Trip to Czech Republic – Bohemian Paradise

DAY 1: Journey to Liberec (24th October 2014)
Transports:
Flight Lisbon to Prague (TAP): 108€
Prague airport to Cerný Most (bus + metro): 32 CZK (± 1.16€)
Prague to Liberec (Student Agency Bus): 3.5€
Bus station to students’ hostel (bus): 20 CZK (± 0.73€)
Accommodation: Students’ Hostel of the Technical University of Liberec – 2440 CZK/4 nights/2 pax (± 11.20€/night/pax)
DAY 2: Zittau, Görlitz (Germany), Zgorzelec (Poland) (25th October 2014)
Transports: Libnet + (trains and buses in Liberec region) – 320 CZK/4 pax (± 2.95€/pax)
Restaurant: Dornspachhaus restaurant, Zittau (11€/pax)
DAY 3: Hike from Liberec to Jablonec nad Nisou (26th October 2014)
Places visited: Janov nad Nisou, Jablonec nad Nisou
Transports: train (Jablonec nad Nisou to Liberec) – 70 CZK/4 pax (± 0.64€/pax)
DAY 4: Hike from Karlovice-Sedmihorky to Turnov (27th October 2014)
Transports: Libnet + (trains and buses in Liberec region) – 320 CZK/4 pax (± 2.95€/pax)
Restaurant: Bílý Mlýn restaurant, Liberec – 797 CZK/2 pax (15€/pax)
DAY 5: Prague (28th October 2014)
Transports:
Liberec to Prague (train): 437 CZK/3 pax (± 5.50€/pax)
Malostranská to Prague airport (metro + bus): 32 CZK (± 1.16€)
Flight Prague to Lisbon (TAP): 109€

The original plan was to visit Theresienstadt concentration camp, located in the city of Terezín. To go there from Liberec we had to catch several trains, thus, we had to leave early. However, my brother had a meeting with his teacher at about 09:30, so we had to find another activity for that day, 27th October 2014.
We had enjoyed so much the hike on the previous day that we thought to go hiking again. After some research in the internet, we decided to visit the Bohemian paradise.

IMG_8586Once again, we bought the Libnet + ticket. We caught the train from Liberec to Turnov, where we waited for the train that took us to Karlovice-Sedmihorky station.
We left Karlovice-Sedmihorky station and looked for the blue trail, which took us to a long and beautiful avenue.
We made a short stop to find a geocache that was hidden near the bowling restaurant. That one was incredible! One of the best geocaches we ever found! The container was a bowling ball, which was very appropriate for that place. Great container!

IMG_8611A few meters ahead, we saw what looked like an educational farm. Next to that farm there was a picnic table. We decided to stop there to eat our lunch. Although we were comfortable seated, it was windy and that place was a bit exposed to the freezing wind. So, we didn’t stay there longer than we needed. As soon as we finished our meal, we went back to the trail.

We passed by a beautiful building in front of which there were several buses and persons. I learned later that that place is a former spa.

We were now inside the forest. We followed the blue trail until it joined the yellow one. We walked for about 400 to 500 meters in the yellow trail and then we left it to go by a trail that was marked on the map that JB had on his cellphone.

Bukovina Arboretum

Bukovina Arboretum

According to the map, that trail connected the place where we were with Bukovina Arboretum. However, it disappeared when we were halfway to the arboretum. We decided to continue, even without a trail. Although we had succeed to arrive at our destination, we should have followed the marked trail all the way round to Arboretum, instead of going by an unmarked trail.

Bukovina Arboretum, created in the 1860’s, is one of the first areas in central Europe where North American tree species were planted.

We went in there not only to visit the park, but also to find a geocache. We followed the coordinates and…voilà! We found the large container that had several toys inside, as well as the biggest travelbug we ever saw.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

I don’t know for what reason we wanted to go back to the yellow trail instead of following the red one that passes by the arboretum, but, once again we followed a trail that was only marked in the map. Of course this was not the best option and, once again, we found ourselves in the middle of the forest outside any marked trail. However, we were not the first ones to be walking in there, there were slight marks of people going by that way.
We finally reached the yellow trail and we made no more detours.

Along the way we found several educational stations where one who reads Czech can learn about the fauna and flora of that zone.

IMG_8716Suddenly, we were walking between giant sandstone towers that seemed to come from nowhere. Those rocks have been shaped by water, wind, ice and humans into unique and curious shapes.
Along the trail we passed by two viewpoints from where we admired the beauty of that area and we understood why it is called Bohemian paradise. It’s true, it is a paradise!

Wallenstein Castle

Wallenstein Castle

Just before we reached the red trail, we made a quick stop next to “Hrad Valdštejn” (Waldstein Castle), the first and only castle that we saw on our trail.
This castle, dated from 1260, is the oldest castle in the Bohemian paradise. It is accessible to the public as a walking destination since the first half of the 19th century.

We went to the bridge of the castle, which is decorated with baroque statues, but, since the castle was closed, we could not go further.

About 1 Km from Waldstein Castle, there’s an isolated sanstone rock called Hlavatice Lookout Rock. From the top of Hlavatice Lookout Rock, which is accessible by a spiral staircase that comprises 36 steps, one has a wonderful view of the city of Turnov and of the surrounding area.

Just before we arrive at an habited area, we passed by some curious wooden scultures, a labyrinth, heart shaped chairs and table… We felt a bit intrigued by all those constructions. What’s the purpose of it? What’s their meaning?

Jewish cemetery

Jewish cemetery

We left the red trail at mesto Turnov station, and started following the green one. A few minutes later, we passed by a Jewish Cemetery, which was founded around 1720. Another trace of the Jewish presence in Turnov is the synagogue, which is nowadays open to visitors. This synagogue, dated from 1919, was the only synagogue in North Bohemia to survive the Nazi occupation.

It was almost night when we caught the train back to Liberec.

On that day we had dinner at Villa Bily Mlyn, a restaurant located near the place where we were staying – Students’ Hostel of the Technical University. We were very happy with that choice. The food was tasty and the place was calm and nice. We were surprised by the way they have to show the desserts menu. The waiter brought us a tablet where one can see the pictures of the available desserts, some of them could be rotated in order to see the dessert from all angles. It was impossible to resist. JB and I ordered a dessert of chocolate and red fruits for both of us. It was really good!

It was our last night in Liberec…

Gallery

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