Ceský Ráj revisted

Hlavatice rock tower © Ricky Yates

Hlavatice rock tower © Ricky Yates

 

 

 

 

Last Friday, during my post-Easter break, I explored the Hruboskalsko, another part of Ceský Ráj, a beautiful area of sandstone rocks and forests lying between 70-100 kilometres north east of Prague. Having parked my car in a designated parking area near the village of Pelešany, I made my way to join the red waymarked trail. This trail is designated the Zlatá Stezka or ‘Golden Trail’, so called because if you were to walk the whole of it, you would see all the best sights within Ceský Ráj.

 

After an initial climb, the trail brought me to this rock tower at Hlavatice. In the early years of the twentieth century, the local walking club erected a spiral iron staircase consisting of thirty-six steps, which allows access to the top of the tower……

 

 

 

 

….from where there is this splendid view of the nearby town of Turnov.

Turnov as seen from the top of the Hlavatice rock tower © Ricky Yates

Turnov as seen from the top of the Hlavatice rock tower © Ricky Yates

A further two kilometre walk brought me to Hrad Valdštejn/Valdštejn Castle, originally built to take full advantage of the defensive qualities provided by the rocky outcrop on which it is situated.

Hrad Valdštejn/Valdštejn Castle © Ricky Yates

Hrad Valdštejn/Valdštejn Castle © Ricky Yates

Hrad Valdštejn/Valdštejn Castle from below © Ricky Yates

Hrad Valdštejn/Valdštejn Castle from below © Ricky Yates

During April, the castle is only open to the public on weekends, so being Friday, it was closed. However fortunately, the neighbouring Hospoda was open!

'The Castle Pub!' © Ricky Yates

‘The Castle Pub!’ © Ricky Yates

Pive?ko © Ricky Yates

Pivecko © Ricky Yates

Following liquid refreshment, I walked on through the beautifully forested landscape with some spectacular views of amazing rock towers. I’ll let the photographs do the talking.

Amazing rock towers © Ricky Yates

Amazing rock towers © Ricky Yates

More amazing rock towers © Ricky Yates

More amazing rock towers © Ricky Yates

Still more amazing rock towers © Ricky Yates

Still more amazing rock towers © Ricky Yates

I eventually reached Hrubá Skála, where there is a large hotel, built onto the remains of an earlier castle.

Hotel at Hrubá Skála © Ricky Yates

Hotel at Hrubá Skála © Ricky Yates

There is an access road up to the hotel from the valley below. Two large German tourist buses were parked outside the hotel and a third pulled up a couple of minutes later. Clearly the hotel gets good business from elderly German tourists, revisiting the Heimat :-) I beat a hasty retreat!

Rock tower © Ricky Yates

Rock tower © Ricky Yates

 

 

 

 

 

I made my return journey along the yellow waymarked route from where there are further views of more rock pillars. This one on the left I thought was particularly spectacular whilst those in the photograph below, look very dramatic in the early evening light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rock towers in the early evening light © Ricky Yates

Rock towers in the early evening light © Ricky Yates

A mini pilgrimage on Holy Saturday

Cross on Dáblický háj © Ricky Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the afternoon of Holy Saturday, I was one of five members of the St. Clement’s congregation, who went on a mini pilgrimage. We met at Ládví metro station in the north-eastern Prague suburbs, and from there took the bus further out to Dáblice from where we began our pilgrimage walk.

Dáblice is a village which now adjoins the Prague conurbation. We climbed from the village centre, up onto Dáblický háj, a beautiful area of heathland and woods. At the top of the hill is an observatory and adjacent to it on a rocky outcrop, a cross.

From this point, there are wonderful views out across the northern Bohemian countryside.

 

 

 

The view from Dáblický háj © Ricky Yates

There followed a very pleasant . . . → Read More: A mini pilgrimage on Holy Saturday

Lent Study 2015 – The Bohemian Reformation

Part of our Lent Study Group, with Dr Hana Tonzarová on the right © Ricky Yates

As I mentioned in my first post of 2015, this year marks the six-hundredth anniversary of the martyrdom of the early Czech Church reformer, Jan Hus. So at the suggestion of my good friend and colleague Rev’d Dr Karen Moritz, our 2015 St Clement’s Lent Course has been looking at various aspects of the Bohemian Reformation, in which Hus was a major figure.

The course has been held on successive Tuesday evenings during Lent, commencing on Tuesday 24th February, and will conclude in two days time, on Tuesday 24th March. It has been really encouraging to have between ten to twelve attendees each week, nearly all of whom have been present for every session.

In our first session, Karen Moritz presented an excellent overview . . . → Read More: Lent Study 2015 – The Bohemian Reformation

Spring seems to be arriving!

Snowdrops in Stromovka Park © Ricky Yates

 

 

During the past three weeks, we’ve had numerous bright sunny days, enhanced by the hours of daylight getting longer each day. This has encouraged Sybille and I to get out walking and exploring again, especially on Mondays which are meant to be my regular weekly day-off.

As I wrote in an earlier post, three weeks ago on Monday 16th February, we made a round trip to Prague Zoo. A week later on Monday 23rd February, late in the morning, we left the flat, took the tram and travelled to Hlubocepy in the southern suburbs of Prague. From the tram stop, we made our way down to the side of the Vltava River and then walked all along the river bank to the village of Zbraslav.

 

 

 

 

 

The . . . → Read More: Spring seems to be arriving!

Celebrating our birthdays

Our birthday dessert © Sybille Yates

As many of our friends know, Sybille and I have birthdays that are just two days, but several years apart. 24th February for Sybille – 26th February for me. Our usual plan is to have a joint celebration on the intervening day, which is what we successfully managed to do last Wednesday. However, sometimes the liturgical calendar conspires against us. The last time our birthdays respectively fell on a Tuesday and a Thursday, as they did this year, was in 2009. Then the intervening day was Ash Wednesday

Whilst attending the Christmas Party at the British Embassy last December, we met Paul and Michaela, a British/Czech couple who have a business with the interesting name of ‘The Happy Monkey s.r.o.’ Their company run a butchers shop, another butchers shop combined with a bar – . . . → Read More: Celebrating our birthdays