Sometimes it is hard to hear Czech language when you are strolling through the down town due to masses of visitors, but it is certainly harder during the weekend. Why? Because most Praguers simply disappear from the city every weekend and go to their cottages, cabins and/or grandparents who live in the countryside. The traffic jams are always bad on the exit from the city on Friday afternoon and entering the city on Sunday evening. Never heard of weekend cabin?
This "going to my cabin" phenomenon comes from the Communist time. It is therefore, more spread among the countries of the former Eastern blog. But the Czechs might be the cabin champions. It was a way to escape not only from the industrial city, but also from the regime and constant control. A little piece of land by the forest, field or the river where one could build a small wooden summer house was therefore not only modern, but a way to relax. However, the oldest cabin villages started even before the Communist regime, during the first republic when camping became popular and these first campers started to build more coherent camps along the rivers during their trips. There are three kinds of cabin settlements, little cabins build very closely together directly on the river bank, bigger cabins with bigger gardens in the settlements close by the rivers or lakes and lonely cabins hidden in the woods, or valleys.
And what do people do when do "go to their cabins"? It is not only about sun bathing and sipping on a cocktail under the fruit tree. Taking care of this little wooden house and garden is a lot of work. Most of the time, therefore, people spend working, but also going for trips, picking up mushrooms in the woods, making jam, grilling and having fun with their friends. Cabins very often become permanent summer homes for retirees, who reluctantly return to Prague in November and move back again in April. Some also really want to make their weekend as long as possible and drive home on Monday, very often directly to work. Younger people usually do not buy new cabins anymore as their parents and grandparents usually own one and they might inherit it one day. Every cabin is different! There are some which offer the comfort of a city apartment, but there are some with no running water, or even electricity. In the end, the main purpose of the cabin is to leave the city behind and get closer to the nature.
Going to cabin is unmistakable part of Czech culture, so do ask your Czech friends whether they have one. Maybe they will invite you to spend one weekend with them. You will certainly love it!
A big thanks to Bety & Tereza as this post originally appeared on their CzechPragueOut blog.
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