I thought I understood the basic rules of economics, but sometimes when I look at things in the Czech Republic I doubt it. Take for example the price of petrol.
In the UK if I want to buy cheap petrol I go to a big supplier, especially a supermarket petrol station. I would like to support one of the local independent stations, but the price differential is enormous. In the Czech Republic the reverse is often the case, better prices are to be found in the smaller outlets, so much so that it really is worth following the cheap signposts to the small independent supplier. Sometimes this is because fuel sales are a sideline to the main area of business (eg bus or lorry transport) but sometimes the reason is less obvious. How is this possible? Why does it happen? Surely the big suppliers can bulk buy fuel at a cheaper price? Answers to this conundrum welcome.
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
Monday, 17 October 2011
After our visit to Slavonice and the 1938 bunkers (see previous post) my husband and I drove to Trebic, where we stayed in the old Jewish quarter. The quarter is now on the UNESCO World Heritage list, being one of the few well-preserved Jewish gettos left in Europe. Through my tourism business (see column right) I am fortunate to have discovered a wonderful hotel in a building which dates back to the 17th century. The hotel must be unique in having an ancient Jewish ritual bath (mikveh) in its basement.
Wednesday, 12 October 2011
Czechs view the events of 1938 very differently from us Brits. For them British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's betrayal at Munich (where he agreed to Hitler's annexation of the Sudetenland) still galls and is one of the most important "what ifs" in modern history. We Brits have been led to believe that there was no point in supporting the Czechs in resisting Hitler, they lived "in a far-away country" with "people of whom we know nothing" (Chamberlain 1938) and needed British help to fight - help we could not provide. But if you explore the forests and mountains that ring the Czech Republic you will find evidence to the contrary.
Near Slavonice in South Bohemia my husband and I visited some of the bunkers, which Czechoslovakia had been building for Nazi invasion for several years upto 1938. The bunkers were approximately every 100 yards apart, giving a continuous field of fire. In front of the bunkers were barbwire and anti-tank defences. These fortifications went all the way along the border. The little Czechoslovak nation was mobilised in 1938 - the army that would have faced Hitler's troops was nearly as large as the Nazi's. And as the Czechs will tell you they were prepared to fight for the country that they had so long been denied and they will also tell you that they could have won. What would the history of the twentieth century have been like if they had?