Hikes, Walks, Forward Motion

Any time in the Czech Republic or Slovakia would not be complete without a hike--or at least a long walk. My first trip to the Czech Republic in 2004 included a 12 or so mile hike in the Krkonoše Mountains (Giant Mountains) in northern Bohemia. It was my first real hike in the mountains and it also gave me the worst sunburn I have ever had. Soon after my arrival here, I hiked the highest mountain in the Beskydy Mountains, a hike around 10 or so miles. A "walk" or "hike" here is typically longer than one stateside. So, take heed if you ever travel to the Czech Republic and someone invites you on a hike. Don't ask about the hike in terms of "long" or "short" but, rather, ask in terms of distance or hours. Rarely will a "hike" be less than three hours in length. That is why the journeys I made in Slovakia over Christmas were merely walks. They were under two hours each. I told you previously that I had fallen in love with Slovakia, and I understand why my gracious hosts chose to build their home in a tiny village hemmed in by mountains. Our first walk was Christmas day. The sun shone brightly and the air was cool and refreshing--the perfect complement to the lazy days spent indoors baking, eating, and watching fairy tales by the fireplace.

Just above the village

My gracious hosts

If you can see the red tower in the distance, that shows the border with the Czech Republic
During this walk, w followed a trail that my hosts like to cross-country ski; unfortunately, there wasn't enough snow to actually do this, so we had to content ourselves with a walk.  I didn't mind--I've never cross-country-skied and having a stomach full of gingerbread doesn't inspire anyone to cross-country ski.  They lamented that they hadn't planned enough ahead to have a trip to a higher hill/mountain, but that was remedied by a planned trip with their daughter, son-in-law, and infant granddaughter for the following day.  Thus the four of us set out in the morning, but rain in the mountains halted our plans.  Instead I went for a walk with the aforementioned party plus in-laws.

The weather let herself go a bit that day, neglecting clarity and sunshine for fog, thereby obstructing our views of the surrounding mountains.  This only triggered my light-hearted and imaginative side.  I would frequently burst with comments like, "Look at that cathedral in the distance!" or "Wow! What a quaint village over there!" or "What gorgeous scenery!"  I promise it wasn't sarcastic; I really relished the walk and found our foggy cover romantic and complementary to the holiday's relaxed melancholy.  I particularly enjoyed moments when a figure would appear from the fog and I'd whisper, "It's Krakonoš!" 

A beautiful day to see some beautiful views.
Part of our hiking ensemble.  Note the running/biking stroller's tracks.
A delicious view of the romantic fog.

My friend Teresa gave me these boots as I left her flat for the train--which proved invaluable

Jana and I in front of a mountain.
(Here you'll also not the various other hiking clothing lent to me by my hosts.)

This is near where I saw the strange mountain "deer" on one of the past walks in Slovakia


  1. I'm catching up on your holiday posts, and this walk looked amazing, fog and all! Beautiful views - I envy them their scenery that they can enter in such close proximity.


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