During the weekend of 23rd – 24th September, the Welcome Centre organized a lively getaway to the picturesque region of Jablonec nad Nisou, situated in the north of the Czech Republic. This memorable weekend was full of diverse activities, new acquaintances and of course delicious cuisine!
Following a night of showers, we set off on a beautiful Saturday morning and our private mini-bus drove us from Prague to the first destination in Jablonec nad Nisou. Jablonec nad Nisou has been known for centuries for the production of glass and jewellery. That is why we visited the Museum of Glass and Jewellery which includes the fields of glass and jewellery together, a collection of jewellery of all materials and technologies. It proudly houses the second largest collection of glass in the Czech Republic and the world's largest public collection of glass Christmas decorations. After immersing ourselves in the museum’s treasures, we wandered through the city, eventually settling in the restaurant on the main square where we enjoyed lunch and a short rest.
After an excellent lunch, we eagerly continued further north to one of the most famous locations for hiking and cross-country skiing in the Czech Republic – Bedřichov. Bedřichov is part of the Jizera Mountains which were declared a protected landscape area in 1968. There are over 20 protected areas - nature reserves, sites and study areas. Areas with the occurrence of rare plants, extensive peatlands and original beech stands are mainly protected. From Bedřichov, we hiked through the forest to Černá Nisa Dam. The dyke is walled, 15 metres high and about 340 m long. Although, we hiked for quite some kilometres, even our youngest researcher – 1,5 years old - made it!
As dusk neared, we made our final stop of the day at the Královka Tower, from where we were treated to a view of the Jizera and Krknoše Mountains, along with the Ještěd Tower above the city of Liberec.
After a nice walk back to the bus, we finally departed to our very last destination, Janov nad Nisou. In Janov, the Czech University of Life Sciences has a spacious cottage, available for CZU employees. Since we had the entire cottage for ourselves, we were able to fully enjoy the common spaces. Upon arrival, we checked in and prepared a dinner. But how do you manage a feast for nearly 20 people? Well, we took advantage of the large kitchen. Martina quickly divided the tasks in the kitchen and in no time all the participants were cutting, frying and even baking. After a while, we served a delicious dinner on the table! For dessert, Mirka showcased the art of making a traditional apple strudel and two volunteers prepared the strudel themselves. Later, we played Bingo where the top three winners were awarded a small gift and we also played Musical chairs which is an exciting elimination game involving players, chairs, and music. Full of impressions from the whole day, we wished each other ‘’Dobrou noc’’ looking forward to recharging for the following busy day.
Early on Sunday, we started the day by cooking breakfast together. Some enthusiasts even woke up very early to see the sunrise! We had to pack our bags quickly as Liberec was awaiting us. Liberec is the fifth biggest city in Czechia with a long and glorious history which also proves the local magnificent City Hall. The city enjoyed its greatest prosperity in the 18th century, when it became the largest textile manufacturing city in the Kingdom of Bohemia. Our first stop in Liberec was the oldest Botanical Garden in the Czech Republic. Here we were given an exclusive tour by the Garden Manager who allowed us access to non-public areas and gave us a detailed botanical presentation about the garden’s unique flora. After lunch, a quick walk in the city and admiration of the gothic City Hall, it was time for our last stop.
Our journey led us to the dominant feature of the North Bohemian landscape - Ještěd Tower. It is a 94 metres high television transmitter and a hotel on the top of Mount Ještěd over Liberec. The Tower is made of reinforced concrete shaped in a hyperboloid form and from the top, you can see the surrounding mountains. We were blessed with the beautiful weather of the last warm days and enjoyed the sun with a cup of hot beverage. Even though it was hard to give up the stunning view and sunshine, it was time to leave for Prague.
Exhausted, but full of new experiences and new friends, we will keep this trip in our memory as one of the most successful excursions. Thank you to all participants for bringing in such vibrant energy!
Author: Martina Šlesingerová