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Ahoj from Budweis

Budejovice, CZ (View on map)
Posted 14 May 2008:

With only 15 years of age, the Czech Republic and neighbouring Slovakia are the two youngest countries in the European Union. Both came into existence after putting an end to their Czechoslovakian union, which had lasted for the 80 years following World War I. Capital of the Czech Republic is Prague, home to 1.5 million people out of the 10 million of Czechs who populate the entire country. The first report comes in from Ceske Budejovice:... Read more

Communist legacy

Prague, CZ (View on map)
Posted 15 May 2008:

No fewer than twelve countries have been added to the European Union in the last 10 years. Czech Republic was one of the former ex-communist states which joined in May 2004. Within barely fifteen years after the revolution, Czechs have had to convert from a centrally-planned market economy with work and accommodation for everybody, into a capitalist state ran by financial gains and egoism. Today, I am asking people which communist traits have survived the revolution and are still commonplace today.... Read more

Holiday plans

Prague, CZ (View on map)
Posted 16 May 2008:

The Spanish stay in Spain, the Greeks go to their birthplaces or to the islands, the Swedes leave for South-East Asia or pretty much anywhere around the world, the young Austrians all plan to get to South America and Dutch youngsters opt for the beaches of Spain and Turkey. Or Australia to travel and work. Today`s question: Where do people have a chance to run in to Czech people this summer.... Read more

Czech news roundup

Prague, CZ (View on map)
Posted 17 May 2008:

A signature analysis of the three presidential candidates in the United States, a handicapped athlete who may be able to qualify for the Summer Olympics in Beijing and the return of a politician who had been accused of taking bribes. That`s the most important news the Czech newspaper `Lidov? Noviny` has on its front page today. With the help of some of the few English-speaking inhabitants of Prague, I am trying to find out which other topics are making headlines in the Czech Republic today.... Read more

In the Irish pub

Trutnov, CZ (View on map)
Posted 18 May 2008:

If there`s one cultural concept that has proved to be worth exporting, it`s the Irish Pub. Anywhere outside Northern Ireland, the Irish tricolore and the Guinness logo stand for a warm welcome, no matter whether the local reality comes anywhere near that promise. The Irish Pub in Trutnov is doing better than that. It was set up by a real Irishman, and is now run by Gabriela, 27, Czech, who speaks perfect English with a subtle Irish accent.... Read more

A night out

Trutnov, CZ (View on map)
Posted 19 May 2008:

Different people have different ideas about what constitutes a nice evening out with friends. Some of the ideas are, at least partly, culturally defined. Spaniards will not start their parties before the time pubs in England have already closed. While Italians will try hard to impress members of the opposite sex, Slovenians try to sheer away from interacting with anybody that is not already part of their group of friends. But what about a Czech night out?... Read more

Meet and greet

Usti nad Labem, CZ (View on map)
Posted 20 May 2008:

Some countries on this planet have made smiling a moral obligation. No matter whether the smile is authentic or not, paste one onto your face and you will make it through the day. The opposite is true for many people in the Czech Republic. Their `by default face` seems to programmed to display active disinterest, with distress and dislike as optionally added flavours. Czechs need to know each other before they open up, and below article sums up a couple of unwritten rules which should be observed in attempts to find out what hides behind the first impression.... Read more

Superficial ambitions?

Karlovy Vary, CZ (View on map)
Posted 21 May 2008:

Being a traveling photo journalist isn`t always an easy job. Beside the work it generates, it takes quite some effort to find a way around language barriers and to interpret people`s answers correctly. How much are people`s answers limited by foreign language skills? What do they think about me as an inquisitive stranger? How can I know they are not just bullshitting, taking the piss or making me write something completely ridiculous? How can I know I am asking questions to people who are at least to some extent representative for the entire country?... Read more

First things first

Karlovy Vary, CZ (View on map)
Posted 22 May 2008:

In Czech Republic as much as in Hungary, questions about `ambition` and `inspiration` lead to shy smiles and superficial answers. While communism erased personal dreams by the nature of its ideology, the current situation makes people almost voluntarily forget about their dreams, at the expense of longing for money and authority.... Read more

Euro 2008 expectations

Prague, CZ (View on map)
Posted 23 May 2008:

The Czech national football team has a solid international reputation. 1976 was the most successful year so far, with the then Czechoslavakian team claiming the title in the European Champtionships of that year. The Czech Republic qualified for most of the recent European and World Championships and, at several occasions, made it to the best four. Expecting that the upcoming European Championships will be an exciting event for the Czechs, I hit the street today with the purpose of asking them about their expectations for the tournament.... Read more

Tourism in Prague (I)

Prague, CZ (View on map)
Posted 24 May 2008:

Very few people would argue about whether other not Prague is a beautiful city. Its centre remained largely untouched during World War II. Monumental buildings have been carefully maintained since the fall of communism. No wonder that so many tourists find their way to Prague. Today, I am asking a couple of them how they experience the city. ... Read more

Tourism in Prague (II)

Prague, CZ (View on map)
Posted 25 May 2008:

Life is full of worries and obligations. Going on holiday serves as a popular strategy for people to clean up their hard disks. For some obscure sociological reasons, all these people looking for relaxation come together at locations that are even more crowded than whatever they are used to at home. What consequences do their intentions have on the life of others ? or more precisely: how do inhabitants of Prague feel about the way foreigners have taken over the city centre?... Read more

Religion and philosophy

Pardubice, CZ (View on map)
Posted 26 May 2008:

Anyone counting the number of churches in Prague would be very likely to conclude that the Czech Republic is a deeply religious country. The simple act of asking a couple of Czechs quickly reveals that the opposite is true: if there is one uniting factor when it comes to religion in the Czech Republic, it`s a widely shared preference to stay away from it.... Read more

Love and marriage

Pardubice, CZ (View on map)
Posted 27 May 2008:

Whether for romantic, affectionate, legal, financial, traditional, status-related or possibly even medical reasons - thousands of people get married every day. Lenka (30) and Pavel (29) from the Czech city of Pardubice have been engaged for five years and will get married on Friday 13 June 2008. This is their story:... Read more

Czech Cuisine

Brno, CZ (View on map)
Posted 28 May 2008:

Potatoes, bread, meat, cream, cumin seeds and cabbage. Those are the main components of the Czech diet, whether they come unprocessed or disguised as dumplings, pancakes, schnitzels, sausages, sauces or soups. Traditional Czech food is invariably rich in saturated fat and therefore considered unhealthy by nutritional standards. What do the Czechs themselves think about what they eat?... Read more

Study and work ethics

Brno, CZ (View on map)
Posted 29 May 2008:

In most countries across Europe, it would be advisable for secondary school pupils to think about continuing their educational career for another four years or so. In Finland and Sweden, it would be hard to find a job without a third-level education diploma. Young Slovenians will utterly disappoint their parents if they choose not to go to university. The situation in the Czech Republic is a bit different. Here`s an overview of the Czech school system, which partly explains why so many start working right after finishing secondary school.... Read more

Ostrava fusion

Ostrava, CZ (View on map)
Posted 30 May 2008:

Once proudly known as `The Steel Heart of the Republic`, the city of Ostrava is now back to what it used to be before communism came to Czechoslovakia: a collection of provincial towns located at the confluence of the Oder, Ostravice and Opava rivers. Chimneys are no longer seen as a sign of progress but as a source of pollution. Ostrava is now looking for new ways to repair its image and regain some of its old grandeur.... Read more

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