Changing Seasons, Changing Winds : Czechia --> Botič to Vltava.

If you like nature, then this article is for you. How shall we explore the changing landscapes through the seasons? Are we driving? Or perhaps on roller skates? I will say, ‘Close, but no’.

We are in the suburbs of Prague with another good friend, Stanislav Kostka, who tells me the preferred way to explore his backyard is by cycle. Stanislav goes on these exploration tours frequently. I got a tad curious. Does he go on these excursions to get a glimpse of a Beskydy bear? He told there are no Beskydy bears because we are not in in the Beskydy forest. Dear me! I need to update my knowledge on bears. Regardless, he agreed to take us on a couple trips nearer to the city, to experience the changing seasons. Lets go.


A colourful path

Do you know where Prague is? The city of Prague is the jewel of the Czech Republic in central Europe.

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country with four neighbours - Austria, Germany, Poland, and Slovakia. Czechia is the country’s official short English name, which was approved in 2016. Czechia is a member of the European Union.1

Some of the people I met in the Prague office, while with the yellow and red logistics company, are today my close friends. They are either from the Czech Republic or its neighbouring countries. I cannot name any friends, in fear I absent-mindedly miss some out.

Here is a simplified map of Czech Republic and its neighbours, extracted from Google images.2

Where are we?

Prague is Czech Republic’s capital, and it is also the historic capital of Bohemia. The famous landmarks in this city include the 9th century roman-gothic styled Prague Castle, the 14th century Charles Bridge, cobbled streets & Old Town Square & Wenceslas Square. Here are a couple of pictures from my visit long, long time ago. Do any you know who the talented performer below is? 

In 2008

Our exploration today, as I mentioned earlier, is far away from these charming historical sites. We are deep in the wildness, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. We are up close and personal with nature and the calmness of our surroundings. 

The day starts with a glorious sunrise. No snow topped roofs today. Just a bit of sun.

Good morning!

Next, we are on a train, heading to Hostivař Forest Park and some of the suburbs in Prague. Along the way, we will see not one but two rivers. Botič, and the Vltava. And as a treat, we also will see a frozen lake. Hop on, enjoy the ride. Tell me if you spot a Beskydy bear (or any bear for that matter).

Off we go
Can you hear that?  I am excited. I cannot wait to see what is waiting at the other end.


I wonder if Stanislav remembered to put on his Sherlock Holmes suit today. He has an unsolved case that is long overdue - the mystery of a red-lipstick-ed coffee cup. A mysterious woman once left this cup behind for him on one of the rides. Were the fingerprints on the Mac and the lingering aroma good leads? 

Hmmm ... 

We arrive at Hostivařská Přehrada. This is a serene forest area located about 50 minutes away by bus/train from where Stanislav stays. We ride our bikes along the Botič.  Sometimes Botič is referred to as a stream because it is not as large as some of the other rivers that flow across the Czech Republic (the Botič’s river basin is just 135km2). The Botič flows northwest and joins the main Czech river, Vltava. Did you know a dam was built in the Botič river?

Hostivařská Přehrada

Now, do you see chips of ice in the river? The water is freezing alright.  See any fishes there? Now hear that… the ice chips bump hastily against each other as the river flows north towards the Vltava.  The chill is biting. I hope you have on warm clothes.

Soon this part of the river, Stanislav tells me, will freeze completely and will be safe for you to glide upon with your ice skates.

Almost frozen. Do you see the stick on the surface?

The Botič river bank is usually busy with city bikers, inline skaters, and parents with kids. Most visitors come here on weekends. Today is a weekday, and no, we are not at work.  Fortunately, there are not many bikers or people to compete with. To be precise, we counted only twelve people, four dogs, and two horse riding patrols.

Get your skates

On our next trip here, the Botič is frozen. Here is where the dam was built in 1960, making it appear like a lake today. Did I mention, no camping is allowed along this stream? Don’t even think about it. Remember those horse patrols we counted earlier? Well, there are more…

Let's glide
Here is another icy portion of the river. I am afraid I misplaced the icy music Stanislav captured. My bad!

While we wait for the icy music...

We are riding a little further, now.  We see the Vltava, the longest river in the Czech Republic. It is also known as the Bohemian Sea. Look here, we have another visitor in addition to the humans, an ondatra. This, as I understand, is an unusual sight here. We must be lucky indeed. Ondatras live in swamps, marshes and wetlands. Folks in the city need to come here to see them.  Ondatras are known as muskrats in the US.

Hello  Ondatra

It’s spring, the frozen winter rivers and lake have melted. It’s getting warm and delightful. First signs of yellow dandelions that tease the trail. Did you notice them? Charming, aren’t they? Now here is the Vltava, now relieved. Flowing blue. Relaxed.


There, this is the cycle that we have used for these trips, complete with a soft bell to pre-warn the clumsy passers-by. Stanislav, get a bigger bell or show us the mirrors – we want to see you. Stanislav likes staying behind the scenes.

I am ready
Daffodils. Yellow and White. Daffodils mark the start of spring. I regard these yellow and while bulbs as nature’s most delicate and graceful flowers. They bloom and bump their happy petals against the wind and sing their hearts out in harmony. However, they do so only in early spring. If you missed this year’s choir performance, you'd have to wait another twelve months to hear them. But today, we have these golden blooms in abundance in this post, so we can see and listen to them throughout the changing seasons.

Gold is the theme

And look, there are more dandelions! Look deep inside these love-me-not petals – it’s more than just weed. These are golden sprinkles in the green carpet. They tell you a story if you care to listen. One day soon, I will tell you why these sunny dandelions lift me up. Trust me it is not the pollen!

Cherry blossoms, another of spring’s delight to mark the beginning of a good summer. Prague’s cherry blossom season is towards the end of April and early May. These pink and red blooms open-up spring’s curtains, unfolding the many breath-taking landscapes and life’s profound decisions: one of them, a wedding with the joyous tones of a new beginning.
Moods of spring

It's summer. Our bike is ready. The river is still the same, the trail is also the same. But there are no teasing dandelions that carpet the path.

Set, again
We haven’t come face to face with any crocodiles. No bears, nor any ondatras.

The path is once again quiet on a busy summer’s day. Can we hunt? Maybe not – doesn’t go well with a trying-hard-to-be-a vegetarian. We have a head start. The rest are preparing their breakfast scramble. I smell that hot brew.

I am hungry
We take a rest here. We have our coffee and sandwiches too but are also careful not to disturb the chirpy birds.

Sandwich time

Autumn. Fall, as known in the Americas. It came to us so fast this year and stayed for a just a short while.

These beautiful shots of green, red, gold and the composed Vltava, from Stanislav’s friends, are reminders for us of the golden summer days we had this year. Look at those swans. These birds are so elegant. 

Autumn colours

Another swan and a couple of ducks. More memories. 😊


Elegance

I stumbled upon the figurine below by chance mid this year. I was instantly reminded of all my biker friends who find pleasure in long-distance cycling such as the ones mentioned in this post. The “Winds of Change” post is indeed a perfect place for this picture today.

For you

At the end of our bike trip, we are rewarded with a mystical sunset.

Mystical sunset

Our ride back is a snowy one. Looks like we cycled for a long time. Our adventure in this region continues… stay with us. 

A classic, one of my favourites  ... snow on tracks


We are back, and it’s time for us to put our tired feet up and enjoy the autumn sunset. We time-travelled and cycled many miles today, and I am exhausted.


Enjoy the view- an evening in Prague

We will explore more frozen rivers and track down those mountain bears (Uma stop imagining!) and elegant swans this winter. In Frozen land, as Stanislav calls it.

For now, here is coffee to end the pleasant day. Stanislav, thank you so much for sharing these unforgettable hot and cold experiences of 2018. Sorry that your coffee got cold while you snapped these awesome photos for this post. I will get you a hot espresso when we meet. Scout's honour.

The changing seasons, changing winds. So much has passed by us in these quarters. Some good and we wish the rest could have been better. We all go through this, many of us silently. Remember, you are not alone, silence is a language that the winds hear clearly. These are same winds that will send messages in different forms to the rightful recipient at the right season.  Believe in those stars, reach for them. ReachingDelphi.💗💙💚💛💜💗


Iced-HOT, HOT Espresso. Special!!!

Note:
Traveler on location : Stanislav Kostka @ Feb 2018 - Oct 2018


1 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czech_Republic
2 - http://ostrava.educanet.cz/www/anglictina/index821d821d.html?option=com_content&view=article&id=588&Itemid=996

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