Sunday, 27 April 2008

Walking in The Czech Republic

I love walking - not serious yomping, but leisurely strolls with frequent stops to admire the view and diversions from the path to look at flowers and pick mushrooms. The Czech Republic is a brilliant country for walkers and the area around Cesky Krumlov and in the Sumava National Park is particularly good.

The main footpaths are well waymarked - with signposts in the towns and colour-coded signs painted on trees and gates along the paths themselves. These signs consist of a coloured bar against a white background. These colours for the walks are reflected on the walking maps you can buy in the tourist information shops and bookshops for about £3. It is therefore very easy to find your way.

I have already talked about one of my favourite spring time walks in this blog. But I have many others. And over the next few months I propose to blog occasionally about others. I will start with my nearest walk. Running through our village is a red route which runs up through the woods, where I pick my mushrooms, and then down to the lake at Olsina. In so doing the walker enters the restricted military zone of Boletice, which is only accessible at weekends. One of the joys of Boletice is that, like army reserves in the UK, its status has allowed nature to flourish. The villages one walks through tend to be pretty dire, the old houses run-down and the newer the usual army issue, but the forests and lakes are unspoilt by the incursions of tourists and new cabins.

I will talk about Olsina in my next blog, as it easily deserves a post all of its own. So let us pass by without comment and follow the walk as it rises again over the hills to Hodnov - another of those villages where there is a need for investment to restore the old buildings. Then it passes across forested hills and, if you are lucky, past masses of blue lupins and down in to Horni Plana. At various points along the way you will get views across Lake Lipno and over the Sumava and in the opposite direction back to the Klet Mountain. Once in Horni Plana you can have a well-earned pint or two and then take the little train back home.

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