Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Veselice observation tower

Veselice-observation Tower

My first solitary trip that I am very proud of. I actually spent a quality time with ...myself, wandering through forest, listening to squeaking trees and sounds of the nature. I had time to dwell on the past, think about present and plan the future. I’m definitely going to repeat that sometime in the near future.

The place I planned to visit is an observation tower, this time in Veselice, on so called Podvrsi hill. I decided to get to Blansko by train and then follow on foot several kilometres on a blue trail. If you don’t feel like walking you can get into one of the buses in Blansko(number 223 and 233) get as far as to Oburka, then just follow 2 or 3 kilometres. As always the easiest possible way is to get there by car, head to Blansko, pass the main bus station and at the roundabout direct at Sloup and then go around 9 km to Blansko-Techov and Vavrinec , Veselice is a part of Vavrinec. If you take a careful look at the neighbourhood you’ll notice the tower from your car. The parking spot is situated just several hundred metres from the tower.

My little adventure started in Blansko, where I was standing in front of main station looking for a blue  trail, which actually  should be there as it was suggested on the Observation tower’s webpage. But here I was standing with no map and no signs of a blue trail. Here comes my advice, always have a map with yourself, no matter how well you know the city. I’ve been to Blansko several times and I’ve never noticed that there’re only green trials directing to places like Sloup or different caves. But because I’ve already been to Veselice observation tower before, I knew I had to move toward the city centre until I reach the chateaux. The blue trail was visible as soon as  I reached Dvorska street, then I followed it all the way to the small lake at the outskirts of the city and moved straight to forest. The whole area of Moravian Karst is gorgeous with its rock formations and the greenest forests I’ve ever seen, and this path was nothing different. I walked along the brook, passed charming places, where one could seek inspiration, stopped for a while just to take a breath and take a photo. It took me a while, because there were many lovely and marvellous  spots I wanted to show you.

Comparing to trails around Skalny Mlyn and caves, this path wasn’t very popular, only few people passed me by. So if you’re fond of let’s say desolated places, that's a perfect match. The tour took me about 2-3 hours in one way. It’s about 7 km’s. It seemed as if it was all the way up from Blansko. I kept to the blue trail until the very end of my trip. Bear in mind that blue trail directs to Oburka at the beginning, not Veselice. But once you reach village, you’ll see sign directing to Veselice observation tower (rozhledna in Czech language). There’re few restaurants you can visit on your way. One is at the observation tower, actually the restaurant in behind the tower if you go from Blansko city. The other is 1,5 km from the tower, there’re also some pubs at the lake and of course some in the city.

Honestly, I didn’t feel like I was absolutely delighted with the view from the tower, it was nice but definitely didn’t swept off feet. I was more pleased with beautiful landscapes on the way. It was quite interesting though that from 621 meters above sea level with good visibility it’s possible to see a mountain Kralicky Sneznik in Eastern Sudetes or observation tower Babi Lom in Lelekovice. And everything that if you climb 168 steep stairs.



Friday, 10 May 2013

Reckovice-Lelekovice-Vranov-Mokra Hora-Reckovice bike tour

Back on track.

Don't you agree with me that bank holiday in the Czech Republic is a perfect occasion to set off a trip? Day off at work plus ideal sunny weather just beg to go out. I couldn't resist, I hope so did you. 

I decided to go on a bike, a few hour “expedition” and here I started my adventure in Reckovice district. There is a bicycle path number 5231 several hundred meters behind my house. Signs directing to different destinations are dotted around quite often, so it's rather impossible to sidetrack. But before you get to the signs you should find a little bridge above the highway to Svitavy, then go along the railway track. You can also ride on Banskobystricka street, the one where tram 1 goes and turn right on Vazneho street as soon as you reach terminus. Then the signs should direct you.
The bicycle path goes through Mokra Hora, a residential district, then it’s possible to admire people’s garden located almost in the forest, to which I run afterwards. I took left once I reach a pond, there’re also directions on the post. I headed towards Vranov on the red track, but before that Lelekovice city and uphill road to Babi Lom waited for me. After tedious 2 kilometers, I turned right to Vranov, it’s only few kilometres more to overcome.  On the left side however, there’s a road to Babi Lom observation Tower I wrote about in January. The first 16 kilometres were tremendously difficult, as the road lead up, the maximum attitude I reached was 579 meters above sea level. But those views.... Then it was only better, downhill was absolutely fantastic, exactly as it should be: fast and pelirious. From Vranov I searched for the way back to Mokra Hora and I found it. First I followed Brezina street, a huge sign Brno might be a hint, after several hundred meters I passed cemetery on my left side, and went down the street to Brno-Utechov district. Don’t overspeed here, because right behind the bus station is a blue path I followed and you should do it as well if you wish to end this trip with not more than 30 km on the meter. In order to get there, I turned right and follow the path. I stopped for a moment at stud, watched horses, took some photos and marvel at ambient nature. I couldn’t believe I am just few kilometres from my house, this vicinity is just amazing. Beware on the way to Brno Mokra Hora, because the road is under reconstruction. You’ll drive out from the forest and find yourself at the same pond you’ve been few hours before. Now, the way back is probably known to you.

To be honest this tour was more demanding than I originally thought, but it's definitely worth it. I felt that I was the moment of course, however once I got back home I wasn't able to move my fingers.

An interesting alternative might also be beer bicycle path Petra Bezruce, which starts in Reckovice part of the city and ends in Cerna Hora, a city famous for its brewery. From Reckovice to Vranov it merges with bicycle path 5231, but then you need to take other direction-in this case: Sebrov, Bukovec and go on to Cerna Hora. It's 26,8 km to get there. Unfortunately train does not go to Cerna Hora, so you need to either save your strenght for the way back, stay at the brewery hotel or drive to the closest train station in Rajec-Jestrebi remoted 6 kms from Cerna Hora, jump the train and safely return home. I haven’t tried it out yet, but when I do I will share with you...

Have fun :)

Friday, 3 May 2013

Vranov nad Dyji

Vranov nad Dyji, Chateau+Reservoir

 In my humble opinion one of the most impressive  chateau I’ve seen so far.  It emerges on the hill making itself visible from the city. Beautiful and spectacular. View that remains in memory for a long time.

As far as I know getting there by public transport from Brno is quite a challenge. Train goes only to Sumna city remotes 8 kilometres from Vranov nad Dyji . To make it even worse, it takes about 3 hours with 1 or 2 changes to get there. I’m unfortunately not aware of any transportation from Sumna to Vranov, but I’m guessing that a bus runs there. Based on the information posted on the chateau’s official website, there is a shortcut(6 km) through the Switzerland valley. So if you’re fond of strolls, just keep walking. In addition, during July and August transportation between castle and Vranov reservoir is provided. 

Definitely the fastest and easiest means of transport is your own car, just fuel the tank, grab some friends and fasten your seat belts. You should pass Rajhrad, Pohorelice and Znojmo on your way. It’s only about 20 km’s from Znojmo and around 100 km’s from Brno, depending where you live. 

Before we went to the chateau, we dropped by observation view point located on the road about 1,5 km from the chateau, there’s so called love bridge, where people put locks in order to show the infinity of their love. Romantic as the view itself. It’s a good point to start your trip, gaze on the chateau for a while from afar and imagine how it looked like in seventeenth century. You can also climb a bit higher to the nearby hill, I bet view is even more breathtaking.

Parking directly at the castle is prohibited, therefore we parked at the chateau’s restaurant in the city centre and follow yellow trail for 1 km. There’s also the second possibility: follow the yellow trail in the opposite direction for 4,5 km. This route is longer and goes through the city. The 1 kilometre route goes next to the river then turns right and goes straight to the forest. Once you reach your destination, there're three tours to choose from: interiors, garden and chapel. I went on interior tour that last about 70 minutes. During that time I heard essential information about chateau's history and  families that occupied this place thorough ages. We moved swiftly from chamber to chamber, from one dining room to another and from eastern wing to western or southern corridor.

The merit content of the tour is so immense that it's quite impossible to remember everything, but if you want to check out any information you missed from the tour then Chateau's official website is prepared perfectly for such situations. It's loaded with information, beginning with history to elaborate description from the tour. I think it's a  bit strange, because tourists, who are interested in history can gather all necessary information on the website, they don't even have to visit Vranov Nad Dyji. What's more Chateau's website contains panoramical photos of the interiors as well as other illustrations. The truth is that photos don’t bring out the beauty of the place and you must see it with your own eyes if you want to feel the atmosphere of this baroque chateau.

Tours are mainly organized in Czech language, however description in foreign language is provided if necessary. As a matter of fact is that you might not have the time to read it all and look at what you're reading about at the same time, as everything is happening so fast. 70 minutes seem really long, but it's not much if you really want to look closely at every detail. Maybe individual tour is an option?

Our tour started at the Hall of Ancestors, which overwhelms by its magnitude. Vivid fresco painted by J.M. Rottmayr decorates the ceiling, allegorical theme so popular for baroque style, also got its place there. Huge statues of key representatives of the chateau looked down on us. I can imagine that this void and cold space today, was full with eminent people in seventeenth or eighteenth century.

 Through Entrance Hall we moved to Pignatelli bedroom and great dining room. Walls were covered with linen wallpaper, each embellished with different patterns-predominant motive here was flowers and nature. In the southern wing rooms like formal salon, blue salon, oriental salon, embroidery room or bathroom were placed. All covered with wallpaper, but each kept in slightly different style, depending on the owner of the room The most interesting for me was bathroom and respirium. 
Bathroom was situated between rooms with spherical bath in the middle of the room, and respirium- a place where people rest after a bath. There was nothing else than fireplace, small bench and painting of Edward Adam Stadnicki wearing the traditional costume of the Polish aristocracy. The last part of the tour took us to the west wing showing gentleman’s salon, Swiss rooms, picture gallery , StanisÅ‚aw Mniszek’s study and library. I especially liked decor of the Swiss rooms, which originally served as a guest rooms. There’re painting of the mountains and beautiful natural landscapes. The place in central part of the room was designated for vase presenting a Dionysian feast.

Besides the chateau, there is Vranov reservoir several kilometres by the city. I think season starts in mid May or June, because during our visit it was still empty. But definitely in the summer people from neighbouring cities can benefit from it, as there’re many restaurants, points of fast food, cafes or ice cream shops. It’s a good place to relax, sunbath or swim. There’s “beach”, indeed without sand, but still perfect place to spend a sunny Sunday on. Similarly to Prehrada reservoir in Brno, ferry-boat is offered here.