Magazine

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With football the name of the game -even elephants are playing it at Prague's Troja Zoo. A Czech claims to have built the biggest kaleidoscope in the world and, a Czech strongman pulls a car for 27 metres by his penis! Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

The Czech soccer team playing in the World Cup will celebrate every victory with a hearty portion of dumplings, a favourite Czech staple. The hotel where the team will be staying has allegedly hired a Czech chef to ensure that players can tuck into the authentic Czech "knedliky" they love. "They will be having dumplings after every victory," the hotel spokeswoman assured journalists. The players will also be able to wash down their dumplings with specially ordered Czech beer. Well, what better motivation to win as many matches as possible?


Most people around the globe are obsessed with football at the present time - and the elephants at Prague's Troja Zoo are also very much in the picture. Their keeper is giving them football training sessions and by all accounts they are very adept at it. Well - with four feet and one trunk -what would you expect? It is not clear whether all this is in honour of the World Cup or whether the show for kids will continue once the World Cup is over.


"Strongman" contests are very popular in the Czech Republic and it is no exception for a man to single-handedly pull a locomotive for several metres. But the show that took place in Klasterec nad Ohri was -in a way- exceptional. Pulling a car for 27 metres is no big deal but pulling it by the strength of your penis alone is a first in this country! 34 year old Karel Marek pulled a Nissan Patrol for 27 metres in the manner just described and appeared to have no problem doing so. He covered the 27 metres in 1 minute six seconds, setting a brand new Czech record in this discipline - and possibly a world record as well. But then nobody's standing in line to try and do better.


Photo: CTK
Prague's Rapid Deployment Squad had a most unusual training exercise last week - "saving" a foreign delegation that terrorists were holding hostage at Krivoklat Castle some 30 km north-west of Prague. Negotiations had "failed" and the castle had to be taken by force, with the elite unit scrambling up Krivoklat's high stone walls and turrets. "It was certainly out of the ordinary" the head of the unit said later, "it required lots of improvisation". "At least nobody threw stones and faeces at us as we climbed up the walls," he added referring to how fortresses were sometimes defended in the old days. Prima - 30.5.


Martin Titz from Havlickuv Brod has built the biggest kaleidoscope in the Czech Republic - possibly in the world. It weighs 80 kilos and is 2 metres 12 centimetres long and 60 cm. wide. Martin says he used coloured glass and straw for special geometric effects. People will be able to admire it at the Pelhrimov Museum of Records and Curiosities.


The city transport authorities in Brno held an open door day last weekend during which all volunteers from the public were taught how to drive a tram / ie. anyone over 15, who was willing to prove that they had not consumed any alcohol that day/. After a crash-course in what knobs and pedals to use the volunteers got to drive a tram through the city streets, supervised by an instructor. 320 people availed themselves of the opportunity. Let's just hope that with so many Brno residents capable of hopping onto a tram and driving off - they won't abuse their newly acquired skill. It often happens that tram drivers have to get off the tram to manually change a switch on the track. Or that they hop out briefly for a packet of cigarettes. Well, we'll have to wait and see...


Rabbit breeders in the town of Zatec this year held the first ever rabbit race. Several dozen rabbits turned up for the event - washed and groomed to within an inch of their lives - and took turns covering the 10 metre course filled with hurdles resembling a horse race track. One of the rabbits simply refused to cooperate ploughing through the hurdles and bringing them down like matches. After a hasty reconstruction, Herbie - a hot favourite - showed the crowd how it should be done - soaring over every single hurdle and covering the ten metres in 14 seconds flat. His trainer said he was a natural but it still took three months of daily training for Herbie to get the idea and not abandon the race mid-way. The locals say that the rabbit "sports day" was a big success and predict that rabbit races will one day be as common as horse races are today. Well, I'd take that with a pinch of salt ...the people who organized snail races last year said exactly the same thing!


In 1910 pioneering aviator Jan Kaspar became the first ever Czech to become airborne - in an aircraft he had constructed himself. A year later he accomplished his first long-distance flight - then the first long distance flight in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He covered the distance of 120 km in 1 hour and 32 minutes flying at an average speed of 80 km per hour. Kaspar landed on a racecourse in Chuchle, south of Prague, where the crowd welcomed him as a hero. Last week - a Swedish aviator who flies Boeing 737s honoured Kaspar's memory by flying the same route Pardubice-Prague in a reconstructed Bleriot plane - almost exactly the same as that flown by Kaspar. The Swedish aviator -Michael Carlson - found the Bleriot plane abandoned in an old barn, reconstructed it and first flew it in 1991 across La Manche. The flight from Pardubice to Chuchle took him just over two hours and like Kaspar - but almost a century later -he too got an enthusiastic greeting from the crowd.