Saturday, 17 July 2010

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 Varnsdorf after 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.


  1. For those of us who have not had the pleasure of walking any part of the E10, this was a wonderful introduction, Tramp. Your memory, combined with the photos you accessed, gives the impression that the walk was yesterday. I look forward to the future postings about your adventure -- and I love that photo of the peak of Klic.

  2. Yes, an amazing landscape that final photograph reveals, Tramp ...

    I'm so interested in memories of an event, a walk or whatever. How certain things seem to 'lodge in the memory', some things get distorted, other things we imagine.

    I can feel you're committed to finishing this walk - over the months, when time and inclination permit - and I wish you all the very best in your discoveries.

  3. HI TRAMP-

    I so enjoyed this part of your journey - I felt so free as I rode the bus and then walked with you softly. Oh, if only. Your pictures and details are impressive, beautiful and historical and I savored every image and word. Like a fine cognac. I was thrilled to journey with you especially now as my 'steps' are painful and limited. I did manage to get out on our deck today - it was lovely - warm and breezy - blue skies - and I brushed Gracey-Blue and watched her romp about. Freedom.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful world and purposeful 'steps'.

    Love to you my friend
    peace and hope.....

  4. George
    Once I started on it I was surprised how much I remembered. Its not a direct route and connects some important sites in Czech history so it is an interesting journey in many respects. But the destination is not the only place you go to when you travel.

    I am off to the UK this week but I'm already considering the next part to walk, a double stage in early August with an overnight stop.

    Lovely to hear from you.
    We've had some hot weather, very hot. Lady crawled under the table outside and slept all day. But as the shadows began to creep across the garden she emerged, her energy restored, eager to go out. We have watched some fantastic sunsets together.
    Last night it rained and it rained, the water butts are full. Lady is worried, the cases have come out and clothes are coming out of cupboards. Who is going away and for how long? Much nervous patrolling of the house this morning.
    Take care, you are a precious person.

  5. Who would not want to walk in such beautiful countryside. It is hard here in the UK to imagine borders between countries and crossing them. Thanks for visiting my blog. Call again please.

  6. Weaver
    The border areas fascinate me. There is so much history there, from ancient to recent.
    Land borders also mean that there are places where three countries meet. Two summers ago I visited the point where the Czech Republic meets with the former West and East Germany, now the German states of Bavaria and Saxony. The three cultures seemed to be engrained into the landscape.

  7. You truly enviable man, Tramp.
    I have just scrolled back over several pages of your blog and enjoyed the journey tremendously. Your walks, the places you visit and see - with a special eye not many have - your thoughts and observations are indeed simple and therefore genuine and they touch me in my lonely mid-European soul.
    If I can't walk with you in reality, I shall follow you here in cyberspace.

  8. Friko
    You are very welcome.
    Sorry to be a while publishing your comment, I have been with my future visiting my past. That is I took the son and grandson to the UK. That has given me lots of food for thought...Tramp

  9. Hi Tramp - me again. You ask for the recipe for blackberry whisky - see my blog tomorrow when I shall post it again, as I do every year just before the blackberries are ripe.