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Zvolen
Rafting on Hron River

JOIN the dance on the Hron River with traditionally dressed guides.
photo: SME - Ján Krošlák

AFTER a break of 60 years rafting has returned to the Hron River in central Slovakia, according to the daily SME. The new service, called The Dancing Rafts, should prove a major tourist attraction. It opened on July 15.
Prvé pltnícke združenie na Hrone (The First Rafting Union of the Hron River) from Zvolen operates the rafts.
"We are trying to create an interesting tourist attraction for locals as well as guests to Zvolen, Sliač and the surrounding areas," Vladimír Ivanko, the group's representative, told the daily SME.
"What we are doing is not unprecedented. Rafts have always belonged on Slovak rivers. We are just reliving the past and re-inventing it for contemporary people. Zvolen and the surrounding areas are made for such an attraction. The raft course leads through an interesting natural and historical area," he said.
A one-hour ride on a traditional raft will cost Sk150-180. The rafts are more than five metres long and can carry twelve people at a time. Each costs Sk30,000 (€775) to make.
The rafting season lasts from April 15 to October 31 each year. The Dancing Rafts are available to tourists every day from 10:00 to 16:00.


Rožňavské Bystré
Village of twins

DOUBLE trouble in Rožňavské Bystré.
photo: SME - Renáta Mazurková

THE VILLAGE of Rožňavské Bystré, in the district of Rožňava, is said to have the highest incidence of twins in Slovakia. According to the locals, twins have been nothing unusual in these parts for many years, the daily SME reported. The village of 595 inhabitants has over 20 sets of twins.
And what is more, as village mayor Ján Babič noted, the fathers of the twins are always Rožňavské Bystré natives.
The daily interviewed twins from kindergarten and primary school, twin university students and twin adults.
Kindergarten twins, four-year-olds Katka and Janka Forgáčová, are not the only twins in the family: their grandmother on their father's side was a twin as well.
Primary school pupils Miloš and Tomáš Leng love football, and are also not the only twins in their family. Their great-grandmother, Mária Ďurská, was also a twin. According to the village mayor, Mária Ďurská's twin sister Zuzana was the grandmother of twin 38-year-olds, local footballers Ondrej and Ján Urban.
The list goes on. Forty-seven-year-old twin Ľudovít Uhrín, who introduced himself to the SME reporters, is also a twin. He took them to his workshop and introduced them to twin brothers Jaroslav and Ján Gonos.
"Being a twin has its pros and cons," one of the Gonos brothers said. "When we were little, people would stop us in the street and take more notice of us than other children. We don't much like that anymore," he said.


Žilina
Six injured in car crash

SIX PEOPLE, including four children, were injured in a car crash on the road from Žilina to Rajec in northern Slovakia on the afternoon of July 10, the TASR news agency reported.
According to the police, the accident was caused by a 44-year-old man from Teplička nad Váhom, near Žilina, who had been drinking. He was driving his Renault with another adult and a child inside.
Due to speeding on a slippery road, the man lost control of his car while braking. He went into a skid and crashed into a Fiat carrying Hungarian tourists travelling in the opposite direction.
People were trapped in the cars and had to be freed by rescue services from Žilina using special cutting equipment. A woman and three children travelling in the Fiat suffered serious injuries. The adult passenger and child in the Renault were also injured.
The Renault driver has been charged with causing injury through dangerous driving.


Podolie
Model castle theme park opens

A NEW theme park of model castles was opened on July 13 in the village of Podolie, near Nové mesto nad Váhom in western Slovakia, the Nový Čas daily reported.
The first eight concrete model castles are on display in an area next to the local primary school. It took park administrator Juraj Hlatký and his helpers two years to construct the castles.
The contemporary models currently on show are of the Branč, Revište, and Holíč castles, Živánska tower, Krupinská watchtower, Jelšavský castle, a church in Klížske Hradište, and the Banská Štiavnica New Castle.
The park is open on Wednesdays and Sundays until the end of September 2005.


Dunajská Lužná
Blacksmiths show off their skills

OVER 30 blacksmiths from Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic demonstrated their skills at the second annual European symposium of Roma smiths on July 9 in the village of Dunajská Lužná, in the Bratislava region, the TASR news agency reported.
The craft has a tradition going back more than 300 years in Dunajská Lužná and has been passed down from generation to generation. There are 10 forges in the village itself.


Banská Bystrica
Riding a hot shot

FOLLOWING the example of Banská Štiavnica, a new type of bus has appeared in the streets of Banská Bystrica. Called Horúca strela 1 (Hot Shot I), the small nine-seater vehicle will stop for you at the wave of a hand.
Local businessman Martin Novotný launched Hot Shot 1. "I was inspired by Banská Štiavnica, but also by the US where I saw buses that gave a lift to people per request for $1," Novotný told the daily SME.
One trip in the city costs Sk12, which is Sk3 less than a ticket for the regular bus.
Novotný currently has just one vehicle in Banská Bystrica but is open to starting more "hot shots" if the idea proves successful.

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