Czech Republic - Broumov

Trip Start May 30, 2013
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30
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Trip End Dec 10, 2014


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Where I stayed
Penzion Selsky Dvur (Pekov)

Flag of Czech Republic  , Královéhradecký,
Saturday, August 10, 2013

Day 0: August 10, 2013

Arrival

That day we planned to travel across the Czech Republic - from Klatovy (western Bohemia) to a small village close to the city of Broumov (northeast Bohemia). It was approx. 350 km in total so it took us around 4 hours to get there. We were supposed to spend 5 days (till August 15, 2013) with a group of friends of my parents. Of course, as itīs popular to do sports in the Czech Republic we wanted to make a few biking trips, thus visiting many interesting places from the "bike" back :) It was just three of us coming (Tereza, Gonzalo and Terezaīs mum).


Day 1: August 11, 2013

Ruprechticky Spicak – Monastery of Broumov – Wooden Church of the Virgin Mary

Our first biking day and we overslept :) We woke up at 9.00 by accident and found out it was super late since we were supposed to be ready at 9.30. Finally we somehow sped up our morning preparations and made it without any serious problems.

According to Terezaīs uncle this track was supposed to be the most exhausting one with one quite long and steep uphill. The top of the hill is called “Ruprechticky Spicak”. It is situated 880 meters above the sea level on the borders between the Czech Republic and Poland. There is also a twenty-meter-high observation tower.

The way how we reached the top was quite funny. Even if Terezaīs uncle prepared and studied the track very well before we departed we got confused and were divided into 3 groups. The biggest group followed the original route (despite of initial hesitation that occurred after losing of the leader). Two guys decided to follow yellow signs for walking tourists. While Tereza and Gonzalo took “the golden mean” and decided for the way that was located between the previous two. Unfortunately we werenīt on the top of the hill at the moment when people started meeting each other over there, however, we believe that it must have looked like if a lot of red ants are coming back to the anthill :) Even though everybody had to climb with his bike pushing it up to the hill since it wasnīt possible to ride it (the surface was too steep and slippery), it seemed that our way was the worst :)

After reaching the top we went to the city of Broumov where the Benedictine monastery is situated from the 13th century.

The Benedictine monastery in Broumov belongs to the national cultural heritage of the Czech Republic. In the monastery's refectory there is exposed a copy of the so-called Turin Shroud, which was found in 1999. There was an accompanying document attached to the linen cloth, clearly explaining the whole donating process. Finally the copy was donated to the Monastery of Broumov.

There are about 40 copies all around the world; however, this is a real rarity of Central Europe, the only copy located to the north from the Alps. The copy of Broumov is almost identical to the original dimensions (4.36 m length and 1.1 m width).

After walking around the Monastery of Broumov for a while we had a cup of coffee in the local café and then continued our trip. A few meters later we stopped in front of a very old-looking church which turned out to be the wooden cemetery church of the Virgin Mary.

The wooden church of the Virgin Mary is the oldest preserved monument of the folk wooden architecture in the Czech Republic. It was probably established as soon as in 1177. The present shape of the cemetery church comes from 1449 – 51. Inside the church there are beamed ceiling with part of original decoration, rococo altar and late gothic figure of the Virgin Mary.

Todayīs ride was 42 kilometers long…quite pleasant and not so much tiring as we expected.


Day 2: August 12, 2013

Castle Ratiborice – Grandmotherīs Valley

As one of the ladies in the group was celebrating her birthday the night before and she threw a small “party” we decided to take it easy that day and ride only up to 36 kilometers. Our goal was to visit two monuments – Castle Ratiborice and Grandmotherīs Valley.    

Both places are known thanks to the novel “Babicka” (in English “Granny”) written by a famous Czech writer, Bozena Nemcova, who placed the plot of her novel to this area.  

We reached the Castle Ratiborice at 14.00 and unfortunately missed the guided tour that was starting exactly at 14.00. Another tour was scheduled for 15.00 but we werenīt sure if the rest of the group which is not so much interested in the history would be willing to wait for us so first we had to discuss a small change in the original plan with them. In the end we took the guided tour at 15.00 but only a short one.   

The Castle Ratiborice is known first of all as a summer residence of Katerina Bedrisky Vileminy Benigny Zahanske.  It was built in 1708 by Vavrinec Piccolomini, an owner of Nachod country, as a one-floor baroque castle with a chapel, in the style of small Italian summer estates.

In the second decade of the 19th century, a famous duchess Katarzyna Wilhelmina rebuilt the castle in the style of late classicism and empire. The beautiful duchess hosted in her estate a lot of famous persons, among others the tsar Alexander I and Austrian chancellor prince Metternich. At that time Ratiborice appeared on the pages of European history – secret negotiations of the later coalition against Napoleon took place here. The outstanding guests of the Schaumburg family in the Castle Ratiborice were among others: the emperor of Austria-Hungary Frantisek Joseph I, Danish kings Frederic VIII, Kristian X and William II – the king of Wittenberg.  The little palace and the neighboring landscape park are the arena where numerous cultural events, exhibitions, concerts, theatrical performances or sightseeing with the company of characters in historic costumes take place every year.

Then we headed to the Grandmotherīs Valley (in Czech language “Babiccino udoli”). Unfortunately we didnīt manage to see everything what we would like to. It was because normally all cultural monuments are closed on Mondays. Even if this rule has been recently changed, many points of interest maintain shorter opening hours which we didnīt know. Some of us were a little bit disappointed because we came to visit this place for the first time and most likely will never come back since itīs quite far from our homes. Well…shit happens :(

The Grandmotherīs Valley was declared part of natural cultural heritage in 1978. The house no. 7 (in Czech language “Stare belidlo”) belongs to the most visited places in the whole valley. Itīs caused by the fact that the above mentioned writer, Bozena Nemcova, spent there holidays with her own kids in 1844 and she had such a great time over there that later, when working on her famous novel, she decided to transmit her childhood memories to this place. Basically the novel is about her life as a little girl that spent with her family and her grandmother in this area. In fact, the writerīs childhood wasnīt so happy and peaceful as sheīs describing in her book, however, she tries to idealize it as much as possible which makes the novel successful.        

Todayīs ride was really easy, without any difficult uphills. Obviously relaxing…as promised by the group leader :)


Day 3: August 13, 2013

Teplice & Adrspach Rocks

Since everybody was quite tired and the weather forecast informed us about possible rain showers for that day we decided to slow down a little bit and made a hiking trip to the nearby Rocks. Hence we woke at 7.45 and departed at 9.00 from our guest house. First we went to see the Teplice Rocks and after lunch we headed to the Adrspach Rocks. Both rocks are very close to each other so from this reason this area is also called “Adrspach-Teplice Rocks” (Adrspach Rocks are actually more famous so they obviously took the first place in the name :)).

The Adrspach-Teplice Rocks are an unusual set of sandstone formations covering 17 kmē in northeastern Bohemia, Czech Republic. They are named after two nearby municipalities: Adrspach and Teplice nad Metují.

The rocks have been protected as a national nature reserve since 1933, and since 1991 the whole adjacent region of Broumovsko has enjoyed the status of protected landscape area. It is possible to visit the rocks via a number of marked trails. In recent years, the area has become a focus for the high-risk climbing-related sport of rock jumping.

People didnīt  know much about the rock labyrinths in the Adrspach and Teplice vicinity for centuries. Local settlers only ventured to go there if they felt endangered in their homes as they could find refuge in the narrow gorges and caves of the rock area. Only around 1700, the first tourists and hikers began to come here from the neighboring Silesia. In the 18th century, most of the labyrinth was covered with a dense beech and fit forest. The oldest depiction of the Adrspach Rocks dates back to 1739. The Rocks were visited by many prominent historical personalities such as the Prussian Queen Louise, the Emperor Josef II, Karl the Emperor of Austria, J.W. Goethe and many others. Nevertheless, the breathtaking formations of the Adrspach Rocks still remained unknown.

Both rock areas offer several marked tracks. We spent the entire morning in the Teplice Rocks where we did approx. 6-kilometer walk. First of all, we visited the Strmen Castle which used to be a guard castle and can be reached only after climbing 300 stairs. Adventurous and a bit adrenaline-like climbing is ended by steep ladder. Once we overcame all the obstacles we appeared on a rock that serves as a view place offering 360 degree panoramic view.

Later we were able to admire numerous symbols of the Teplice Rocks - Swallowīs nest, Butcherīs axe, Horse head, Snoopyīs head, Huckleberry Houndīs head, Skull, Sphinx, Great temple square, Indian Ink, Sea bear, Hand with an ice-cream etc.

After having a quick lunch we drove by cars to the Adrspach Rocks where we spent the entire afternoon. All the way we followed green signs that helped us to make another walking trip which was roughly 4 km long. According to the local guides to the most popular rock formations belong:
  • The Sugar Cone. Itīs the name of one of the strangest rock formation in the area. This amazing and surprising spire is standing upside down on its top. Itīs also considerably wide since at its top its height comes to 52 meters. Having 13 meters in diameter at the top and merely 3 meters in diameter at the bottom, the whole rock weighs about 40 000 kilograms. As it seems to be leaning once to the left and once to the right, many visitors being afraid of its collapsing walk by carefully :) From this reason, they also keep putting sticks to its foot so as to prevent the tower from falling down :)   
  • The Elephant Square. Itīs one of the gorges having the inverted microclimate (very favorable for the “cold” flora). It got its name after many elephant heads that are surrounding the gorge. 
  • The Devilīs Bridge. Itīs a rock formation that has twenty-one-meter-high vault. 
  • The Elsaīs Tower. No interesting comments :)  
  • The Big Waterfall. It walls into a rock gorge from the height of 16 meters. In order to convince the head of the Rocks to release a bigger stream of water we had to scream three times in Czech: “Krakonosi, dej nam vodu!”…and we succeeded :)
  • The Lovers. Measured from its foot at the Watercress Creek, the height of this huge massif, the tallest in the area, is nearly 100 meters with a ten-meter-high window between them. The rock was first climbed by 3 climbers in 1923.
  • The Mayor and the Mayorīs Wife. Both towers were first climbed in the twenties of the twentieth century. 
It was quite a busy day and even if we were a bit tired after walking more than 10 kilometers (up and down) we agreed it was definitely worth it. Especially for Gonzalo, it was an unforgettable experience since he has never seen any similar rock formations before.  
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