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Globetrotter presents book on first trip’s 70th anniversary

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Zlin, South Moravia, Nov 7 (CTK) – Miroslav Zikmund, 97, a popular Czech globetrotter who criss-crossed the world aboard a Tatra car together with Jiri Hanzelka (1920-2003) in the 1950s and 1960s, presented a new book today that marks the forthcoming 70th anniversary of their first joint journey.

The author of the book Zikmund and Hanzelka is Frantisek Emmert, who drew material for it mainly from the two globetrotters’ archives. The book contains many documents and photographs, including from Hanzelka and Zikmund’s private life, which have not been published so far, Magdalena Preiningerova, curator of the globetrotters’ archive, said during the presentation today.

The book contains some 200 documents such as maps, private letters and material related to the protagonists’ studies, and more than 500 photographs.

Zikmund actively assisted in preparing the book. He checked all the texts and added a lot of new information and data to them, Emmert said.

Zikmund told journalists that while checking the texts, he remembered a number of facts he neither said or wrote before. He also discovered a number of photographs he never saw before.

“I learnt a lot of things long after Jirka’s departure, after we criss-crossed the world together,” Zikmund said.

He and Hanzelka took about a quarter of million photographs on their trips.

The launching of Emmert’s book is one of the events marking the 70th anniversary of the Hanzelka-Zikmund tandem’s first trip. In 1947, they set off for a three-year journey across Africa and South America.

In the following years, they visited more than 80 countries, wrote more than 20 books and successfully promoted Czechoslovakia and the Czech-made Tatra abroad. They described their expeditions in radio programmes and 150 short and four long documentaries.

After Hanzelka and Zikmund condemned the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops in August 1968, the communist regime banned them from travelling and issuing books.

After the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia, Zikmund visited Australia, which he and Hanzelka skipped during their second expedition, and he revisited Siberia and Sri Lanka.

Zikmund has received numerous awards for his achievements, including a high state decoration, the Order of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, bestowed on him by President Milos Zeman in 2014.

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