A Visit to Panská skála (Lord’s Rock)

On a recent trip to North Bohemia, we had the opportunity to visit one of the country’s most visited geological formation:  Panská skála (Lord’s Rock).

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The Lord’s Rock is a remnant of a basalt hill.  About 30 million years ago, the rocks made up of basalt magma were pushed up  and never went to the surface.  This trapped magma began to cool very slowly, forming the typical jointing which we now observe today.

With quarrying, a lake was also formed, which became an interesting addition to this geological wonder. Now this area is protected, and is developed solely for tourism purposes.

We were very lucky to find it along the way.  My boys didn’t waste the chance to go up the hill.

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And here they are …..  Can you see them?

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The organ-like rock formation is one of the site’s most insteresting features.

My girl and I were again left behind.

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We didn’t mind.  I think this site is better viewed from afar.

Several pictures and further information about this attraction can be found here.

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Destination: Javoříčko Caves

During a recent trip to my husband’s hometown in Moravia, we decided to visit one of the more popular caves in the area, the Javoricko caves.  Now you might wonder how we are able to do it with a baby in tow?

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Well, one of us has to be left behind.  This time it was my husband.  Since he is from the area, he has been to the cave several times.  So it was my turn to bring Jakub with me on this exploratory journey.  So off I went with my sister-in-law and her two boys.

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The path to the entrance of the cave will lead you to a memorial honoring those who were killed during the end of the second world war.

As we entered the cave, this was the sight we saw.

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The terrain was composed of several uphill and downhill trails.  We chose the tour that was child-friendly, so all the roads were paved.

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It was interesting to see several rock formations.

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There were stalactites…

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… and stalagmites.

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According to information found on-line, the discovery of these caves started way back in 1938.  In 1950, the search has widened and more and more floors have been found and developed.

Although the hike was quite strenuous for this unfit mama, I really enjoyed the trip.  So did my boy who had to drag his mama along when the going went rough.

Anyhow, if you are ever in Moravia, this is one nature spot that you may not want to miss.

More information about the cave can be found here.

 

Destination: Karlovy Vary

Touted as the largest and most beautiful spa town in the heart of Europe, we decided to visit Karlovy Vary during our recent trip in this western part of the Republic.

It was a very short visit and I am now left hanging — wanting to see more.  The place is just so grand.  No wonder it has earned all these accolades.

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The weather was not in our favor during our visit, so we didn’t really get to walk around the town.

But a visit to Karlovy Vary will not be complete if one does not visit the main spring pavilion.

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So here I am with my little boy posing for shot inside the pavilion.

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We also tasted the spring waters, each available in different temperature gradients.

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If you have met my boy you would know that he is very friendly not one afraid of speaking out his mind.  He is a very sociable child and would talk to anybody at anytime.

In here, he is telling the lady to be careful because the water is hot.  Yup, the hottest water temperature was 72C.

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Right outside the pavilion, there were pigeons to chase, so we gave him a little bit of time to run around.

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This he was doing while his mama was busy taking photos of the beautiful architecture surrounding the area.

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After only testing the tip of the iceberg, I know I will really go back to this place.  It is only a few minutes drive from Marianske Lazne, and a trip to both spas is a future event that I am definitely pinning my hopes on.

To know more about this place, you can visit their webpage.

 

A Walk in the Woods

The weather has been slowly getting better in our side of the world, so I took my kids out yesterday for a walk in the woods.  Why the woods?  Well, you might as well say that I am slowly becoming Czech.  The malls are not as appealing as the woods anymore.

Anyway, here are a few pictures I was able to snap.

My little boy is growing so fast, and he really enjoys his new role of being a “big” brother.  While I was busy looking for things to photograph, he took over and pushed the stroller of his baby sister.

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Tired of doing it the regular way, he is experimenting with other ways on how to move it.

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At this point, I took over for fear that he may accidentally flip the stroller with his sister inside.  Instead, I asked him to lead the way.

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He obliged and even told me:  “Don’t worry, mom.  I will protect you and Michaela.”

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The end of the trail is the entrance to the city center through this bridge.

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There was nobody during that time.  It is still winter, afterall.

But we did see a fisherman on the river.   He was fishing while Jakub was feeding the ducks and swans.

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A new set of exercise bars were also built in a little space by the river.  I think they finished it last year, but I didn’t see it because I was too lazy to walk towards this side of town when I was still pregnant with my daughter.

When the temperatures finally go up, I think I would like to use one of these bars for fitness.

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But for now, I’ll just enjoy short walks with my kids.

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Despite the cold, it was a very nice walk.  Definitely another day well spent.

How are you coping up with winter in your side of the world?

The Heat is On

We have been having scorching hot weather in this part of the world these past few days. After the very long winter, now comes the heat.   It is the 3rd week now where temperatures had been at 30C++.  Although it is not unusual to get this high temperature, I have been told that having it linger for 3 weeks is quite unusual.

Thankfully, our passive house has kept us comfortable despite the soaring heat. Even without AC, we have managed to avoid overheating by scheduling our activities to conform with nature. For instance, I schedule all my cooking at night time when temperatures are normally low.   At dawn, when the temperature is at 10-17C, we increase the ventilation and open the windows to quickly let the cold air in.  During the day, we normally get 30+ temperatures, so we have all the blinds closed.  Although one of the features I love of this house is an abundance of natural light, no sunlight means minimal heat accumulation, so it will do for now.   The thick insulation is enough to preserve the coldness that was trapped at dawn.  The only drawback is that we, (mainly my husband) has to wake up early just to open the windows and quicky let the cold air in.  But this is very minimal considering the comfort that it brings.

To give you an idea of how it is ventilated, here is a short video about the ventilation system in a passive house.

So there you go, a passive house is not only good in winter but in summer as well.   I am sharing this with you so that if you ever think of building your own home, the passive house is the way to go.  It is good for the environment, good for your pocket and good in any weather!

Spring is Here!

After the seemingly endless winter weather that we’ve had over here, I was elated this past weekend as spring finally came.

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We took a walk to town through the woods and were having a grand time just looking at these leaf buds.  The birds were also singing and the air smelled so fresh.

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We then went to feed the ducks and the swans.

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And of course the trip wouldn’t be complete without a quick stop at the playground.

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Right now, a lot of visits and weekend trips are already planned.  On top of  that, we will have to put in a lot of work with our house landscaping too.  With too many activities planned and with relatively short time,  I am now beginning to understand why Czechs really love the outdoors.

An Unusual Easter Holiday

I was so looking forward to Easter Sunday because my husband and all the other Czechs I know were very optimistic about a bright and sunny Easter holiday. Although we still had subzero temperatures during the night, the days prior to Easter Sunday were relatively warm (at 2C or higher).

We arrived Friday night at my in-laws’ house and everyone were in high spirits. Come Saturday and the weather was not too bad. In fact, we had a little bit of sunshine creeping through the clouds as we walked around my husband’s home town in Moravia. But Easter Sunday was a different story. As I was getting ready for church earlier that morning, 5cm of fresh snow greeted me as I opened the windows. The worst part was that it didn’t stop snowing till late afternoon, not until it reached 15cm. In other parts of Moravia, the heavy snowfall caused a lot of road accidents.

We all went out to lunch that day at a local restaurant and visited my husband’s aunt at a neighboring town. We then proceeded to visit my mom-in-law at the hospital. Luckily, we arrived at our destination safe and sound and only had to contend with cleaning off the snow from our cars. It was a very unusual Easter, even for the Czechs. For a while there, I thought I moved to the North Pole instead of the Czech Republic. Winter has definitely overstayed.

I’m glad we are now back in our home in the Bohemian lowlands. There was no snow in this part of the country, and it is now relatively dry. I do feel bad for the rest of my husband’s family in Moravia who are still contending with heavy snowfall which is forecasted to last until Friday. “Oh well, what can we do? That’s life,” I said to myself as I am now slowly digging into my son’s Easter loot.

Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with a short video about my land of eternal sunshine. It is a great antidote to these winter blues.