I'm really having trouble trying to decide if I should post all these great pictures in one post, or break it up into two. There's just so much good stuff in here, but I don't want to overload a single post. We'll see... Like I said, I took this great walk last week, and was definitely snap happy. The best part was that so many of the pictures turned out looking good in my own personal opinion. I know all sorts of people swear by having the right camera. Well, let me just say that my little Olympus that I bought in Hong Kong 8 years ago, still does the trick for me. Plus, it fits in my pocket. And, it has survived being dropped and visiting sub freezing temperatures on multiple occasions, so I really can't complain. Sure, it gets grainy when the lighting isn't right, and there is only one lens, and the effects are limited, but when I snap a moment of brilliance, it turns out and that makes me smile :)
Again, an apology for if these paragraphs all get smashed together. I promise I pushed return and added an extra line for space, but this program has been idiotic for the past month or so, and continues to push it all together in a hard to manage mass. Perhaps they're hinting that I would write shorter blog posts so as not to intimidate people. Who knows, but it does bug me, and I want people to be aware that I still know how to properly construct a paragraph. End Vent.
After walking around Usovice for a while, I took a turn to steeper trails and made my way up into the woods. I started out walking through a little park that houses a lovely spring. It was currently closed, but still looks sweet at the end of the trail.
I was feeling adventurous and decided to follow the signs. I've walked this way several times in normal weather, but the snow was about to get extreme.
I did find one spring still open along the way. There was an assortment of plastic cups sitting there, but I opted just to take photos and to leave the funky tasting, and naturally very healthy, water for someone else to enjoy.
I wish you could see how the water literally bubbles up here. It's hard to tell from the pictures, except for the expanding circles, but this spring produces three liters a minute, so that's quite a lot of water passing through.
At the top of the stairs leading away from the spring I walked through this lovely snowy meadow. I didn't bring a measuring stick, but I would say there was at least a foot and a half of snow up there. A lot more than down in town.
The trail came out up near the Boheminium park which I think is closed at this time of year, and also near a little enclosure where they have some unusual deer. They were pretty far away, so I climbed up the tower to get a peek at them. The snow on the stairs was deep, and the climb was steep, but I was up for it :)
I was still determined to reach the Rozhledna Hamelika, which is a nifty observation tower, so I kept on going, until I heard random music playing in the air. I had hiked this way plenty of times in the summer, but never when the ski slope was actually open. Oops. So I had to do a little improvising to skirt around the slope. I'm sure the skiers thought I looked crazy, but eventually I made it around and at last reached the object of my hike.
I did actually climb to the top, but it was fairly hard to get a good picture due to the low hanging snow clouds that kept sending down little flurries along the way. I then proceeded past a place that makes me sad. Back in its heyday, Marianske Lazne was very popular with tourists from around the world, who made the pilgrimage here to care for their health. As a part of their cure, they would walk along the magnificent trails, and take in the fresh air and lovely views. In order to make the whole experience even more romantic (as Anne Shirley would no doubt find it) they built lovely hotels in the woods with little cafe's where the seekers could find a good cup of coffee and a spectacular view. Most of these places are now closed, including some of the incredible hotels in the town itself. Makes me longer for those "Golden Days" of yore.
All right, I've decided to leave myself up amongst the trees for now, and save the city pictures for my next post. Imagine me sitting at the old cafe and warming up after my freezing walk, and come back for more soon :)
(Oh, and I just might have figured out the paragraph issue. They seem to have added a new options bar to assist me after I sent feedback saying the new program was driving me crazy. Here's to hope!)
Monday, January 30, 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
I took a walk a couple of days ago, and ended up with so many great pictures that I have decided to break it into several posts rather than throwing them all out in one go. We'll start right here, basically in my back yard, in the area of Usovice. I'm not sure how all the exact distinction lines run. Our address is Marianske Lazne, but this area is called Usovice (pronounced Ush-o-vits-eh, sorry I don't have any haceks on my computer to make it diacritically correct). Perhaps at some stage, in an era long gone, this was a separate town, but it all just blends together at this point. Anyhow, I wanted to get more exercise, and enjoy a day when the snow was fresh and fluffy, rather than nasty slushy soupy muck, so I hiked all over the place. My first area of observation was the Usovice church. As you can see by the date over the door, it's been around a while.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Subtitle: The joys of Great Coffee and Cuddles with Cuties :) After three years (hard to believe it could possibly have been so long ago) I finally had a chance to visit with the Wendel family again. They had to move back to the US for a while, so I missed out on seeing them my last year here, but they have been back in Czech since early summer or so last year, and were good and prepared for visitors. The fat squishy baby I enjoyed cuddling with the last time I hung out with them now prefers sword fighting and keeping his toys away from his younger sister. He has been replaced as the baby times two, but maintains the opinion that he should still have his fair share of time in center of attention land. I headed out of Marianske Lazne on Friday morning, and enjoyed the nice long train ride. There is just something about the train that speaks of foreign lands and promises of interesting sights to me. I must confess, I'm reading Anne of Avonlea right now and it has definitely affected me to a certain extent. I'll have to watch that I don't get too flowery as I work on my book editing process. I'll just have to leave it for the blog. Anyhow, my heart has been craving artsy-ness, and the train provided me some chances to play.