Friday, 30 January 2015

Ostra Horka- Sobesice, Brno

Are you staying in Brno for the weekend and have no plans? Would you like to go someplace, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the city centre again?

I’ve got a perfect idea. I can recommend visiting nearby observation tower in Brno-Sobesice. The hill is called Ostra horka.

Even though the tower is not enormously high-total height is 19.1 meter, the view will certainly make an impression on you. Without any doubt the attempt to climb the summit will chill you to the bone, especially during winter.The steel tower happens to lean, movements not visible with naked eye, but unquestionably easy to feel. Of course the higher you’re, the stronger you perceive them. But once you’re on the highest platform, 16 meters above ground, you may admire Brno at a glance. Every district, with its symbol may be observed. You will definitely be able to recognize places such as Spilberk castle, Petrov cathedral, Vinohrady or Lesna with their inique buildings. It’s a bit windy up there, so take extra cap or gloves to cover yourself, otherwise you will want to run away as fast as possible.

The observation tower construction took 3 years and it was opened in April 2008 for the first time. The total cost of the tower was 1.8 million Czech crown out of which 1 million was paid by the city of Brno and the rest was covered by sponsors and individual citizens of Sobesice.

This viewpoint is open all year round.

Because it’s only 4 kilometers from Brno-Reckovice we decided to set up on foot, instead of going by car around the whole city. We followed the yellow path, which goes along the forest. The trail is not boring at all, especially for a pregnant woman.

If you want to follow our steps, take a tram (no 1) or bus (no. 42,70) from City center to Reckovice and hop off on Koriskova stop. From the tram stop Koriskova, you will have to turn back, go to the crossroads and turn left to Koriskova street, then to Novomestska. Use the bridge above the highway E461 on the right side of the road. Go across the bridge and then right again and left. From there you should already see some yellow trail markings all the way to Sobesice.

You may also get to Sobesice by public transportation, bus 43 from Kralovo Pole main station goes straight there. Bus stop Dohnalova is the closest to yellow path. The same applies to bus no. 57 from Tomkovo square or Lesna main station, which goes to Utechov through Sobesice-bus stop Stepankova.

Enjoy your trip

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Stupava ski area, Chriby and Kazatelna

Stupava ski area and Chriby highlands

I probably won’t stop apologizing for not being with you every week. Well this time I blame Christmas, we spent more than 2 weeks in Poland, so no trips around the Czech Republic back then and later we returned to Brno and plunged into work.

But finally last weekend we were 50 km from Brno exploring Buchlovske Mountains as well as the ski area in Stupava, which is a small slope with two 350 meters long lifts, one 170 meters long lift and a kid’s lift. They can take up to 2500 people per hour, which is not much comparing to Austrian or Switzerland ski resorts, but enough no to wait in horribly long queues. There’re two red tracks and a blue one on top of the hill.

If you feel hungry or exhausted you can eat a proper meal and recover strength in a restaurant Akvarko on the other side of the street or go for a fast food at the booth next to the ticket office.

A week ago Stupava slope was easily recognizable as it was the only mountain covered with snow nearby. Interestingly the snow cover, even though it was technical, was the highest in neighbourhood. According to the website there’s as much as 100 cm of snow, which at that time was even more than in Beskids or Jesenik mountains.

Since yesterday the conditions in other ski resorts might have noticeably improve, nevertheless where else will you find a slope that close from Brno? Last year I was writing about Olesnice and Dalecin ski areas, which are also not by a great distance, but here the route is a way easier. Go to D1 in directions to Vyskov, then turn to Slavkov u Brna, go through Bucovice all the time on route no. 50. And then turn right to Stupava.

Just because the daylight ends, doesn’t mean the ride and fun does. Lighting allows the evening skiing as well. Stupava is open from 8.30 a.m. till 8.30 p.m every day except Friday when it’s open till 9 p.m. Even skiers and snowboarders living in Brno can go to Stupava after work for 2 or 3 hour ride.

Unfortunately I couldn’t test it personally because of my “condition”, but everyone looked cheerful and delighted. The hill seemed a bit steep though, but as they say: where you stand depends on where you sit. Even the very small kids rode with a smile of their faces, so it couldn’t have been that horrible.

For people, who like me cannot ski or snowboard this season I recommend hiking nearby Chriby highlands. You can travel the length and breadth of Chriby hills as they are loaded with hiking and cycle paths all around. From Korycany and the ruins of Cimburk castle to Kostelany western city, from Strilky and another ruins of castle to Buchlovice chateau. Unfortunately, at this time of the year most of the attractions are closed and can be viewed only from the outside. Late spring and summer are probably the best season to visit Chriby highlands. First of all you can derive from beech forests, one of the healthiest in the Czech Republic, second of all you can explore mystical castles, picturesque viewpoints like Brdo observation tower or impressive rock formations.

We’ve decided to take a 10 kilometer walk from Stupava to Kazatelna through 553 meter high hill Ocasek and back to Stupava. We parked at the ski area and move on concrete road in south-west directions, along the road goes also the cycle paths 473 and 5150 to Cimburk castle. At the “Nad Prehradou” we started following the green hiking path, which we changed to a red one at “U Misy studanka”. The red trail leaded us to Kazatelna, an 8 meter high unique and outstanding rock formation, which since 1967 is protected as a natural monument. The upper part of the rock was changed by human, steps were carved for an easier climb. It is said that the rock was used as a pulpit by Archbishop Methodius is 9th century, later by St. Clement’s from Augustinian monastery. In 1972 a cross was put on top of the pulpit. Climbing seemed a bit scary at first, but surrounding view set my mind at rest. We followed the red path until “Pod Ocaskem” and turned to green trail again. Before the mark “U hrobu” we turned left to unmarked path that leaded back to Stupava. We could have also followed the green path until we would reach Stare Hute and then returned back to Stupava from the other side, but it would make few kilometers more. Chriby, Buchlov castle and Brdo view point seemed to be very interesting places to see in summer, so see you soon in few months.