Outdoor weekends in Czech Republic

The canoes on shore for a break

The weather has been great the last couple of weeks which worked out perfect for the things I ended up doing.

Three weeks ago some friends had organized a canoe trip. So we were 10 people who took the train to a small village where you could rent canoes and set out for a relaxed day on the river. Glee had a diving case for a camera so we could take some pictures and video while we were on the water.

Cruising down the stream

Along the route there was a couple of small cabins where you could get cold beer and a sausage. Here we are at our first stop.

First pit stop

This is one of the cool things about doing outdoor stuff in Czech Republic you come across these small beer and grill places in many of the areas where people go to do outdoor stuff. The next place we stopped for a beer Dominic ended up behind the counter selling t-shirts along with a pretty drunk Czech guy. Good fun 🙂

Selling your VIP tshirts of course!

A few times we had to cross some tricky passages and we tipped over and had to get the water out of the canoes but most of the time it was pretty easy sailing.

Chillin'

The next weekend I went with Cyril and Patricia to Karlovy Vary a famous Czech spa town 2 hours from Prague. The legend tells that the hot springs in the area was discovered when Charles IV was hunting in the area and one of his dogs fell into a hole with the hot water and started howling. From then on the city became a place were people went to get healed by the mineral-rich water.

Well number 11

Today the 13 main hot springs have fountains scattered over the city. The water varies a bit in temperature, but I’m not really sure the mineral content is that different from the different springs. There were quite a lot of people in the town and many of them were walking around with these silly porcelain pots that looked like a nose bidet sipping from the hot water.

Well number 11

The health tourism to the area really took off in the 19th century so many of the buildings are from that era.

Facade
Art Deco house
Market Colonnade

In James Bond’s Casino Royal the hotel used in the film for the casino scene was the Grandhotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary so we of course had to go down and check it out.

Grandhotel Pupp

After having walked around the city for half the day we decided to treat ourselves and spend some time in the outdoor pool with the best view I have seen. The water is 1/3 hot spring water and 2/3 regular sweet water. Here we are in front of the pool. (See it without us or as a panoramic view.)

Us in Karlovy Vary

Last weekend the good weather continued so Saturday I went on a bike trip on my own up along the the Vltava river that runs through Prague. There is a bike route right along the river. Sometimes a bit too close for comfort but I managed to stay on the path.

My bike

Here there also was little refreshment stalls for every few kilometer so no need to go hungry or thirsty. I went up the river about 20km and then took a boat across with my bike and rode back on the other side.

Taking the boat bus

Sunday I went on a bike ride again, this time with two friends. We took a train two hours south east of Prague and biked on some small trail along a creek.

Marcus on one of the bridges across the creek

Here is one of the stretches in the open where I got my camera out. You can spot Aurel and Marcus as two tiny dots along the edge of the forest.

Landscape

And of course there was a place in the middle of nowhere where we could get a beer and relax before heading off.

Beer break

Once I managed to get ahead and get the camera out fast enough to get a shot of them before they rushed by me.

Over the fields

Around lunch time we came across some kind of sporting event that we first thought was a game of football. It turned out to be some sort of firemen competition where a team of 8 people would rush to a pump and set up tubes and try to hit some targets with water. Very good entertainment before we headed back to Prague.

I’m looking forward to spending the summer in and around Prague. Still so much to see and do. This weekend a couple from Cambridge and I’m a tour guide in Prague.

A mini vacation in Gozo

After Easter and all it’s celebrations were over Ann and I took a 3 day mini vacation to the neighboring island of Gozo. The weather when we went up there was pretty bad as you can see in the film above.

Gozo is more slow paced, greener and more rural than the main island of Malta. Life in Malta can be pretty hectic and for the week of Easter we did a lot of things so it was nice to spend some time alone with Ann before my parents came.

We also went to Gozo when I was in Malta last year. One of her aunt’s have an apartment in the fishing village turned resort of Marsalforn which was really quiet while we were there because it is still out of season. Here’s a view of the village as we walked back to the apartment after having had dinner.

Marsalforn at night

On our second day there we went for a long walk. All along the northwest coast of Gozo you see these types of salt pans. The salt pans are filled with sea water over winter by the waves hitting the coast. Then over the summer the water evaporates and the salt can be collected. Some of the salt pans has been in use since the Roman times and is still used today.

2009-04-14 Malta 013

We left the coast and turned uphill towards the village of Zebbug where we came across a street mirror where you can sort of see the road going down the hill from where we came.

Reflections

There was a great view of the green island from Zebbug. However what I found most interesting was that on the spot in the village with the best view over the Mediterranean you were met by this truck with the ironic “I ♥ my truck” written on the back-end.

I love my truck

We continued on and was met with a great view of the UNESCO protected Cittadella fort at the center of Gozo. We followed the road and caught a bus back to the apartment from Victoria.

Citadella from afar

The day we left Gozo we had great weather so we shot a bit more film as we were leaving.