Bohemian Switzerland National Park

I wanted to see more than just people and man-made places during my weekend in Prague, so I looked around and booked a day hiking trip with Northern Hikes.  They picked us up from the hotel and drove us 2 hours North West to the Czech-German border and Bohemian Switzerland National Park.  It was a nice drive along the way, passing lots of green fields and cute little towns.  As old as some of the buildings and towns in the area are, the park has only been a national park since 2000.
Communist-era building in the background
Cute little town along the way
That little white sign is the German border
We parked and started the hike up the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, a total of 15 km with the first section being the hardest straight up a hill.  We walked through very intensely green paths and enjoyed the scenery along the way.  It took about an hour to get to our first stop, Pravcicka Brana, the largest natural sandstone arch in Europe.  The arch and surrounding areas were in several scenes in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  Next to the base of the arch was a cute little restaurant.  We explored the rocks and views for awhile before moving along on our walk.






The restaurant at the base of the arch 
The arch







We walked along through the hills for awhile longer until we came to our lunch stop, a cute little place in Mezni Louka Village.  We enjoyed some traditional meat, gravy, and dumplings plus some nice local beer.  Then it was nap time.... but we carried on through the village and towards the Kamenice River.  
Cute little park in the cute little village
The path took us along the river for awhile and then to a pavilion where we stopped and had a beer before boarding a big green boat that a man steered using a big stick.  It was a nice ride down the river, accompanied by his telling of the sights and stories in Czech.  Or at least that's what our guide told us - he could have just been making fun of the English-speakers.

Hiking along the river



Gotta love a hiking trail that has a beer pavilion 




At the end of the boat ride we had just a short hike along the river back to the car, and then we all fell asleep while the driver took us back into Prague.




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