Špindlerův Mlýn is a ski resort town in the northern Czech Republic. It is also only a 3-hour drive from Wroclaw making it an ideal ski town come winter or a great weekend hike destination anytime there isn’t snow on the ground.
Ania managed to get a full weekend off from work so we made the best of it. I quickly found a place that allowed dogs on Booking.com and pulled the trigger on a room with a mountain view and breakfast to boot.
I do realize that it has been what may seem like years since any real posts have been published, and I don’t know what I’m going to do with this thing going forward. But for now, for the benefit of this article, I should state that my wife Ania is an emergency medical technician, and while she wasn’t working in her field for a while, she has now resumed work in the hospital and therefore resumed the grueling 12-hour shifts working nights, weekends, and basically always. So we’ll take a free weekend anytime.
The cool thing about this little Czech town is that it felt like the dog capital of the world. Everyone had a pup following them around, and the trail was full of dogs as well. We had Fado lay under our restaurant table, and most waiters even brought him water. And on the trail, we saw no less than 25+ dogs and all seemed to be with responsible owners without a single ‘stupid’ dog-related incident. You know, the ones where the owner is too busy clicking the Like! button and not paying attention to their surrounding.
In general, and for the life of me I cannot pinpoint why that is, Czechs just do mountains better. In Poland, the trails seem less taken care of, dirtier, full of loud and obnoxious people, cursing and beer-drinking their way to the top with advertisements covering every nook and cranny of the small town resorts.
In the Czech Republic, yes there’s beer at the top (better beer!), yes the mountain is the same mountain Poland has access to from the other side, and yes Poles and Czechs as people are very similar in culture, but it just feels much better, tidier, more organized, and overall hiking or just visiting is a more pleasant experience than when doing it from the Polish side.
I planned out an 18km hike using a hiking map application. The app (Mapy Turystyczne) shows all the trails in the area, allows for planning out scenarios, and most importantly for us, gives an overview of how many hours, how many kilometers, and how far up/down we’ll go on that trip. And the reason we count all that is Fado, our 8-year old chocolate lab, that’s gracefully aging and isn’t always up for a strenuous walk.
We usually do 8 to 10-kilometer hikes with him, so we knew we would be pushing it, especially since we ended up doing 20km at the end of that day.
The saving grace was the profile of the trip. The first 6.5km was up, but then the rest was straight downhill walking back to base (car). We ended up covering 20km in 6-hours of walking, but that straight GPS moving time. We spent a few extra hours on stops, including beer-breaks at local watering holes along the way.
One of the total accidental highlights of this trip was to see the origin of the Elbe river. Seen on the photo below, it’s not much more than a pond, and not the cleanest one either. Quite a difference from the mighty Elbe we saw flowing trough the city of Dresden.
We arrived on a Friday night, spent all of Saturday hiking, and planned on doing a short hike on Sunday before driving back home, but Fado wasn’t having any of it and wouldn’t budge from the car. We could tell from the way he was walking and behaving that we pushed him a little too far the day before, so we slowly made our way back home instead.
Still, it was a great getaway.