E10 Stage 1 Varnsdorf to Novy Bor (Through the TolstejnRegion)
The memory of that Sunday in early May 2004 is not complete but some memorable moments stand out. The first was hearing a cuckoo, my first of the year, as I made my way down the hill from our village to get the bus to Prague with nobody else to enjoy this wonderful late-spring bright clear blue-skied morning. The next vivid recollection is getting on the bus out of Prague, I was admonishing a young man for trying to skip the queue and although I succeeded in getting him to wait, incomprehensibly to me he seemed to have the sympathy of those he was pushing in front of. My next memory is the bus leaving me in the main square of Varnsdorfafter the 2 hour journey from Prague. Varnsdorf is a border town with a population of about 15 000. It was necessary to walk the kilometre to where the E10 path crosses in the Czech Republic from Germany. It was the month that this country joined the EU so the border crossing was being run down. I have no photographic or other documentary evidence of this dramatic beginning, there are no known witnesses but I was there, I am sure of it. The path back to the town centre headed through an allotment area and around a small lake and then took me out of the town, across a meadow, through the edge a forest to the village of Jiretin entering Tolstejn country. From here the path took me up the pilgrims path on Holy Cross Hill to the chapel at the summit. These pilgrims paths or "stations of the cross" are to allow pilgrims to meditate on Christ's walk to Calvary. On the way are a number of stations representing the 12 Apostles or 10 Commandments.
The chapel is at 560 metres but after a short descent there is another climb of another 100 metres or so that takes the path between the twin peaks of Tolstejn and Jedlova.
The ruins of Tolstejn castle on the left peak dates back at least to the 13th century. Despite this fortification, this was very much bandit country and there are numerous legends of local rogues. Descending this ridge I came to a railway threading its way through the hills. At the isolated station, frequented mainly by walkers, there was a small cafe which provided some welcome soup to add to the lunch I had brought with me, the clear skies of early morning now having given way to clouds and a damp, cold wind. Continuing through the forest I tagged on to a school group and kept with them to the next village, Svor, where I headed up into the lowering cloud around my last climb of the day, Klic (Key). As I got to the summit, still in the forest, the wind got up and the cloud deposited some of its load. On the descent to the day's destination, Novy Bor, the rain cleared and the wind warmed up and dried me out.
The peak of Klic looking back towards Tolstejn and Germany
I took the train back to Prague from Novy Bor. I remember nothing of the homeward journey but with the help of images from the internet and map browsing I have recalled something of that first stage.
Lady is the dog, a 2002 vintage English Cocker Spaniel. I am Tramp, a simple person of somewhat earlier vintage with simple thoughts.
After a few months of following blogs I occasionally record what I feel on my jaunts into the outdoors but I am more of a listener than a talker.