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Czech Republic (Czech Switzerland)

The end of October marked the end of my school’s first quarter, and brought a very welcome week-long break from the grind. Last year, I spent the autumn holiday in Ireland, where I met up with most of my family to enjoy some time together. The only person missing on that trip was my brother, and it was a bummer to not have him there, but it seems that this year the stars aligned and granted both of us the opportunity to spend some time abroad together. He was backpacking across the continent, heading slowly but surely towards Istanbul, and we decided to meet up for a week together in the Czech Republic.

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We arrived on the same day at essentially the same time, and met up at the Prague train station before heading off to the first part of our trip: Czech Switzerland. CS is a national park in the northwest part of the country, and the majestic pines, rock formations, and hiking trails extend into Germany as well. I’m still not entirely sure why it’s named after an entirely different country, but it was a beautiful and much-needed natural escape.

Getting there was an adventure, thanks to the area’s nonexistent English and very infrequent bus service. The park and surrounding small towns quickly revealed themselves to be almost exclusively populated and visited by locals, either from the Czech Republic or nearby Germany. Restaurant menus were in Czech or German, and most of the people we encountered spoke only those languages. It came as somewhat of a surprise, but we embraced the unsullied local charm and made the most of our time in the area.

We missed the bus we'd wanted, then had to wait two hours for another one. Hot chocolates all around!

We missed the bus we’d wanted, then had to wait two hours for another one. Hot chocolates all around!

We stayed in a lovely local hotel that put us relatively close to the trailheads for our hike. The weather was cloudy and overcast, and the days were short, so I was a little disappointed with the limitations put on my photos, but simply being in the fresh air and seeing the area’s natural beauty was enough to make it a worthwhile side trip. We stayed two nights before catching an early bus back to Prague. Check out some photos of our hike!

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