Saturday, 29 October 2016

Things I love about the Czech Republic #3

1. The Kostelec sausage man

Is this the world's most homo-erotic company logo? It was designed almost 100 years ago when a picture of a camp-looking gentleman sucking on a large sausage was perfectly good marketing. Kudos to the company for sticking with their logo, which you can still see around the Czech Republic on tinned meats, trucks and billboards. The only thing about the logo that seems to have changed since I first arrived in the Czech Republic is the removal of the juice dripping from Sausage Man's chin. I do hope Sausage Man will still be there next time I'm perusing the cold meats section of a Czech supermarket.

2. Station masters

One of the joys of travelling around the Czech Republic is the sight of small-town station masters, wearing their official Czech Rail-issued red caps, standing to attention as your train rushes by. They're a charming reminder of the railways of times gone by but, alas, their days are numbered. A few decades ago even the smallest railway station had a station master but they're no longer employed at single-track stations. Ongoing automatisation of the Czech rail system means they'll soon be obsolete at multi-track stations as well. Na shledanou...

3. The right to walk anywhere

Okay, it's not exactly a right, but the fact is you can walk just about anywhere in the Czech Republic. A network of trails branches out from just about every train and bus station in the country, winding over farmland, through forests and along rivers. Fences are as rare as 'no trespassing' signs. I put it down to the Czech love of hiking and - even though it's almost 30 years since the Velvet Revolution - because the idea of private ownership of the countryside has yet to become fully entrenched. (That's my mate Simon, a keen walker, in the picture with his dog in the woods near Olomouc.)

You can also check out lists #1 and #2 of things I love about the Czech Republic.

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