the Bata Empire was run successively by his brother, son and presently grandson. Although the Bata family lives in Canada they are always given a hearty welcome home by the people of Zlin. And they always seem to enjoy coming back. Last week Tomas Bata senior celebrated his 92nd birthday in the Czech Republic - and in line with Moravian tradition he was welcomed with bread, salt and slivovice - or plum brandy. The locals threw a birthday party for him at which everyone was in regional costume and a live band played Moravian folk music. Bata - dressed in a red-white-and black costume - loved every minute of it. "I wore it when I was a boy - and it feels great, just great," Bata said, adding "I love what they planned. Roots are important and my roots are here."
Czechs love all kinds of nonsensical races. They have made snails race - and even beetles race - but the craziest race of all must be last week's swimming competition in Rychnov nad Kneznou. The participants were tropical fish and the idea was they should compete in speed swimming. Tropical fish owners from near and far brought their prize fish to the event but it turned out to be a huge disappointment. The fish refused to cooperate and only one of them made it to the finishing line - moreover in a very lazy manner. He covered one meter in 43 seconds which is shameful in view of the species. The world's number one human swimmer can cover 100 metres in the same time. But slow as he was the Melanochromis auratus - a biotype from Lake Malawi in Africa - won the day. All the other fish were disqualified and Auratus was pronounced the winner of and the first-ever swimming competition for tropical fish. Now tropical fish breeders in the Czech Republic have a year to produce something better - or train their lazy specimen to cooperate.
The smallest museum in the Czech Republic is to be found in the western village of Krenovy. The museum of old scales is located inside a huge agrarian scale that measures four cubic meters. The agrarian scales were used for weighing grain in the second half of the twentieth century and were lying idle until the locals decided to fix them - just to see if they could. The idea of having a museum of scales emerged quite naturally when the local men at the pub started talking about the stuff that they had in their attics. Almost everyone had old scales from the first half of the twentieth century - including some American pocket scales from 1945 - and donated them in aid of the one and only museum in the village. The museum is special in more ways than one - it is free of charge and if you want to see it you ring the bell at the nearest cottage - pick up the key and visit the scales inside the scales.