The Old Man And The Crag
Atop The Crag, which affords incredible views across Divoká Šárka and beyond.
One of the best things about cycling in Prague is how easy it is not to cycle in Prague -- that is, the ease and speed with which you can leave the city behind.
I live in Prague 6, near Hradcanska metro station. It's a busy area, with lots of traffic, and one of the main arteries of the city, Evropska. But in 10 minutes or so, I can be riding along the Vltava River, on a cycling path free of cars, through small villages, and in beautiful forest.
One of the nicest -- and closest -- places to ride your bike in Prague, especially if you live on my side of the city, is Divoká Šárka. It's a vast nature reserve between the city of Prague and the airport, and features many kilometers of walking and cycling trails.
I wasn't working yesterday (Friday), and I decided to head to Divoká Šárka for a little ride.
Two views from The Crag across Divoká Šárka and with the city of Prague in the background.
More specifically, I wanted to ride up to what we all call The Crag, which is a rocky bluff high above Šárka that affords incredible views across the park and to the city beyond.
It's amazing to be standing there and to realize that Prague is just a short ride away. It feels like another world up there.
The quickest, but hardest, way to get to The Crag is to ride up Beer Garden Hill, a very steep and winding paved path that leads up the trail just past the beer garden in Divoká Šárka, which is called Hostinec Divci Skok (or Girls' Jump).
I used to think it was easier than the dreaded Hill of Doom, but I also managed to ascend the Hill of Doom as well yesterday (a psychological, as well as physical, victory for me), and I'm now coming around to the conclusion that Beer Garden Hill might be tougher.
At the top of Beer Garden Hill, you keep riding up until you almost get to the edge of Nebusice, and there's a small, rocky path that leads into the woods to the right. That's the path that will take you to The Crag.
I'm not sure whether this crag is the one that's immortalized in the Czech legend of Šárka, or whether it's a similar bluff on the opposite side of the valley (which you can see in the top photo above). She is said to have committed suicide by jumping from the cliff, rather than to surrender to men. Thus the name of the beer garden, which can also just be seen nestled among the trees in the top photo.
I admired the view for a few minutes, all alone up there, and then headed into Nebusice and a path that I know that begins behind the International School and leads through some forest area. It's a nice trail for a mountain bike, because it's usually muddy and there's a stream to splash through.
The path emerges at the Hill of Doom, basically, which is why I also decided to tempt fate by attempting an ascent. I'm proud to say I reached the peak.
I returned back down the Hill of Doom, down to Podbaba, along the river to Stromovka, and home.
Distance ridden: 26.5 kilometers
Average speed: 17.4 kph
Maximum speed: 42.3 kph
Time on the bike: 1.28.57
Distance ridden so far in 2007: 902 kilometers
This monument stands in the Sarka forest at the top of Beer Garden Hill. Its inscription reads: Pane Boze, ochran nas od moru, hladu a valky! 1948 (Dear God, protect us from plague, hunger and war! 1948)