hi all, i hope you had a nice easter!
it’s our tradition to go on a trip every easter (as here in the czech republic, we have a nice long four day weekend – five if you’re lucky!) and as this year it fell deliciously late into the season, we opted for another countryside hiking trip. last year’s trip was much too cold and bleak, and this year, all i wanted was sun and relaxation with a bit of hiking, which led us to the czech/austrian borderlands, basing ourselves in vyšší brod, a kilometer or two from the border.
we had been to vyšší brod once before as we started our hike to
rožmberk nad vltavou from there and it really is an ideal place to base yourself for a hiking or biking holiday… or even just to luxuriate in a sweet little czech town.
one thing i didn’t expect about the town, having been there and all, was that although obviously in the czech republic, this town may as well be also austrian. i mean, it was one country about a hundred years ago! it felt like one of those international spaces, like an airport or something where you’re not sure where you actually are. the majority of people we came across were austrians, and many restaurants come with “austrian prices” – not so nice when you’ve come to a small czech town expecting czech town prices!
fortunately vyšší brod has everything going for it. it’s incredibly romantic and idyllic, nestled in a little valley area so close to austria you can see the windmills in the distance – something you’d never see on czech land. there’s a running monastery to stroll around, picturesque pastures, a nice little square, a sweet little slice of the vltava river cutting through it (this town is sort of a mecca for boating) and gorgeous landscapes.
the first day we opted for a hike from lipno nad vltavou to vyšší brod – a hike i thought was going to take 12 km until it ended up taking 18 km! it was a great way to really get back into hiking after the winter and really nice to cruise through the dry pine forests smelling deliciously woodsy, but we were woefully under prepared for 18km/11 miles of trail. there weren’t any water sources until we were almost to our destination and we were thirsty! i forgot to bring a first-aid kit, which would’ve helped after being brutally shanked by a tree branch (nasty little suckers). let’s just say there are a lot of things i’m writing down in my notebook for next time, but there were some great views, especially those above lipno lake. the area is remarkable for its rock formations, like vykle stilka, one of them which you can see below. also, you can always tell it’s austria because of the wind turbines!
on easter sunday after a grueling hike the day before, we just wanted to (mostly) chill. after breakfast, we took a light hike on the opatská
stezka – a light trail extending from vyšší brod to the sv. wolfgang waterfall – the whole trek which seemed utterly out of a fairy-tale, and the beautiful warm weather (but yet, the cooling refreshment of the forest and rushing water). i can highly recommend this short and sweet little hike.
i also remembered my bag, gloves and scissors this time (forager’s toolkit) and gathered some nettles and dandelion leaves, and unexpectedly, some coltsfoot flowers.
my favorite moments of the whole weekend, to be real with you, were those spent in the little garden of our pension. i grew up with a giant backyard and it seemed strange not to spend at least a little time every fair-weather day out there. cut to now. i feel lucky to have a balcony at my flat (#balconylife, #tinygarden and all that) but i so relish anytime spent laying out or sitting in the sun, toes in the grass, birds singing, sun on my face, new freckles on my nose. i spent over two hours on easter afternoon soaking it up and it’s funny but it really was my favorite moment of the whole weekend – to be alone in this garden! all the other pension guests had checked out, so this old czech estate and surrounding area was mine for that time. later after dinner we came back and opened a special bottle of wine from the winery down the road from our cottage last summer in provence. the vltava was rushing, the sky growing increasingly dusky but too early for any pesky insects.
we’re headed off to london this weekend for an ever-so-quick getaway, so the spring whirlwind of excitement continues. hope you have a beautiful weekend! will be a rainy one here in europe, but the plants and earth could use it, i have to admit.
ps, past easter trips throughout the year found here.