I honestly had not planned out anything I wanted to do when I went to Český Krumlov. Besides the castle and the old town, there is little else to do in Český Krumlov itself. So after a bit of googling last night, I decided a hike into the countryside might be a fun idea.
The weather was quite gloomy when I woke up, but the hostel manager assured me I should be safe from rain. The manager was even so kind as to show me the best hiking trails for my day out on the map, and looked up train times to ensure I would be back for my train home to Prague.
I skipped out on his advice to catch a bus part of the way and walked from the town centre all the way up to the top of Klet‘, the highest peak of the area. Considering all I had to guide me was the above green markers, I was pretty impressed with my efforts of making it there without getting hopelessly lost.
The forest itself was beautiful. I loved the contrast between the colourful deciduous trees in the full swing of fall and the sharp green of the evergreens. It was so peaceful, though at times I had to ignore the beauty surrounding me as I focused every drop of energy I had on persevering up the hill, because god damn it was steep.
The hostel manager had also mentioned that there was a restaurant at the top of the hill. As I got closer I began to worry that it would probably be closed because the weather was getting colder, but to my relief it was open. I walked in expecting one other hiker to be present, but found the place packed with families; kids, dogs and all. I forgot that hiking was a weekend past time here in the Czech Republic. It turns out mountain biking is as well, as a huge group of lycra clad men arrived when I was leaving.
I intended to snap a picture of my meal, but this place was far from touristy, so I instead awkwardly sat in the corner and stuffed my face. The menu was entirely in Czech, but my knowledge of a few words (potatoes, dumplings, etc) and google translate helped me to figure out what I wanted. I also panicked at the last minute when ordering and ended up having to ask if they spoke English. Thankfully they knew enough to understand what I wanted, and within two minutes (so quick) I had my steaming plate of roasted pork, red cabbage and dumplings.
The above is the observatory tower at the top of the mountain, and the restaurant is in the building next to it. I didn’t bother going up, because as you can see in the photo below, I wouldn’t have been able to see anything!
I hadn’t really been sure how long it would take me to reach the top of the mountain, but it was quicker than I expected. So I decided to head down the other side, as per the recommendation of the hostel manager. I descended under the ricketiest old chairlift I have ever seen, before winding up in a full carpark – turns out everyone really does go hiking for the weekend! Still following my little green signs, my walk came out of the forest and into the Czech countryside. It was picture perfect to say the least.
After even more walking (and a train, there is only so much walking one can feasibly do!), I eventually ended up back in Český Krumlov. Despite the weather impending on my views from the mountaintop, I had a really fantastic time. It is days like this where I really stop and appreciate the reality of my being here in Europe, and how lucky I am in to be here and learn so much from it.