-the world as I see it
Well… the title of this article may be a wee bit misleading, depending on your interpretation of the term ‘Bohemian’. Initially, I planned to title this post Prague for the offbeat traveller, which might have been more apt, but when I saw the words Prague and offbeat together, the word ‘Bohemian’ flashed in my mind, and I just HAD to use it 😀
The aura of elegance and the magical charm that Prague exudes cannot be paralleled by any other city in the world. When in Prague on a short holiday, you might as well kiss goodbye the idea of doing something non-touristy, but if you do manage to spare some time and want to get a taste of what it is to be like a local, here’s some of the things I recommend.
1. Lesy na Cibulce
The nearest tram stop is Klamovka (via tram numbers 4, 9, 10 and 16). You need to keep walking along the Jinonicka street until the point B (on the map) which marks the entrance to Lesy na Cibulce.
I went there for the first time in the fall, but unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera along. Near the entrance to this ecological landscape, is a stone tunnel that offers you a preview of what’s in store for you.
As I made my was through the snake- like paths dotted with yellowed leaves, I was mesmerized by the trees which lined the sides, with hues ranging from pale yellow to bright orange. If you would like to see fall in all its beauty, this is THE place to go.
Most locals go jogging here or take their dogs for a walk. Statues of some Greek gods are tucked away in corners and you can hear the water gurgling in the creeks around. I also spotted a railway track that passes through the forest reserve, the place seemed to be straight out of a poem!
According to me, if you’re looking for some quiet time with nature, a walk in Lesy na Cibulce will definitely do you good. The place just keeps getting better and better with every passing season. The radiant fall colours give way to a wintry snow haven, and just when you’re sad about the snow melting away, baring the deadened trees, spring comes along and adds a dash of colour and life to the place, prepping it up for the exuberant green paradise it transforms into, come summer. The pictures that I have uploaded were taken a week later. Sadly, it didn’t look as good as it had the first time because fall was nearly over.
2. Divoka Sarka
In order to get here, you need to take either tram 20 or 26 and hop off at the stop called ‘Divoka Sarka’. I haven’t attached a picture of the route because you can easily find your way. What is Divoka Sarka? – It is a natural reserve blessed with all the elements to make it a perfect recreational spot – hills, valleys, forests and a lake. The place is named after a mythical Goddess (Sarka) and let me say, one of the foremost feminists, who jumped off the cliffs into the jaws of death. How did I get to know about the place? – It was sometime during February, my classmates and I were in deep despair – we were in the middle of a mind-numbing assignment and the biting cold (read -20 degree C) didn’t make our moods any better. So a few of my friends decided to let off some steam and lose themselves in the ‘wilderness’. They decided to get off at the last stop of the tram that passed by the university and wander around Divoka Sarka. The trip turned out to be a welcome respite as they stumbled upon a frozen lake where a few people were skating. The intense cold had turned the lake into a natural rink and the depth of the ice assured everyone that the place was safe to skate and even play a game of ice hockey- free of cost.
Being born and brought up in a place that has never seen temperature lower than twenty degrees Celsius (on the positive side :P), I was thrilled to bits at the opportunity of learning to skate on a naturally frozen lake. After a two hour session of ‘trying to skate’, which was super fun minus the great many falls, the wet backside and the sore hipbone, I decided to call it a day. The next time I went back to Divoka Sarka, the lake was beginning to melt as it had gotten warmer. In the summertime, the same lake serves as a natural swimming pool – how cool is that ! I went trekking thorough the hills and valleys and watched the sun set over the beautiful city. The view that you get of Prague from atop the hills in Divoka Sarka is quite different from what you see at other elevated spots in the city – here you can see the newer part of Prague and the residential areas.
Don’t forget to take a bottle of water along as you get really thirsty from all the climbing and clambering.
3. Prokop valley/ Prokopské údolí
To get to the valley, you can either get off at the metro stop Nove Butovice or Hurka and walk to the valley. I don’t remember the exact route I took to get there as I went there along with my flatmates who knew the area inside-out and all I had to do was to follow them.
This place is ideal for a day trip with the family and friends. Don’t forget to pack up some goodies for you to munch on. Since we had gone there at the onset of spring, once we ascended the hill and reached the top, it was sheer bliss to rest our weary selves and soak up the sun. Of particular interest is a cave which, according to legend, was inhabited by St. Procopius once upon a time.
The main attraction of the Prokopske udoli is a pristine pond nestled in the valley.
Do check out the viaduct on the Prague Semmering Railway line on your way out. Thumbs up for the section in the reserve that has some pretty ingenious creations from wood.
When in Prague, do as the Praguers do – and boy, do they love their beer. You can grab a beer at a beer-house in the vicinity and ‘mull’ over the good times 😉