Day 14: Prague, Czech Republic to Pirna, Germany.
We had planned to get up early to cycle into the city centre but when we woke around 6AM it was raining, heavily. With the rain on the roof and tired eyes we both went back to sleep without alarms. It was gone 10AM when we woke and we both slept very well! A lazy morning at the campsite, but toilet emptied, water tanks full, bathroom and Doris cleaned we had been slightly productive.
On the road and heading to the North of Czech by around 1PM. We’d be crossing the border back into Germany today and stayed there the night, only to return across the border of an evening. Strange day of country hoping, but necessary for what was planned.
As we were heading back into Germany we wanted to hit one last supermarket in Czech. Conveniently just as we thought of the plan, the next turn off had a GloBus. Initially and judging by it’s signs, I wasn’t hopeful that this was somewhere good to be spending out last 200CZK.
That said, GloBus is THE best supermarket I have ever been in ever. If you’re not someone who walks into a foreign supermarket and LOVES exploring them, we’re very different people. This GloBus was MASSIVE. For context, we did about 4000 steps walking around!
The bakery is always somewhere my nose takes me first and we weren’t disappointed. The selection was incredible and the price to match. We stocked up and selected our delightful looking pastries. Enough for about 4 days probably!
Czech Republic really is incredibly cheap. We brought 8 bakery items, 2 protein shakes, 6 alcoholic drinks, 2.5l of coke, some juice, a bunch of bananas, a big chocolate bar, a big bag of crisps, some throat medicine, a big bottle of water and some other bits I can’t remember. It came to a total of £17. Mostly branded stuff here too, it’s just crazy!
From there we headed into the town of Pirna. A town on the river Elbe and another beautiful German town. We parked Doris up and headed out for a small walk to stretch our legs and see some of the local town. Once back at the van we chilled out for a little bit and didn’t do much. My moustache has been bothering me lately so what better time to do some facial maintenance. I politely asked Nat if she could trim by moustache, to which she obliged. Cutting started and within approx. 15 seconds she’d sliced and cut into my upper lip. My moustache can stay long.
Todays plan was to head to Bohemian Switzerland. Unlike the name suggests, this is a national park that is in Germany/Czech Republic. It’s an incredible landscape which sometimes looks like it belongs on mars. Huge rocks and borders with trees growing through them, around them and over them.
Bohemian Switzerland is probably one of the lesser known spots in Europe. I’d never heard of it before driving here and I’ve never seen anyone talk about it or mention it. Unless you’re an avid rock climber, I don’t think this place would ever pop up on your map. That said, we want to explore through here a little and find some beautiful spots.
Our first hike was to be the Pravcicka Brana which is an incredible archway on the Czech side of Bohemian Switzerland. The drive from Pirna to BS (Bohemian Switzerland) was beautiful. Very similar to that over the trip down the river Rhine, beautiful buildings on the river banks and wonderful green mountains either side.
When we passed over the German/Czech border the rock formations got even more impressive. So impressive that I didn’t see the speed camera that decided to flash me right in the eye. Bollocks. I think I was doing 40 in a 30, but I swear it was because I didn’t see the 30 signs!
Right onto the road with buildings and shops built into them, it was beautiful. A short drive up along a smaller river and we reached the bottom of where the trail to the archway began.
The hike is relatively short. Recommended time is around 45 minutes up and 45 minutes down. The terrain is part path and mostly trail. The path through the thick woodland is beautiful. Then as you get higher, a lot of switchbacks appear which would be to navigate around the protruding rocks I presume.
When you first see the archway, it’s incredibly impressive. That and there is a, incredibly, a 50 room hotel right next to the archway. Built in 1881, The Falcons Nest sits rather impressively next to the large archway and looking over the impressive valley below.
The Archway and surrounding landscapes were used in the making of The Chronicles of Narnia. Kinda cool, eh! Unfortunately the Falcons nest was closed and we couldn’t get up and close to the archway. So we might have climbed up and over a fence to see what was what.
When back at Doris the sun was setting and what an incredible sunset it was. Unfortunately we couldn’t pull over as it was a single lane 80KMPH road, but it was incredible to see it changing colours and setting behind the mountains. Luckily for us, Doris’ windscreen is 92ft wide so we get to see an awful lot!
Arriving at our camping location later than we have done before. We settled in quick, made some tea, stuck on some friends and cracked open a cider to celebrate two weeks on the road.
Two weeks living inside Doris. What a journey. Here’s to the next 11.
Tonights camping location: Pirna, Germany. (CamperContact:3892)