When I was asked whether I wanted to go on the recce for a new trek in the Czech Republic and Poland I thought I’m not entirely sure what the country has to offer! Well, it had plenty!
I boarded the plane in London with trepidation. Where was I going and what was I going to see but above all, would this be an exciting itinerary for Oxfordshire Mind (the charity that have chosen to go there). On arrival into Prague (Czech Republic) I came through arrivals to find my ground handler waiting for me, fresh off another trip, and raring to go. After a 2 hour car journey we arrived at our hotel (in Poland) where I would spend my first night in Eastern Europe – at this point I realised that this could be an exciting trip, with mountains surrounding the hotel it looked as though we’d struck gold with the itinerary.
The following morning we set off and steadily climbed to the top of the first mountain of the trip – a 360 degree view of the Sudete Mountain Range, a ‘hidden gem’ and steeped in history! From here we trekked from the source of the Elbe River (which flows through to the North Sea) to our first hotel, yeap, we were spoilt with hotels in the beautiful Czech town of Spindleruv Mlyn (in the heart of the ski region).
The following morning (after watching England get beaten by Italy in the football) we headed out for the next leg of the trek which covered both the Czech Republic and Poland. We followed the Elbe River and quickly started to climb into the mountains, reaching the ridge after 3 hours - from here we weaved through Czech and Polish territories (I think Pawel was sick of me saying, which country are we in now?!) until we stumbled upon a beast of a refuge that looked like something out of James Bond. It was here I discovered the delicious Czech speciality of stew and dumplings, and that both Polish and Czech people think of beer as a refreshing drink like water – it was the most bizarre sight to see a 70-year-old lady drinking a pint of beer on the top of a mountain – what would my Mother have said?!
My journey was almost over, I had reached the final day of this amazing trek and we were off to conquer the highest peak in the area, Sniezka at 1603m. “Up, up, up” the word of the morning. We ascended into the clouds before hitting what felt like a hurricane; I was still smiling though! The proper mountain weather was a challenge and meant I couldn’t see further than my nose but I felt spoilt knowing that we were in the mountains in an area that is still relatively undiscovered by people outside of the Czech Republic and Poland. After battling with the elements, we started to descend to our last mountain village before we transferred back to Prague and the hustle and bustle of what I was about to discover was an amazing city.
To sum up, I have to say I was surprised by how beautiful this part of the world is for trekking – if I had to describe it I would say ‘comparable to the Alps but an affordable alternative’.