THE PRACHOVSKE ROCKS : A TASTE OF BOHEMIAN PARADISE (AUGUST 23-24, 2016)

 Our first experience in Czech Republic was not so spectacular. We visited the dowry town of Hradec Kralove, but we were not so deeply impressed by it.  Reason enough to drive further in search for more excitement and wonder. And luckily, we have found this in one of our next stops : in Prachovsky Skaly.

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STOPOVER IN JICIN

 I have read so much about this small municipality of Jicin that I really put it in our list of places to visit in Czech Republic. There were so many loving and all-praising comments about this town that we couldn’t wait to get here. However, we were deeply disappointed when we finnaly arrived here. Here’s why!

 After a disappointing visit to Hradec Kralove, we drove 55 kilometers up north to Jicin. Jicin is described as one of the most charming and picturesque towns in Czech Republic. With that description, no wonder that we had very high expectations about it. It was about 16.00 in the afternoon when we arrived in Jicin. We parked our camper at the big parking area infront of bus station and Kaufland. From there was only about 500 meters walk to the town center.

The town of Jicin

 It was so quiet in the center! All shops are already closed at 16.30! Unbelievable! There were a handful of people  walking around, but for the rest, there was nothing! The so-called historic center was also not that impressive! There was just this spacious square where half is used for car parking. I remembered that the only thing that caught our attention were the nice patterns laid on the cobbled-stone pedestrian pathways and the big dragon statue found infront of the old gate. It was really disappointing. We didn’t know how it is even considered one of the most picturesque towns in the country. Or did we miss something? We only spent an hour in the area and then we drove away again. It was a good thing that the tourist office was still open. We still were able to get some information about the famous Prachovske Rocks which we wanted to visit next.

 THE PRACHOVSKE ROCKS

 Found in the easternmost part of the Bohemian Paradise (Cesky Raj) , about 6 kilometers west of Jicin, are the Prachovske  Rocks! These rocks originated  from the remnants of a sandstone plateau, broken up by ravines and gullies. The area forms a dramatic groups of rocky outcrops that form  labyrinths of pillars, tunnels and crevices.

 Entrance to the park is 70 crowns (Kc) per person. A very clear and detailed hiking map is displayed at the ticket/information hut. The area is easy to explore and the trails are easy to follow. The different trails are color-coded, and it is also possible to combine two or three hikes together.

We first followed the Yellow Trail which brought us to two major viewpoints : Vyhlidka Miru and Vyhlidka Ceskeho Raje. After that we followed the Green Trails which brought us to other fascinating parts and viewpoints in the park : Hlaholska vyhlidka, Pechova vyhlidka,  and Slikova vyhlidka among others. The views were amazing and the rock outcrops were  really fascinating and undescribable! They are really one of a kind! Mother Nature has once again proven that she is the perfect builder and designer. There is beauty everywhere we looked at.

 The walking trails are accessible for everyone from young and old. In fact I even saw a toddler from 2 years old who was crawling on top of the rock beds, and apparently enjoying it too. I was just a little doubtful if it is suitable for really Big people. Not that I have preconceptions about it. But there are these really narrow and steep stone staircases that we had to climb up and down to; and sometimes we had to literally  squeeze our bodies between two tall narrow rocks!

 We started our hike at 9 in the morning and finished at 12.00. The parking area was already full when we returned to our camper. After having our lunch, we left the place, thankful for the wonderful day it has brought us and for the privilege of being here in one of the most impressive places we have ever been! Surely, our wonderful experience here has overshadowed our first experience in Czech Republic.

  Campsite :   Parking, Prachovsky Skaly

                          50601 Prachov 1, Zamosti-Blata

                         Kralovehradecky

Coordinates :   N:  50.46910    E:  15.28452

 It is a reasonably-sized parking area in Prachovsky where the tourist hut is also located. It is the starting point for hikes in Prachovsky Rocks. There is a restaurant and souvenir shops in the area. Fee is 100 Kr per day.  It is advised to drive here late in the afternoon when the day hikers are gone. We stayed here for one night, with 2 other campers.  There is another parking area before this place; you just have to drive past it.

Our customary pictures together

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