The city of Prague is dissected into two parts by the Vltava River, a murky mass of gushing water easily crossed by numerous bridges. The most famous of these is the Charles Bridge, but I’ll probably walk along that enough times to talk in detail about it at a later date. What we witnessed to celebrate our first month of living in the Czech Republic, however, took place on the river itself. Well, more like in the river…
You may have heard of Red Bull, makers of the disgusting energy drink sold cheaply at student nights to keep them partying until long after the last kebab shop has closed. They’re a world-renowned brand these days and, living up to their slogan of giving you ‘wings’, they support and sponsor a variety of extreme sport events. One of their main initiatives has been to create international competitions about one of man’s greatest desires: to build a machine and fly in it.
This has been a desire of the human race for hundreds of years. From Da Vinci’s design of the helicopter to all of those who perished by jumping off a cliff and sticking their arms out, the world has longed to fly. Perhaps in honour of the achievement of the Wright brothers, who succeeded where so many others had failed in December 1903, the Austrian sugary-drink company have recently been organising events around the world known as ‘Flug-tag’. In a nutshell, build your own aircraft and fly it for as long as possible. It could even be a nutshell. What’s more, many people will come out and watch your ‘aircraft’ attempt to fly.
You get some machines that look vaguely like planes, but it is evident that some do it for fun rather than flight. Some of the vehicles included a goldfish…
…a hot dog…
…and a Dalmatian.
This event has been taking around the world, and was in Prague this given Sunday. Crowds swelled on the banks of the river to get a glimpse of geniuses at work. The only ones they saw, however, actually belonged to Red Bull. Five men jumped out of a plane high above us, before individually landing on the small take-off platform with a minimum of fuss.
As for the home-made contraptions…they didn’t make it very far. Once they had done their silly song and dance to warm up the crowd, they would then push their machine along the platform until it toppled miserably into the murky deep below. The funniest was the attempt by the hot dog, which split on impact and left the sausage floating away from the saturated bun whilst its creators jumped into the river to rescue it.
Don’t be deceived by the weather in the pictures. Prague is getting chillier by the day, and landing in that water would not be a reward.
Red Bull hosts many of these events in cities around the world during the year. If one happens to turn up in your neighbourhood, it’s well worth a visit for an hour or so. It certainly transformed Prague’s major river for a weekend!
Love you all