Country cottage mania
Ask a few Czechs where they are likely to be spending the end of the year and many will give you the same answer - at their country cottage. The tradition of country cottages stretches back over half a century and today it is hard to find a family which does not own one or have access to one through family and friends. Although sociologists predicted that the fall of communism would bring about a radical change, country cottages remain an important part in people's lives.
Czechs have more country cottages than any other nation in the world - with the exception of the Swedes. A country cottage is one's second home - a hideaway from the hectic pace of life in the big cities. People jump into their cars and head for their country cottage every Friday afternoon for a long relaxing weekend and although many families now enjoy holidays abroad they still spend the greater part of their five weeks paid leave at their country cottage.
Either way an invitation to someone's country cottage means you are well liked. So go for it and do as the Romans do. Whether it is mushroom picking, fishing or tasting home made brandy ahead of the Sunday roast. By the way no prizes for guessing where the Czech Prime Minister is spending the Christmas holidays and New Year's Eve - tucked away in his country cottage with his wife Zuzana and his dog Andy.