This time I took advantage of prolonged weekend due to another superb bank holiday in the Czech Republic and went for 3 days to Czech mountains Orlicke. Kralicky Sneznik was on my mind for quite a long time. The first time I was really thrilled about it, was when I watched downhill from 1 424 meters high hill on youtube. I thought, I must experience it first-hand and it happened.
We stayed in a little village called Stribrnice. Although there’re only two restaurants and one of them was grocery shop at the same time I found this location beyond reproach. There were more guest houses than guests itself, but I think locals make a living mainly during winter season, when ski lifts are open. The people we stayed at were really nice and friendly, they navigated us and showed the best ways for hiking and biking. They shared tips we couldn’t have found on the Internet. I was really pleasantly surprised.
The journey from Brno to Stribrnice took us about 2 hours. We chose the way through Svitavy, I was told this route is a bit dangerous, but we reached our destination safely. The cities we drove through were Letovice, Svitavy, Lanskroun, Stity, Cervena Voda, Kraliky and Stare Mesto. Beware of speeding, you need to limit your speed to 50 km per hour in the city. The other possibility is to take highway to Olomouc and then go through Mohelnice, Zabreh, Hanusovice and Stare Mesto, it's 20 kilometers further, but may be faster.
After arriving to Stribnice we decided to look around a bit, took off bikes from carrier and got ready for a short drive. From Stribrnice it was about 2-3 kilometers on a blue path to Stare Mesto, where I recommend a confectionery in front of the gas station, they serve delicious snacks and sweets. Because there is not much to do besides gorging ourselves, we decided to go to Dolni Morava. A place where the longest in the Czech Republic bobsleigh is situated , attractions for kids are provided and it seems as if it was some kind of a ski resort comparing to surrounding villages. There was disk golf, so popular in The Czech Republic, climbing wall and other attractions for people who seek them. In addition leaflets with maps are available at cash-desks. Dolni Morava was also a good option as a starting point, there’re many hiking and cycling paths to nearby summits. Unfortunately I wasn't overjoyed with service at restaurant U Slona, we waited for over an hour for food that has never arrived, because they actually run out of burger meat. We were given the money back and we left with empty stomachs.
When “the” day has arrived, we were prepared. From Stribrnice it was approximately 8 kilometers to Kralicky Sneznik , which didn’t seem much, but locals warned us that this is a whole day trip. And now I believe it completely. It took us more than 4 hours of constant pedaling uphill, if you add breaks for food, beer and whatever it will definitely end up in the evening.
How to get there...After sign “Stribrnice” go straight on, a sign with direction will appear after several hundred meters. You should follow yellow trail. There’re two possibilities however: the yellow path turning a bit left is shorter and directs through picturesque forest, it is steep though. The second option is more suitable for cyclists, it’s longer but go on pavement. Both will lead you to Navrsi chalet. At the top of the mountain is restaurant and you can buy something to drink or eat. Then we followed yellow path again, after few kilometers it changed to a red one at Nad Adelirym prm, which we followed until the very summit. There’s a part of the path that is forbidden to cyclists, but none of them seemed to take care of it. They cycled as if they didn’t notice the sign, jumped over the rocks and disappeared really fast. The last two kilometres were not accessible on a bike, unless you are a professional rider. There were few daredevils, who were able to ride on rocks swiftly and deftly passing by tourist. I was amazed ….
The weather that day wasn’t so bad, but I felt like the temperature went down every 100 meters we were higher. From short sleeves at the bottom of the mountain we changed to several layers on top of it. It was cold and misty, the view… I couldn’t tell because I didn’t see on my own eyes, but it was astonishing from the pictures I saw on the Internet. We didn’t stay long on the top of the mountain. Because it was freezing cold, we moved further. It was recommended to us to go back through Poland, because the way for cyclists is much better, therefore on a summit we moved left as the sign "Schronisko Chata" showed, hoping that we'll find further directions on the Polish side of the mountain. We're not mistaken, from“Chata” we followed the yellow path directing to Stronie Śląskie. Hiking yellow path links with bicycle blue path, so you can follow the blue one, but pay attention to yellow one as well:) unfortunately we discovered it after a while, because it was not marked there.
Cycle paths in Poland are marked way worse than the Czech's one, there’re places the roads are not marked at all and places there’re several different paths and you don’t know which number to follow. Sometimes it’s better to look around for road signs directing to cities.
You might have also noticed that Poles write the time it should take to cover the distance, but we actually do not write the number of km. So you know you’ll hike for an hour and 15 minutes or so but if you don’t have a map with you, you won’t know how much kilometers it was. Funny, isn’t it? I wonder who was the pioneer who calculated the times :)
But getting back on track...we didn’t go exactly to Stronie Śląskie as it seemed too far away, but we went all way down to Kletno then Stara Morawa, Bolesławów and Nowa Morawa. Cycle paths 5257 and 5256. From that place it was only about 3 kilometers to Czech borders called Kladske Sedlo, and that’s the last distance uphill.
I was surprised by the fact that there's a restaurant and place to sleep, we had a short break before getting back home. From Kladske Sedlo we just moved down the street and cycle path 6114 back to Stribrnice. The road is new and renowated, so it was easy to get high speed. We finished after 40 kilometers completely exhausted and hungry.
On the 3rd day we planned to go to Paprsek, unfortunately my boyfriend's bike refused to cooperate. When we woke up on Sunday morning it turned out he had flat tire. It changed our plans a bit as we forgot to take the pump (Tip: Always take a bike pump specially when you have sport valve like presta ;) ). Since we didn't have the whole day for hiking, we decided to drive the car as close as possible and then hike. Paprsek chalet is entirely accessible by car, but we parked at Medvedi bouda (Bear shack) and walk the red path for 2,5 kilometers. The way to Paprek chalet goes from Kuncice city. From Stribrnice you need to go in direction to the Stare Mesto, but turn left to Kuncice, when appropriate sign appears. There's also a billboard advertising and directing to Paprsek ski centre. By the way, food in a restaurant on top looked and smelled delicious. It's a pity we were after breakfast.
When returning home, just to diversify the way we went to an observation tower Val in Kraliky-Dolni Hedec. It was a bit complicated to get there due to roadworks,but we managed. You should follow the road no. 43 as if you were directing Kraliky and Cervena Voda, just behind the big crossroad in Kraliky there should be signs directing to Dolni Hedec and monastery. I personally think it was a nice way to say goodbye to mountains, as once again we could admire the view. Tower is 34,5 meters high, but the balcony is situated at 22 meters. The entrance was free and it is open all year round. When stepping the stairs you feel how the construction trembles with the wind. I didn't feel fully safe there, so my visit ended quickly.
There's also one bigger observation tower, maybe even more interesting that the one described, in Cervena Voda called Krizova Hora. Signs directing are visible from the main road number 521. Unfortunately it was too late for us to go there, during summer it's open only until 5 o'clock. The entrance free is 20kc.