Turning 30 warrants a birthday week month. Mine kicked off earlier this week when my friend, Isabelle arrived from France but the celebration really got started on Wednesday afternoon when Jace picked me up after work. We have a 4 day holiday weekend, and all I knew was that we’d be heading out of town at 4pm with bags full of hiking and outdoor gear.
At 3:58pm, I raced down the school steps, threw my computer bag into the waiting van, jumped in with Jace and Isabelle, and said, “let’s go!” Jace said we were waiting for a couple more arrivals, and so when our friends Daniel and Katy showed up, I was giddy with excitement to get the weekend started.
We drove the maze of twisty country roads toward the mountains Saxony shares with the Czech Republic, so I figured we’d be hiking somewhere among them. When we stopped in Hrensko, I was slightly confused, but it turned out that Jace was counting on my dependable need for a toilet brake to grab a map and wait for our friend Carolin, who was arriving by train. Yay! More friends!
Finally, we took the narrow mountain road that left the river valley floor to head deep into the mountains. I had a good guess that this region would be our final destination, and was gleeful when we pulled onto a long dirt road that lead to a small lodge that had been converted from an old mill. In typical Czech style, there was a lovely outdoor patio suspended above the stream, a casual dining room and simple rooms with wooden floors and basic furnishings. Hot showers and warm meals served fresh every night, is there anything else a person needs for a couple of days of hiking?
After settling in, we started on a night of sampling a list of Czech specialties. While very traditional with typical dishes such as pickled cheese with garlic, fried chees with fries, pan seared trout, garlic soup, schnitzel and roasted meats, I can’t say that it was the best eating I’ve had in the Czech Republic, but it definitely held me over for a few days.
Jace and I enjoyed the super early rising sun and took the dog for a long walk in the mornings well before anyone else was out on the trail. It brings us immense joy to watch her exploring, darting in and out of the bushes, splashing along the river’s edge and running full speed up and down the trail. At one point, the trail was a series of steps chiseled out of the rock face above the river. Playful as she is, the pup ran straight up the rock face until she ran out of momentum, and rather than jumping onto the stairs, slid all the way down the face, PLOP, directly into a deep pool in the river. Our pup hates swimming, so we had a good laugh seeing her fall in over her head and splashing around. Typical to her personality, she shook the shock off within seconds and was racing around like a rocket again.
We lucked out with amazing sunny and warm weather for a nice 16 km loop that took us up to several lookouts above the unusual rock outcrops known in the area, a castle that we never found, and an old mill deep in the forest that bears a date marker from 1777. We enjoyed a massive lunch that came to the equivalent of about 5 euros per person, took lots of pictures and enjoyed each other’s conversation, the smells of spring and the excitement of exploring new territory.
Over all, it was decided that little trips like this need to be taken more often during our weekends. While Dresden’s a small city with lots of open space and gardens, truly getting away from time to time is so relaxing and rejuvenating.
There’s still 4 more days until my actual birthday, and I know that Jace has lots of other surprises up his sleeves. What a great husband! Plus, I have a visit from my sister and new brother in law coming up next weekend to look forward to. Turning 30’s great!
Cooling our feet off
Not a bad place for dinner
Sheep and green pastures
Cooling off in the breeze, enjoying the view of the Czech countryside
The last few stairs to the top
Katy enjoying the overlook
Rhaja racing on the stairs
1777 and still standing… kind of
Remnants of an old mill
Morning along the creek
Early morning shadows