Heading into town in the morning , past some inviting holiday accommodation,
the helpful lady in the info centre directed us to the uranium mine that had been opened to the public. Getting there we were told to come back in 3 hours. It seemed like they were busy with school groups. We read that there was a 9km trail from there that takes in some of the concentration/ prison camps and the sites of mine shafts from the soviet era from 40’s to the 60’s, so set off in the sunshine into beautiful scenery that belied it’s brutal past. We past the remains of camps
After that somewhat somber experience it was time to top up on the good times so we drove northeast to Bohemian Switzerland on the German border, another national park and area of great beauty.
On the way across the flat central plains we past lots of power stations with cooling tower chimneys sending plumes of smoke into the blue sky, and more massive areas of what looked like strip mining of coal. We had read that their had been extensive devastation of the forests in the Jachymov area in the 70’s and 80’s due to coal mining and burning but as went north again into the hills the ancient forests spread as far as the eye could see and looked very healthy.
We drove along the Labe river valley in the sunshine to the pretty town of Hrensko where the towering sandstone blocks for the which the area is known began.
The following days hike was a real pleasure despite the many steep ups and downs. The ascents through the beech, oak and pines were made easier by the steps either of timber logs or often cut into the Rock.
The woods were magnificent. Towering trunks straight as an arrow shot up from the steep slopes between huge hunks of weathered sandstone.
Where there was light foxgloves filled it with colour
We emerged, hungry, five hours later into Jetrichovice and stopped to eat some unknown items from an unreadable menu. So far we’ve been lucky but awaiting the time we have to tuck in smiling to a dish of unthinkables like we order it all the time.
The wooded architecture in these rural Czech towns is stunning and it’s nice to see that quite a few old one are being restored. They are also keen gardeners and we were treated to some heady scents as we walked out of the town and down along a stream.
As we followed the steam down through the woods
Eventually the stream led us to a collection of ruins on the banks of the bigger river in a majestic setting.
There were some laboriously carved rooms with stone beds set into the cliff which , coupled with the shrines along the way, made us think that this was not just the mill the info said it was.
One last major climb
We added ours before finishing the hike by passing some more handsome wooden buildings on the way back into camp.