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Around Slovakia

Running from border to border
Wooden boat-statue christened on the Danube
Young boy survives big fall
A whole lot of bottles
Monk shoots documentary on Carpathian Germans


JOZEF Rajchl hopes to see other flags in next year's run.
photo: SME - Pavol Funtál

Slovakia
Running from border to border

JOZEF Rajchl from Bratislava, in the first such performance in Slovakia, ran and speed-walked 575 kilometres across the country in six days, one hour, and 40 minutes.
On his journey, Rajchl went through 83 towns and villages, destroyed four pairs of running shoes, and lost five kilograms, the Slovak daily SME wrote.
He started his run in the eastern Slovak village of Vyšné Nemecké and ended in the western Slovak village of Záhorská Bystrica.
"It is my dream to conquer long distances, and to prove it's all relative [to your determination]," Rajchl said to SME.
In the future he plans to run and walk a route that would connect the north, south, east, and west of Slovakia and to run along a section of the Great Wall of China in the Beijing area.
Rajchl told SME that he hopes his east-to-west run starts a tradition in Slovakia.
"I would like to repeat this every year and I hope that other athletes join me. I will also inform [athletes] in surrounding states," Rajchl said.
Describing his run he said: "I wanted to run 110 kilometres every day by running and speed-walking, but my five-day plan started to fall through from the very start. In the first day I had stomach problems from energy drinks that were supposed to help me [perform better]. I had a similar crisis during the third day.
After my girlfriend started to feed me traditional food and biscuits, my stomach calmed down to a certain extent.
"Every day at about halfway through my daily run, I started swearing and got into a bad mood because I knew I wouldn't meet the planned time limit. I was kept afloat by my support team on bikes and in the car."
Rajchl ran not only during the day, but also at night.
"I felt the worst during the last night. Everything hurt from head to toe and I cried at every step to get at least some relief [from the pain]. I was falling asleep while standing, so the guys had to keep me awake by talking to me."


Čunovo
Wooden boat-statue christened on the Danube

A BOAT-statue made of black poplar wood by the Czech artist Vít Novotný was christened on the Danube River on the occasion of EU enlargement on May 1.
Novotný and seven of his friends took the boat into the water by swimming down the Danube River where it connects to the Morava River near the Slovak village of Devín at the Czech, Slovak, and Austrian borders.
"That was the first time we handled the boat in a strong stream. After we managed that, there were no more problems," Novotný told the Slovak daily Pravda.
The boat can be seen in the Danubiana Art Museum in Čunovo. To make it, Novotný used a chainsaw and an axe.
On the journey, the boat was accompanied by a fleet of historical cars on the road, including a wooden car that Novotný also made.
The mayor of Čunovo, Alžbeta Broszová, said she wished the boat team good luck in their future trips.
"It was very nice of them to come here. In Čunovo we have experience with rafters and kayakers, but this is something new," Broszová said to Pravda.


Žiar nad Hronom
Young boy survives big fall

Mirko B, 3, from Žiar nad Hronom miraculously survived a fall from the window of a fifth floor flat, suffering only a broken leg.
The accident took place on May 5 when Mirko and his mother were looking through the window to see how hard it was raining. The turn-around window suddenly opened and the boy fell 15 metres to the ground, the Slovak daily SME wrote.
Doctors from the hospital in Žiar nad Hronom described the outcome of the near-tragedy as a miracle and a combination of lucky circumstances, as Mirko fell on relatively soft ground because the lawn was wet. He was also lucky not to have hit the ground with his head or back.
Furthermore, the hospital was close to his house, so the ambulance was on site immediately.
When doctors arrived on the scene, Mirko was in shock but not unconscious.
The accident will be further investigated by the police, who have already started proceedings against Mirko's mother, 23, for inflicting damage to health due to negligence.


Brodzany
A whole lot of bottles

JÁN Kosáč from Brodzany in the Partizánske district has about 1,500 different types of bottles stored in his cellar, a hobby that he started ten years ago when he felt bad about throwing away five old bottles.
"The bottles stayed on the shelf and, gradually, more were added," Kosáč said to the Slovak daily SME.
In the meantime, his cellar has become a private bottle museum, as neighbours, relatives, and friends all bring him their old bottles.
Kosáč said he only takes bottles that he does not yet have, so every bottle on the shelves is unique to the exhibit.
His collection includes bottles of all sizes and shapes, and he even has a few that are as much as 100 years old.
He says his favourites are the small spirits bottles often seen during movie scenes in Jewish pubs at the start of the previous century.
He also collects bottles used for storing medicine, ointments, and syrups. His collection of unusual shapes includes bottles that have the shape of the female body, a mermaid, guitars, a cobra snake, an elephant, the moon, a boot, a gun, and a horse, SME wrote.
"I do collect bottles of alcohol, but I don't drink alcohol at all. My father had a pub 40 years ago, but I didn't collect bottles then; otherwise, I would have a much richer collection by now," the 41-year-old carpenter said.
Kosač exhibited his collection two years ago in Partizánske. He said it took him a full month to wash the exhibits.



MICHAL Hirko works to make sure that tombstones are not all that remain of the Carpathian Germans.
photo: SME - Ján Krošlák

Kremnické Bane
Monk shoots documentary on Carpathian Germans

A CAPUCHIN monk from the Kremnické bane area, which was once called the Hauerland region, has made a documentary film about the Carpathian Germans.
Michal Hirko heard about the history of this disappearing group from his parishioners. The Carpathian Germans moved to the Hauerland region in the middle ages during the German colonisation of the region, and they remained there in great numbers until the second world war.
"This may be the last opportunity [to capture the fate of the Carpathian Germans]. The old generation is gradually going and their offspring do not speak the original language and often do not even speak German at all," Hirko said to the Slovak daily SME.
The film, made with director Ľubo Polák, consists of stories that Hirko's parishioners told him on various occasions.
"People were very spontaneous. They were not simply visited by an unknown camera crew they might be ashamed of talking openly to. Instead, their own priest came to film them. After a moment they even forgot they were being filmed," Hirko said.
The documentary tells stories about the difficult times after the war when many of the Germans moved out of the country, many families lost touch with each other, and many lost their property and their close family members, SME wrote.
"In this region, for example, the Germans were not allowed to shop before 10 in the morning. After that hour, however, nothing was left on the shelves. So some Slovaks helped them and secretly shopped for them," Hirko said.
Gradually, the dominantly German villages were flooded with new people, Slovaks, and the Germans became a minority group. Older people still speak in their German dialect, but the young generation has stopped using it.
The authors of the documentary want to offer the film to a TV channel in Slovakia and also as a study material to the Culture Museum of the Carpathian Germans.
They hope to translate it into German and dedicate it to those families who were forced to move out of the Hauerland and for years were not even allowed to come back to visit.
According to SME the history of the Carpathian Germans goes back 800-900 years. Before the second world war, about 150,000 Germans lived in Slovakia, but the latest census showed that there were only about 5,500 left.
The majority of them live in the Spiš region, near Košice, and in the Hauerland in central Slovakia.

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