It was supposed to be riding with your eyes closed. They kidnap us, we do not know where. We only know that on Thursday after work, we have to be ready to go. In my head I flicker a few guesses, but all in all unnecessarily, for it is putting yourself into the unknown that adds a pleasant thrill. Besides, we expect something good, because it’s the June surprise trip, birthday present for me and Dorothy from our Boys-Riders-Snatchers. It soon turns out to be so much more for me. Following the trail of the natural variety, on the border between the two neighbouring countries to us, we get to the magical land of rock bridges and giants. In there, my Knight kneels at the stone gate and slips on my finger the eye of the aquamarine sky – the blue I shall wear around forever…
Our Motorcyclists had carefully planned it all. In the evening, a shared bonfire surrounded by greenery, on the family estate of Martin. Taking a Sudeten brisk breath of air to set out to north with full energy the next day in the morning. I do not know when the inscriptions on tablets change to Czech Republic. The landscape very similar to Polish, until suddenly and unexpectedly a building grows in front of our eyes, which we have not seen before…
Rock Castle and Hermitage in Sloup
We ride up to the houses shot into the sky between trees on top of a sandstone tower. This is not a scene from the fantasy movie, but a fortified borough from the Middle Ages, burned during the Swedish invasions, and then offered to hermits. Climbing the Knightly Stairs at 35 m above the surrounding countryside, we enter the labyrinth of caves and rock caves hewn into the rock, and we admire the panorama of the Lusatian Mountains all around us.
The castle is available to be explored alone or with a guide. Prices are CZK 70 per adult ticket, reduced CZK 40 and CZK 175 family (max. two adults and children).
The Lord Rock: Stone Organs
From Sloup our riders rush toward another rock trivia. Once again surprised by the view, this time an unusual structure so geometric, it’s hard to believe that the human hand did not help. These pentagonal or hexagonal basalt columns reaching almost 12 meters, are volcanic formation, national natural monument in the village Prachen, near Kamienicki Szenów. Looking at them, my first inclination was: “stone organs” and indeed that name even stands – Kamenné Varhany.
How this miracle was created? Sources say that about 30 million years ago, lava flowing from a depth of 30 km solidified inside the volcanic chimney. Interestingly, cooling down it shrank and burst creating poles of regular shape. Next to it, there is a small lake inhabited by a record number of frogs. The location enjoys the sympathy of tourists and film crews who use this unique stage design.
Pekelne Doly, a motorcycle club in the cavern
This is not the end of the excitement of the day. And not the end of the rock climates. Motorcycles enter the famous Czech cavernous headquarters of bikers. Pekelne Doly, or “The Pits of Hell” is the only one in Europe such motorcycle club that lets you ride a motorcycle right to the bar located under a stone ceiling and circulate on the machines in the labyrinths of the largest on the continent sandstone. This unique place is located in the Czech Republic between the villages of Svitava and Valenica, approx. 45 km from Bogatynia. The total area of the caves is approx. 3.5 thousand of square meters.
Inter Camp Mosquito
After an eventful day, boys lead us to a room where we rest before the next adventure.
Large wooden hive with 4 bunk beds is quite sufficient, because the day after as a magnet for surrounding meadow bathed in abundant sunshine. And at dusk… at dusk camping begins to pulsate with its own life. Full of family bustle, guitar sounds and singing by the campfire.
|Sleeping in travel in the Czech Inter Mosquito Camp accommodation is a penny business, because approx. EUR 6 if you take a cottage for the four (full price list here). Camping is equipped with a functional kitchen, a mini canteen, and you will even find there a little restaurant on the terrace.|
You get the feeling that people coming here, choose an active vacation, the proximity of nature or simply want a cheap and nice place for a family outing or a meeting with friends they haven’t seen in years. Like the cheerful Czech crew of fathers we met, who organised little holidays with their kiddies. After a joint supper and lullaby, they put babies to sleep and in a minute start their own party. ;) Between the Czech bonfire classics, we even heard “The Soap Fa”, a famous Polish song. See for yourself in the video! And perhaps the most important thing, the campground is a stone’s throw from the Czech Switzerland, our next surprise and the most important goal…
The Czech Switzerland
A new day extends its arms with forest land spread out on the rock bridges, balconies, spiers and walls, from deep gorges and valleys, through the steam towards the sun-dipped rocky spines. That’s how the Labské Pískovce welcome us, creating a landscape that is compelling and unique in Europe. Even back in Romanticism, it delighted the Swiss painters. They appointed this park their Swiss foreign land. And so this land, located on the border between the Czech Republic and Germany took the title of the Czech and Saxon Switzerland. Being there, you will probably notice as well the amazing vegetation that is so diverse precisely because of the specific climate and weather conditions, different for cool gorges and valleys, and different for heated, higher parts of the park.
The Gateway to…
And all these picturesque paths, wooden stairs and rock ladders lead hikers to the unusual gate, which is the largest natural rock bridge in Europe known as Pravčická Gate.
It was this symbol of the Czech Switzerland that so captivated Joki while watching the photographs, that he decided to make it our symbolic “gate of love”. I was not expecting nothing at all. I was with runny nose, but desperate to heal myself with a decent walk, dressed in comfortable rags, with a bun of Littly My on the head, I suddenly realized that this Knight of mine abducted me to this land to ceremoniously make me his Lady. And I think there couldn’t be a better time during the trip than this, where the whole WE just are, without masks, ornaments and distractions of everyday life, relying on ourselves and friends, intoxicated with the beauty of a new day, whistling together the travel songs and happy that once, somewhere our paths have intertwined, so that today we are able to toddle together towards common dreams.
As you might expect, the gate itself on the top deck has already ticketed entrance – 3 Euros per adult person or 1 Euro for half-price ticket.
Gondolas in the Czech Niagara
Although the act at the stone gate undoubtedly becomes for me the highlight of this mysterious expedition, more surprises are absolutely not missing. Not only that, our engagement in a moment becomes only the backdrop for the epic feat of Martin, who like Forrest Gump makes heroic culmination of the day with his long-distance run after our helmets waiting in the Czech shack at the entrance to the park. For suddenly it has become so late that the kiosk at any moment will be closed and with it our equipment, thereby preventing our return.
And all because of the boats, the promised romantic gondolas on the small river Kamenice. Our kidnappers have loosened up so much that we unnecessarily wandered in the heat many kilometers in a completely wrong direction. Because the river and boats obviously flow in one direction, and when one reaches the end of their tour, no one will flip us through the stream… ;) We wandered around, also in dust on the road, sometimes in beautiful surroundings, but making the distance, arguments about the direction and empty water bottles have done their job. Finally, we blissfully sat down to our dream boat and all the stress was forgiven. We get wrapped by the gentle coolness of the ravine. The cheerful skipper causes the rock walls to give a cold shower, known as the Czech Niagara Falls, attraction of this trip (one squeaks, others laugh). Cost for the boat per person is CZK 80.
If you have the desire, time, and the possibility then allow yourself to wander around the beautiful Czech Switzerland as much as possible :) But if you depend on the plan and optimal use of vacation, we present helpful maps below.
The Saxon Switzerland
Poland, the Czech Republic and now Germany. We move to the Saxon Switzerland, the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, approx. 40 km south-east from Dresden. And here again, oh, those views, rock chimneys, folds and towers, the famous stone bridge Bastei, in the distance ribbon of Elbe River… Only the waves of tourists way too big, especially on weekends, so one hasn’t got peace and quiet to contemplate the work of nature like “The Wanderer above Sea of Fog” from the Friedrich’s painting.
The Blue Lagoon
Along the way, of course, castles and attractions. But these days are so abundant in excitement and beautiful views that many things we postpone for the next time. At the end of this pleasant abduction, the last surprise for all of us (because this time even outside the plan of abductors) is the sunny beach “Blue Lagoon” and the Berzdorfer See baths, near Goerlitz. A moment of cold feet in the water brings happiness, but the next moment we desperately look for shadows to pitch our traveling kitchen. The beach shadow is at a premium, any dark spots next to the windbreaks are taken to the centimeter. So we land beyond the beach, closer to the square parking in bushes, unknowingly getting onto a huge property of ants. It takes a while before we realize the situation and in panic get from the ground our helmets, jackets and trousers taken off the hot bodies with euphoria. Strolling on the head or sleeve ants while riding are not the nicest addition. But we manage to survive the oppression. It’s the episode that somehow also fall into my drawer of colorful memories from this surprise trip (a warning! ;) )
Time for you!
|Pekelne Doly - bikers cave and club|
Motoklub PEKELNÉ DOLY, Cvikov, Czechy
|The Rock Castle Sloup|
Skalní hrad a poustevna Sloup, Pod Hradem, Sloup v Čechách, Czechy
|Panská skála - Lužické hory|
Panská skála, Kamenický Šenov, Czechy
|Natural stone bridge Brama Pravčicka|
Pravčická brána, Hřensko, Czechy
|The Bastei Bridge|
Berghotel Bastei, Lohmen, Niemcy
|The Blue Lagoon|
Berzdorfer See, Görlitz, Germany
Although the described trip has become very personal and special for us, all the collusive scheme proved to be most exquisite, versatile scenario for all bikers looking for a few days of adventure full of various impressions. The enormity of beauty which a land of lush greenery, fancy rocks and murmuring streams had fed us, these landscapes that inspire from ancient times are great option to go for anyone limited with short vacation or low budget. In a few days you can fill yourself up with the beauty of 3 countries, see the places and corners that are truly remarkable, more or less known, without spending a fortune at all. We gathered the maps shown above, so there is nothing left, but to saddle the horses, kidnap the ladies and rush towards the Saxon-Czech adventure! ;)
Oh, and here is our adventure in a short video coverage! :)
And the one who was in Sloup, at the Lord’s Rock, in the Pits of Hell or the “Czech-German Switzerland” and can say something – we encourage to comment below.