Sunday, 14 December 2014

X-mas Markets in the Czech Republic

Christmas market

If you haven’t done so yet, it’s a high time to warm yourself with mulled wine, hot honey or punch. In fact the selection is much more diversified and varied. Czechs presented their originality and innovation in creating alcoholic mixtures. Drinks such as Zjezdar or Spalena Malina are quite popular this year, but don’t you bother asking what’s inside, cause it’s pretty insane.

Of course, no one forgot about kids. There’re plenty of beverages for them as well. Hot juices with gummy bears probably scores the highest number of points, but traditional hot chocolate is also served.

Stop at one of the many Christmas booth to fill up your stomach with sweet or salty specialties. Bramborak and trdelnik are two best sellers at the Christmas markets in the Czech Republic. As far as I’m concerned long thin sausages called cigaro, smoked hot ham and pancakes are also placed quite high on popularity lists. Join the longest queue seeing that it’s likely the most delicious food on the whole square. It’s been two weeks since the opening, so people already get to know what’s best out there.

You may combine business with pleasure and buy some Christmas gifts while indulging your hot wine. Candles, hand-made scarfs, caps or gloves, Christmas decorations, toys and books- those’re only few ideas among many.
Every day from 9 a.m. to around 9 p.m during the Advent you may visit Christmas markets in Prague, Brno, Ceske Budejovice, Cesky Krumlov, Olomouc and many others. Special events, Christmas concerts etc. also take place at Czech castles or in smaller cities. Those fairs don’t last the whole Advent, but only a particular weekend for example. Just follow one of the Czech event’s calendar or Unfortunately most of the sites are not available in English.

Whenever you choose to go, the atmosphere in the heart of the city is cheerful and merry. Some people have their ideal spot already chosen, some are still searching. Some people know exactly where they will eat perfectly baked trdelnik, others are still confused. Some people know which queue to join for a mulled wine spaced superbly, others are discoverers and would like to sample as much as they can. The key thing is that everyone is happy with their choice and the time they spend outside with friends and families.

This year we’ve been on Christmas markets in Brno and Olomouc. Even though food and beverages are the same, cities are not alike and thus it’s a great idea to set off for a one day trip to see the difference with your own eyes. Olomouc is only around 70 kilometers away from Brno. The city centre with its Holy Trinity Column, which was included in the UNESCO list, is the second most important monument zone in the Czech Republic. Imagine an old Town Hall embellished with Christmas lights, booth dotted around the Holy Trinity Column and merry-go-round in the heart of Olomouc. Just amazing. There’re much more to see if you find some time: Town hall Tower, astronomical clock, Baroque St. Michael’s Church, Baroque fountains and many others that may make your time more enjoyable.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Jetrichovice-The Dittersbacher Peak

Educational path Jetrichovicke steny

We spent the last day of our trip climbing from one viewing point to another, hiking not more than 14 kilometers, admiring breathtaking panoramas and taking as much of those memories as we can with ourselves.

We started in Mezni Louka, took bus to Jetrichovice (bus station: Jetřichovice, ObÚ) and follow the red trail, which goes through Mariina’s Rock, Vileminina’ Wall, Purkarticky forest and Rudolf’s Stone next through Ceska Silnice, Saunstejn castle and Small Pravcicka Gate back to Mezni Louka. There’s also a shorter version-for those who choose it, the hike will end right after climbing the Rudolf Stone. Follow the red path until you reach a crossroad-then follow green path back to Jetrichovice.

Don’t me mistaken by the short distance. Even though it is 14 or 7 kilometers only, reserve a whole day for it. Climbing the viewpoints is not only strenuous but also time consuming. Count at least 30 to 45 minutes more for each. We started at 9 a.m. o’clock and finished around 5 p.m., while the sole hiking-more than 30 thousand steps took us “only” 4 hours. In case you have enough time, I strongly recommend visiting all the points I mentioned above. Every and each of them carry out new sensation and feeling. Every and each have different ascent and unique panorama on the surrounding uplands. Finally every and each tell different story about its origin.

  • Mariina’s Rock, which previously carried the name Velky Ostry (German: Grosse Spitzigen) was renamed after Princess of Lichtenstein in 1856. Back when started the campaign helping the reconstruction of all the significant and meaningful observation points in the region. 
  • The platform on the previously called Cerna Stena rock (German: Schwarze Wand) emerged after 1825 and was named after Rudolf Kinsky’s wife. The forest surrounding Vileminina Stena is overgrown with white panes. 
  • Not long after prince Rudolf Kinsky managed to climb the “Vysoky kmen” rock (German: Hohen Stein) in 1824 at its summit a wooden summer-house was built. It was the oldest standing arbour in Jetrichovice. Today it protects from heavy wind those, who succeed at the peak, back in XIX century it served a forest ranger Johan Ramisch as a fire lookout. 
  • Ceska silnice was the old trade route extending from Bohemia to Saxony. It used to serve also as a border between two neighbouring families: Clary-Aldringen and Kinsky. Nowadays it’s a cycle route number 3029 leading from Vysoka Lipa in direction to Germany.
  • Ruins of Saunstejn castle called also thief’s castle stands on the sandstone block wall, where you can get by climbing very narrow metal stairs. It’s quite a stunt, but I’ve seen very small kids or older people ascending there as well. The 70 meters long sightseeing point is connected with small bridges.
  • Small pravcicka gate-the last “attraction” on our way back to Mezni Louka compared to the biggest in Europe natural sandstone gate: Pravcicka Brana seem tiny, but it’s more than 2 meters high and 3 meters wide. Definitely an advantage is the fact that there’re not so many people here. You can easily take a photo with no one unwelcome on it. 

At the end of the day I felt knackered but satisfied and full of memories about Bohemian Switzerland
If I any have a chance I will definitely want to come back to Bohemian Switzerland and explore places I didn’t manage to visit within those 4 days. I’m pretty sure there’s much more to see than the most visited spots here.