Goulash Festival, photo: Vlasta Navratil,

Who would climb a mountain with 50 litres of beer of their back? A Czech, of course! Who can eat five servings of goulash in five minutes flat? Right again, a hungry Czech. And, women may be attracted to dominant males, but they are inclined to marry men who will be good fathers - Czech and British researchers have been racking their brains to try to figure out the female mentality. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

A Czech mountaineers association annually organizes an expedition to the top of mount Jested which is over 1,000 metres above sea level. Actually the mountaineers only climb the last 400 metres - but even so it is is not an easy task. The idea is not just to climb to the top of the mountain as fast as possible but to do so with a 50 litre barrel of the best Czech beer on your back! Five contestants made it to the top, the winner in one and a half hours. The rest got lost somewhere along the way - with their beer barrel. A much tougher discipline is climbing a "fictitious mount Everest" by going up and down Jested eight times. Nineteen climbers attempted the feat, fourteen got to the top, five gave up, one of them allegedly because his dog was too tired to continue. The winner got there in 5 hours and 46 minutes - last years record being five hours and five minutes. A single woman conquered the fictitious mount Everest at Jested - and she did so in just over nine hours.

Martin Stefl,  photo: CTK
Do you consider yourself to be something of a strong-man? In that case you can match your achievements to those of the strong-men's competition in Liberec last week. It was attended by 16 champs from the Czech |Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia and they gave an impressive performance. For example, how many times would you be able to lift a bar weighing 125 kilograms over your head in one minute. The record was six times. The next task was to carry 200, 220 and 250 kilogram weighs up three stairs as fast as possible. The winner got them up in 43 seconds flat. The highlight of the show was a test of strength involving cars. The men were asked to pull a lorry for 20 metres and the strongest got to it past the finishing line in 22 seconds. The overall winner was Martin Stefl from the Czech Republic - he'd certainly come in handy if your car broke down!

Of course not everyone wants to work so hard setting records. Many people think that eating is a much simpler way to get into the Guinness Book of Records 0r at least its Czech equivalent. Eating competitions abound and records only last a short time before someone eats that one extra dumpling or egg or whatever it is that's on the contest menu. Thirty nine year old Pavel Hurta from Moravia became the country's goulash king at the annual Goulash Festival at Valasske Mezirici. He managed to consume five and a half servings in the course of five minutes: that's five huge plates of goulash. Naturally, it was possible to attend the festival and enjoy goulash in a more civilized manner - on the first day of the festival visitors consumed 5,500 servings of goulash and washed them down with 110 litres of beer. The festival was an opportunity for the best chefs to show off: 24 of them cooked their own brand of goulash, among them traditional beef goulash, game goulash, mushroom goulash and even vegetarian goulash. Ondrej Stolba likewise boasts a huge appetite. At this years egg eating contest he wolfed down 12 hard boiled eggs in just 3 minutes. Hungry as he was, he failed to beat the existing record which is 15 eggs in three minutes flat. The contestants claim they feel just fine but needless to say doctors don't like to see this kind of thing.

Czech cuisine Svickova
A survey just out, indicates that 60 percent of Czechs think that healthy food does not equal tasty food and the majority of respondents said they were not prepared to change their eating habits in order to benefit their health. The degree to which people would be prepared to consider altering their diet varies depending on age. Respondents between 12 and 19 generally expressed the view that they eat what they like and would continue to do so. People between 30 and 60 years of age were most open to the idea of changing their eating habits but the number of those prepared to do so never reached the 50 percent margin.

Photo: archive of Radio Prague
A related poll showed that a third of all Czech consumers never read food labels or even look at the pass-by date. Thirty percent say they occasionally study the small print to find the listed ingredients or country of origin.

Czech and British researchers have published a joint study which explores the attraction that women have for dominant males. Our body odour -or the smell of our sweat allegedly sends out veiled messages about the quality of our genes, reproduction capabilities and health. Studies on animals have shown that the female is always attracted to the smell of a dominant male. Scientists conducted a similar experiment on people, collecting underarm sweat on cotton pads and arrived at the conclusion that women who are ovulating - thus at their most fertile period - really tend to prefer the smell of dominant men. There is just one hitch: the women were all in stable relationships. Other women did not show this preference. The researchers conclude that while women are inevitably drawn to men with good genes they are inclined to pair up with men they believe will be good fathers.

Prague's beach
The first Prague beach on the Vltava river is once again crowded with people. Unlike last year when the beach opened and dashed the expectations of many of the city's inhabitants because there wasn't very much available, this year things have slightly improved. There is a restaurant with a bar, you can play petangue or enjoy a game of beach volleyball and there is a playground for kids. "Last year we only had a tent in place of a proper restaurant but you can't expect people to sit in the heat all day and not be able to enjoy a cold drink and good meal," the restaurant manager said. It was the Prague 5 city hall which invested in a more attractive environment - and the idea of a beach on the riverbank is finally paying off.