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Český kras, Czech Republic

Český kras, Czech Republic


Postby LucieK » Fri Jun 05, 2020 10:12 pm

Date walked: 08/09/2018

Time taken: 8

Distance: 25 km

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September 2018

After returning to hiking during my vacation (after a several years long pause), I didn’t feel like stopping with the end of the summer. The early September was quite warm and sunny, almost as it was saying, “get out there…”. And so one weekend, as my dad was visiting his siblings, I mentioned my plans for a day hike to my mom – a full day hiking, about 25 kilometres. She thought for a minute and said, sure, I can do that! (Her age at that time - 74). And so one Saturday early morning found us at the Prague main train station, boarding a train heading west toward Karlštejn, a train stop under a castle of the same name, and the area of Český kras.

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Karlštějn


CHKO Český kras is a national nature reserve with vast natural limestone landscape, canyons, caves, and trails, as well as castles, ruins of castles and other historical places. Each of those places we planned to visit is reachable by public transportation, so we knew we could always cut the hike short, if we started to run out of energy. But the hike is moderate most of the time with few steeper ascents. Short parts are on a road/tarmac (around castle Karlšejn, in the village Sv. Jan pod Skalou and around the town Beroun). The rest is forest paths. So we didn’t expect to run out of breath.

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We shared the train with many other day hikers and Scout groups, who got off at different stops, though majority of the trip goers exited the train at Karlštejn as well. What can I say, it’s a popular destination. We walked through the morning village, getting ready for the day’s onslaught of tourists and cleared the castle just in time, as the first buses started to come and the castle opened its doors for guided tours. Those are definitely worth the time and the village is lovely, but we wanted to be away from people that day.

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Karlštejn village


After a short walk on a tarmac, we were in the forest, on forest utility roads and paths, passing Dub sedmi bratří (Seven Brothers’ Oak) crossroad and followed the red and white mark toward the hamlet of Sv. Jan pod Skalou (St. John under the Cliff). We passed several points of interest along the trail - Králova studně (the King’s Well), a natural spring with a small stone and wooden structure above it (the water however is not for human consumption) and Bubovické vodopády (Bubovické waterfalls). Up until here, the trail was easy to moderate, but right before the waterfalls, there is a brief climb over the rocks that could be slippery, even in dry weather. There is wooden railings, which provides security for hikers though. Even though this place is called “waterfalls,” there hasn’t been much water for the past few years, due to increasing droughts. It was a rather sad view of the large stones, where you can see a water stream running in normal conditions, but completely dry now. You can walk in the dried out creek bed without getting so much as a drop on your shoes. The area is still quite nice though.

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Dub sedmi bratří (Seven Brothers’ Oak)

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Králova studně (the King’s Well)

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Bubovické vodopády (Bubovické waterfalls)


We continued our forest hike to a crossroad Propadlé vody (Sunken waters), where we turned toward Solvayovy lomy (Solvay’s quarries), old closed quarries turned to a skanzen – a living museum. On the weekends, you can take a guided tour of parts of the mines and a short ride in a restored mining “train.” There is also a small outdoor exhibition of the different types of stones found and quarried in the area.

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Solvayovy lomy (Solvay’s quarries)


Keeping an eye on the time, we decided not to take the tour of the quarries at this time and continued on our way, along the tops of some of the old quarries in this area, to the top of the cliff above the hamlet of Sv. Jan pod Skalou. We were rewarded with a beautiful 360˚ view of the area. And a lot of hikers. There isn’t that much space on the top of the cliff, so it can get easily crowded on nice, sunny days. We enjoyed a quick lunch with a view here and then headed down to the hamlet.

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a view from the cliff above Sv. Jan pod Skalou


The hamlet / village of Sv. Jan pod Skalou is small, but offers several historical buildings – a Baroque monastery of the Benedictine order, a Church of the Birth of St. John the Baptist, a Chapel of St. John the Baptist, or the Spring of St. Ivan (no longer suitable for human consumption). The church includes a cave where the 9th-century hermit Ivan lived.

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Sv. Jan pod Skalou


Leaving the hamlet, we yet again walked on a tarmac for a while, before diving back into the forest. Our next stop was the town Beroun and one of our possible end points for the trip, as it is on the main rail between Prague and Plzeň. The path went up and down the hills and I was little bit concerned about how my mom was doing. But she said, she was all good and surely, we’ll be able to do the whole trip as originally planned. So after reaching Beroun, we just continued onwards, to the village and ruins of old castle/fort Tetín. The road took us from the forest into fields with scattered hay balls, golden in the afternoon sun.

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on the way to Tetín

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There’s really not much left from the fort Tetín, basically just few walls, but the place offers a beautiful view of the surrounding area and the River Berounka. And unlike Sv. Jan pod Skalou, there was almost no one here. Quiet and peaceful.

Tetin.jpg
Tetín


The time suddenly seemed it started to rush toward the end of the day, so we didn’t spend too much time in Tetín and started on our way to Srbsko, our final stop and train station. Back into the forest and up and down the hills. All the day, my mom easily kept up with me, often walking ahead of me, but now she started to ask, how many hills were still there ahead of us... The fatigue started to settle in. I checked the topographic map on my phone and promised her, it was the last hill we needed to get across, after this it will be either downhill or on flat. “Well, I hope you’re right, ‘cause I don’t think I have another one in me…” I heard her say and saw her charge that last uphill part of the trip. We made it to Srbsko in time to get some coffee before the next train to Prague arrived.

Download the route here: https://my.viewranger.com/route/widget/MjI1MjQ3NQ==?locale=en&m=miles&v=2
or here: https://my.viewranger.com/route/details/MjI1MjQ3NQ%3D%3D
Last edited by LucieK on Sat Jun 06, 2020 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Český kras, Czech Republic

Postby Alteknacker » Fri Jun 05, 2020 11:18 pm

Great report on a lovely area, not at all well-known to Brits. Thanks for posting.

PS what a performance by your mum :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Český kras, Czech Republic

Postby LucieK » Sat Jun 06, 2020 10:50 am

Thank you Alteknacker!
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Re: Český kras, Czech Republic

Postby Mancunian » Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:31 pm

Cheers Lucie for your trip report. I found your walk really interesting, although it is just a bit too far away for me. Well I do not live in the UK but just on the other side of the border in Drážďany or Dresden. Therefore we often venture to the bohemian swiss/České Švýcarsko, the central bohemian uplands/České středohoří or the ore mountains/Krušné hory for our hiking trips. Now that the border has been reopened I am really loking forward to make a visit to these regions again. It is just wonderful there. Maybe we have to promote the beauty of the Czech Republic to our Scottish friends because the country is so much more than just Pilsner beer, Gulas and dumplings. :wink:
Congratulations also to your mum for making that long walk with you. I'd be more than happy if I could do walks like that with that age.
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Re: Český kras, Czech Republic

Postby onsen » Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:01 pm

Welcome back to the hiking life, Lucie...and for sharing your picturesque villages & countryside.
If I'm still out & about at your mum's age I'll be a very happy person, well done to her. :thumbup:
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Re: Český kras, Czech Republic

Postby LucieK » Tue Jun 16, 2020 9:59 pm

onsen wrote:If I'm still out & about at your mum's age I'll be a very happy person, well done to her. :thumbup:


You and me both! :lol:
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Re: Český kras, Czech Republic

Postby LucieK » Tue Jun 16, 2020 10:11 pm

Mancunian wrote:Cheers Lucie for your trip report. I found your walk really interesting, although it is just a bit too far away for me. Well I do not live in the UK but just on the other side of the border in Drážďany or Dresden. Therefore we often venture to the bohemian swiss/České Švýcarsko, the central bohemian uplands/České středohoří or the ore mountains/Krušné hory for our hiking trips. Now that the border has been reopened I am really loking forward to make a visit to these regions again. It is just wonderful there. Maybe we have to promote the beauty of the Czech Republic to our Scottish friends because the country is so much more than just Pilsner beer, Gulas and dumplings. :wink:
Congratulations also to your mum for making that long walk with you. I'd be more than happy if I could do walks like that with that age.



Hallo neighbor! It's nice to meet people who know / enjoy my country!
I will probably be heading to Bohemian Swiss this summer as well, as my original plans for walking the Swiss Alpine Pass/Via Alpina 1 have been postponed to next year due to the pandemic. I'm thinking about walking the Czech sections of E3 instead. It goes through some really nice areas, besides the Bohemian Swiss, so I'm quite looking forward to the possibility. And meanwhile I'm trying to find time to finish my reports from Bohemian Paradise and a hike to Sněžka from last year... as you said, there's more to this country than Pilsen Urquell, dumplings and guláš. :shock:
I hope you enjoy your trips over the borders! And who knows, maybe we'll meet on the road in Bohemian Swiss this summer! :wink:
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