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A raft cruise from Štěchovice to Hamburg
Photo: Zbyněk Stanislav
A raft made using the same technology as when rafts were massively produced in the first half of the last century successfully completed its two-week journey from Štěchovice to the port of Laudenburg near Hamburg.
The 120 logs from which the raft was made will now be transformed into high-quality garden furniture. As stated by the project manager VOR 2012, Andrea Pondělíčková "float timber has better quality than timber transported on land, it is harder and less infested by pests."
Each day the raft sailed about 100km. The cruise on the Elbe was roughly twice as fast than on the Vltava river. On the Vltava the average speed was about 5km per hour (about the same as a human walk), on the Elbe twice as much. Just the cruise from Štěchovice to Prague lasted two days.
However, apart from the sailing route and the raft there was another thing was very authentic: the nights. The crew did not sleep in hotels or camps but under the sky, and when it rained in tents by the river. It was the weather which represented the biggest problem of the whole cruise, though the crew could use the service of a towboat and there were two fireplaces on the actual raft.
History of rafts in Bohemia
Rafting in Bohemia has a long tradition and until recently it was a very respected profession. The first mention of rafting dates back to the year 1316, which is in fact the year when Charles IV was born. Under the rule of Charles IV rafting experienced a big boom, which reached its peak in the 18th and 19 century with the industrial development of the country for which a large supply of wood was needed. The construction of dams on the Vltava River in the 20th century unfortunately resulted in extinction of this beautiful craft.
The 2012 VOR project originated as an idea of a timber company LESS to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The Prague Boats and Prague Steamboats Companies gladly participated in the whole project.