The Czech Tourist Authority has launched a campaign to encourage Czechs not to go abroad on their holidays but rather spend their vacations in the many remarkable places their home country has to offer. As part of the "Beautiful Country" project, Czech celebrities are cycling 1,500 km to encourage people to "discover home".
From spring to autumn, Fridays are typically the days with the busiest traffic in Prague. The reason is that many people like to spend the weekend outside Prague, at their weekend houses or cottages, away in the country. And even if they use other means of transport to get to work on other days, on Friday they will take their car and leave for the country straight from work after their shift ends, and sometimes even a little earlier.
The summer holidays turned sour for 300 Czechs who arrived in Croatia on Saturday, only to find out that their travel agency had not arranged their stay in hotels, or their journey back. According to a 1999 law, insurance against bankruptcy is obligatory for travel agencies. Nevertheless, every year a certain number of Czech tourists find themselves abandoned in foreign countries. The case of the Harmonie Medical travel agency is not the first, and most likely not the last, this year.
A beautiful stretch of forest, a sublime morning mist, softly rounded hills, and here and the twists and turns and occasionally roiling water of the Vltava river - that is what awaited several of us last week on a trip to a friend's cottage in southern Bohemia. A chance to get away from the city, away from radio news and queues and streets filled with tourists and the cars and trams ringing their bells and rolling their way outside the window at all hours of the night. A chance to get away. It began with a bottle of Fernet bitter...
Food is one of life's pleasures. People like talking about it, they like watching it prepared on TV and more than anything they love eating it. Some people I know read cook books the way others read a novel or detective story. And one of the most passionate TV debates I ever saw was not about the war on Iraq or the monthly salaries of Czech politicians. It was an argument between a farmer and a vegetarian.
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