Czech Switzerland – Pravcicka brana

Pravčická Brána is the largest natural stone bridge in Europe. It is considered the most beautiful natural form in Czech Switzerland and is the symbol of the entire area. Its dimensions are remarkable, although when looking at it close up it seems bigger. The span of the arch at the bottom is 26.5 m, the height of the opening is 16 m, width 7-8 m, minimum thickness 3 m, and the surface area of the bridge is 21 m above its base.

In my previous post I posted photos from valley of river Krinice, where we were hiking in the morning and early afternoon. Then, after late lunch in town Hrensko, we climbed up to Pravcicka brana. I wanted to take some photos with setting sun, but the more we waited, the clearer it was that the sun will take too long to set. Therefore the late afternnon light had to suffice. Also, we were about 7km from our accomodation. The path home lead through forest and we wanted to have at least some light on our way home.

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There is the holiday chateau known as the Falcon’s Nest at the base of the arc.
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We were halfway to our hotel when the golden hour came…
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Czech Switzerland – Kamenice River

The Czech Switzerland are is national park on borders with Germany (where the park continues and it is called the Saxon Switzerland). It is known for its beautiful gorges and mostly for The Pravčická brána – the largest natural sandstone arch in Europe.

I spent there three days last autumn. On the first day we hiked down the valley of Kamenice river to town Hrensko and from there we climbed up to the Pravcicka Brana and then we returned to our guest house. As the whole track was about 20km long, I had a lot of opportunities to take photos, so in this post, there are only photos from the firts half of the trip. The photos from Pravcicka brana will be in the next post (hopefully 🙂 ).

The path from Mezni Louka, where we were staying, led through forests, where fallen trees are left as they are.

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Probably, due to the humid climate on the bottom of the valley, there is moss covering almost every tree. There are even three-leaf clovers growing from the trunks.
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This is where the path met the river Krinice.
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Some more moss on the ground…
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and on the trees.
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Then the rocks were making the bottom of the valley more and more narrow.
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And at the end, we had take a boat to get through the gorge. Actually, the boat on the photo is really old one and it is not in use any more, there are newer ones now.
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Holidays on Madeira (part 6 – the last one)

As this was our last day on Madeira and we wanted to visit the markets in Funchal, we had to wake up extra early to have enough time for visit before our guided tour would begin. The “Mercado dos Lavradores” (Farmer´s Market) is Located in the center of the old town of Funchal. This market is divided into three parts. There is flower section, fruit and vegetable section and fish section. All kinds of tropical fruit and even some unusual ones that grow on the island can be found there and the stall holders let us taste some of the unsual kinds of fruit. On the fish section there were the well known black scabbard fish with its huge eyes, razor sharp teeth and long eel like body. Its meat is very tasty and it is usually served grilled with fried banana – this meal is called “espada”. It was really tasty but I am glad I tried it before I saw how the fish looks like.

A view from a balcony – the fruit & vegetable section
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And in detail
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Balcoes, is a viewpoint situated 870 above sea level overlooking the valleys hundreds of meters below and mountains hundreds of meters above. From this point the highest peaks of Madeira are visible during good weather conditions. This viewpoint was the destination of today’s tour, again along a levada. The weather wasn’t really nice but on the other hand, it made the forest look like a jungle.

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But when we reached the viewpoint from which we should have been able to see three highest mountains in Madeira, all we saw was this…

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… and this.
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The fog was so dense we barely saw several meters behind the railings.

And that was the last day of my holiday on Madeira.

Summer Flowers

Walk in a forest is a good way how to escape really hot weather with temperatures above 39°C. It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t take some photos there. The forests near village Bedřichov in Jizerske Mountains in the Czech Republic are full of beautiful flowers.

These foxgloves (Digitalis) grew near path and were quite easily accessible. Also it was the first time I saw white foxglove, every other foxglvoe that I have seen before have been pink and white. I find this colour variation very nice.
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These small yellow flowers contrasted with green leaves on the ground and that made them very noticable.
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