Spring and the cottage nation

In Czechs, Life, Nature on April 27, 2011 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , ,

During the dark times of communism Czechs had only a few genuine “free time” activities. They included gardening and spending weekends (and sometimes the whole summer months) at cottages. These two activities have survived. And since it is spring, most cottages have been “woken up”.

Basically, there are two basic types of said real estate property. One, a little garden: it is a piece of land usually surrounded by many many similarly sized pieces of land. On this piece of land stands a tool shed or maybe a small hut that offers the most basic features. People grow their own produce, mostly for their own consumption. Especially pensioners like to spend free time there, making nice flower beds and vegetable patches. These small gardens are usually located in the same town as the owner’s permanent residence address.

Cottages, on the other hand, are weekend getaway houses many Czechs head to on Fridays. Friday afternoon traffic jams are largely caused or created by weekend drivers (people who do not use their cars on weekdays). There are many levels of luxury when it comes to Czech cottages. Many of them do not even have permanent water supply and heating (they are not used in winter, as mentioned above – see photo), while some look like regular houses that people live in all year long. In fact, many people, having retired, move to their cottages (if they offer wintertime comfort) and leave their regulated-rent apartments in cities to their adult children (some cities have recently adopted regulations forbidding this practice).

People who live permanently in small villages often dislike their weekend neighbors. Mostly due to the fact that while they want to rest after a long week at work, the cottage-goers like to spend a day mowing their lawns or burning grass or leaves. They also excessively use the local infrastructure for which they do not pay (as they are not permanent residents). This is why a regulation exists that became known as the “lawnmower regulation” – it forbids the use of motor-operated mowers, saws and other machinery on Saturdays and Sundays.

One Response to “Spring and the cottage nation”

  1. Love Prague and the little traffic in the city when it empties during the summer weekends. It looks like Czechs would give up living in the golden city any time if they could get a telecommuting job and work from the country-side.

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