Dolní Lánov to be precise; another lovely (but short) stay with my friend Joe and his wife Renata, at their beautiful chalet style home in the small village of Dolní Lánov, nestled a few km east of the town of Vrchlabi in the Czech Republic. And of course their son Tom, who is always a pleasure to talk to.
I’ve already reviewed this area of Czech Repulic last year in a seperate post, but I just wanted to post this quick addition to it; let me explain why.
When I was with Joe last year we discussed the possibility of me coming over again with the intention of travelling to see Colditz Castle in Germany just over the border.
Well actually it’s 4 1/2 hours just over the border, but that’s another story.
So this was the reason I was in Dolní Lánov again, but only for one night as the rest of the stay would be in Germany before heading directly back to the airport in Prague.
After collecting me at the airport we had a steady drive back to his home, stopped off briefly to visit a football field under construction (our work connection creeps in now and again to supplement our visit plans) and then on to his home, arriving about 5 pm.
Renata had been baking again and met me with a warm hug, huge smile and a plate of apple cake & plum cake ( two flavours of cake, as opposed to the plum and apple cake we might make ourselves).
After that we embarked on phase one of our agenda. I had expressed a desire to go walking in the mountains behind Joe’s house. It’s true that this idea came to me prior to finding out I have a torn medial meniscus requiring surgery, but I wasn’t about to be put off.
I won’t be impolite and mention Joe’s age but he is infinitely more fit than I am and puts me to shame, and he’s a bit of a ‘spring chicken’ if I’m being honest; he was concerned about my injured knee but I dismissed it and we jumped in the car and drove upwards some 300-400m above his home village.
Our final destination, high above Černý Důl and inaccessible by car, was a little wooden bench with a commanding viewpoint, next to the winding stations for three ski lifts which service the three ski runs Joe has behind his house.
The view across the Czech Republic was awesome. There was a slight mist settling in the valleys and across the local stone quarry and the sun was slowly setting, illuminating the trees and grass with a warm glow.
There was no noise from the villages and towns below, the air was clear and crisp, with only the natural smell of woodlands and a little wood smoke from the chalets.
Level with the winding stations for the ski lifts were three chalets which were apparently holiday rentals. I could imagine renting one for Christmas and being in the snow covered mountains eagerly waiting for Svatý Mikuláš with the grandchildren – what an awesome idea. These chalets were built by a local man and the hill is named after him – Bönischovy boudy. Apparently Boudy is Czech for Sheds, but I doubt you could class these beautiful chalets as a Shed!
If we had continued up the path another couple of hundred metres we would have reach the crest of his ‘hill’ and had a fantastic view of Spicak (1001m above sea level) and the rest of the Krkonose mountain range which separates Czech Republic from Poland, but Joe felt it was far to steep for me to manage with my knee and he was probably right, so we stayed on the viewing bench until the sun went down, then we headed back down the mountain.
And that was the end of the day. Well apart from another first – Roast rabbit for dinner, which I mistakenly thought was chicken. Well it tasted like chicken! But Renata excelled again with her culinary skills and I can’t thank her enough for her kind hospitality.
Conquering that hill wasn’t much of an achievement, it wasn’t like we had climbed Everest, but I could now cross yet another thing off of my wish list and that was good enough for me. It was well worth it and a good start to our weekend!