Like any normal college student, I want nothing more than to be hibernating under blankets covered in chocolate crumbs when it is below 50 degrees and raining outside. But being a normal college student, I am also broke. I wanted to go on the NYU weekend trip to Nachod to experience the majesty of Bohemian wilderness but also to get my deposit back.
I signed up for the trip during the first week here when I hilariously assumed it would be warm enough in April to hike. So this past Saturday I got up before the sun, laced up my boots, and pulled three jackets on. While I generally hate bad weather and exercise, if I could not be huddled indoors, there really was nowhere else I would rather be than hiking in Nachod. Well, exceptions would be the Bahamas, Greece, Aruba, and even Florida. But still, the hike was at least in my top 50 places, and I would have gone even if I did not get my money back.
On Saturday morning after somehow ending up in Poland at one point (maybe invest in more qualified bus drivers NYU?), we made it to our destination of the park in Adrspach known for its giant rock formations. It was a freezing, muddy, and rainy morning when we arrived which usually equates not so happy dispositions, but the hike was the highlight of the trip. We walked past huge rocks creatively named after objects like "Grandma's easy rocking chair" and more simply, "Jug". It took a lot of imagination to see how most of them resembled what they are named after, but the rocks titled "Lovers" (see picture above) is one of the easiest to see. During the hike we stuck to the lakes we did not know and then went chasing waterfalls (what up TLC). Not on the itinerary but easily the best part of the day was a short boat ride on what the tour guide called "Titanic 2". The boat tour was filled with classic Czech dark humor about drowning and alcoholism, always a fun time.
We then hiked up liberally named "stairs" which were little more than slabs of wood the same size of my feet with holes in the middle. The view of the woods and rocks was completely worth risking life and limb for.
Afterwards, we visited the Zamek Nove Mesto nad Metuji castle where we climbed even more stairs. (Even after all the stairs I still do not have a Beyonce butt after this weekend as I hoped, and I am thoroughly devastated.) The castle was a mix of three different art styles: baroque, art deco, and another one I do not remember because I am architecturally uneducated swine. The castle contains an impressive collection of art from around the world. We even visited the room where the first president of Czechoslovakia once slept.
On Sunday, we visited the underground Dobrošov Fortress and surprise, surprise, more stairs! We climbed about 100 stairs going down and 272 coming up. The fortress was never actually used in battle since its intention was to protect against German invasion, but Germany invaded before it was completed. So basically we saw a lot of empty underground rooms full of rocks that all looked the same. There were rooms where the hospital would have been had it been built and an empty space that looked exactly the same where the kitchen would have been had it been built. While it was never in use, it was very interesting to see what living there would have been like. We were told we were one of the fastest groups to ascend the 272 steps in about two minutes, but soldiers would have had to climb them in under a minute.
From the fortress we went to Kuks hospital which was built in the 1700s and functioned, as the name suggests, a hospital. It has the second oldest apothecary in Central Europe. Panels on one hallway (see above) depicted the grim reaper killing people of every social class, a gentle reminder that we are all equal in at least one sense.
A room where there used to be 34 beds of patients now houses statues made in the 1970s and 80s depicting on one side women representing good qualities such as justice, and adverse qualities,such as gluttony, on the other side. After we inevitably took pictures imitating the statues, we watched a short, private music performance that had been specially arranged for us in the church at Kuks where many unique instruments were played, one made of an antelope horn.
After we succeeded in eating our tuition (350kc limit so you best believe I ate exactly that much worth), it was back to Prague without a single stop in Poland.