Sunday, 13 February 2011

Winter in the Sumava

This is a picture of my Czech home. It huddles under a hill called Liska Dira (Fox Hole) and is well-named given the number of foxes I hear and see in these winter months. It sits just outside of the Sumava natural landscape protected area, in the foothills of the Sumava Mountains and Forest.

The name Sumava comes from the sound leaves make in the wind - the whispering or russling forest. But at this time of year there is very little sound of whispering leaves, just that silence that comes with snow and maybe a "whoosh" as snow falls from the branches. Right now, I'm sitting in a friend's cottage which sits next to a frozen, snow-covered lake. In a few minutes I will put on my walking shoes and head off into the forest. I need to clear my head and fill my lungs with fresh Czech winter air. But first I am writing this for you.

Our local little train which I travelled on this morning was full of Czechs heading for the deeper snow and forests of the Sumava National Park. The Park is one of the Czech Republic's best kept secrets - forming with the neighbouring Bohmerwald the largest forest in Central Europe - "Europe's Green Lung." Only it's not very green now. On the slopes of the Sumava's mountains there are ski resorts - affordable ones - and through its forests, across its plains and along its lakes run hundreds of kilometres of landlaufing trails.

The sun is out, the snow is virginal and I'm heading for the hills.  


DCAllen said...

I love learning new words. Mine for today Sumava, the rustling of leaves in the wind. Thanks. :)

Petr Buben said...

very nice picture of your house, very nice blog.

me too i moved from California back to here, Prague, where i was born ..

How to you like it in southern Bohemia?


McCabeandco said...

I appreciate your seemingly poetic description of snow being virginal, but what is snow if it is not virginal? Seeing the dirt soiled snow on the footpaths of Prague one appreciates the fall of fresh white snow that has not been disturbed. It is something sacred. Virginal you call it...snow that lies waiting to be impregnated by the steps of men with the dirt of their soles...

McCabeandco said...

Hey, and like DCAllen I agree, a beautiful word that "Sumava." There's poetry in that word.

Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane said...

Your place and the surroundings look so idyllic, but so cold! Growing up in a wet and cold climate (Holland) I dreamed of some place warmer. I did end up living in several tropical climates, and those are not for me either ;)

Somehow I have the cold-loving gene missing, a well as the tropical-weather gene.

Good luck and have a wonderful time in the Czech Republic.

potok said...

Can't you tell, Petr, I love it!

potok said...

What a fascinating set of comments, thank you all.

To Miss Footloose I would say - there are different types of cold, just as there are different types of snow. The winters are colder here, but somehow I don't feel it as much as in the milder UK. The cold is drier and doesn't get into your clothes the way it does in England, and there isn't the wind.


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