Hiking: Mushrooms and castles

In this post, I’ll look back at an extended weekend trip from late September. Long post with lots of photos inside.

This time, it led to an area a bit west of Prague, with a lot of castles and ruins, but also some natural beauty. I visited a place nearby once, a couple of years ago, on a solo one-day trip. This time, it was a five-day trip organized by the hiking club.

The first day had us make a stop at roughly two-thirds of the journey, near one chateau, as well as take a short walk to a nearby lookout tower. Given the length of the journey, it couldn’t be considered a hike in the way I’d use that word, as the walk was around 5km.

The second day, our hike started near the Žebrák and Točník castles – well, mostly ruins of them. As for the first one, there’s just a short section of a wall and the tower, but the other one is much more preserved (even though time had taken quite some toll on it).

The remaining wall of the Žebrák castle
The front side of the Točník castle

While there wasn’t much left to see in the first ruin, I’ve spent a fair amount of time wandering the second ruin. Some sections were more preserved and the roofs seemed to be relatively new to make sure it doesn’t deteriorate further.

Same structure from the inner courtyard
Damage visible on one of the other buildings

Even the somewhat-preserved section had some structural damage – one of the spiral staircases had its lower portions collapsed, making it inaccessible. For humans at least, because bats had taken the place as their lair, and their screeching could be heard from where the staircase once started.

View from the castle towards the tower of the ruin and the village below it

Leaving the ruin some hour later, I continued through the woods. Some of our members wanted to take a detour towards a place called the Crow’s rock, which I recommended but decided to stick to the original route as I’ve been to that place during the mentioned one-day trip.

Crow’s rock with its “scopes” to help people identify the surrounding landscape (7/2019)

Instead, I headed towards a place named badger’s rock which was… a pile of moss-covered boulders. However, the surroundings proved to be a good place for fungal photos.

A pair of Suillus grevillei mushrooms

Some distance away, I came across slightly larger moss-covered rock formation, though the woods around made taking a full picture troublesome.

And nearby, I had more than one chance to take photos of mushrooms.

Such as this small bolete, or a group of Lycoperdon perlatum growing on a dead branch.

The cycle of life…mushrooms growing from deadwood

And, nearing the hotel, I also managed a glance towards the valley of Berounka river.

The following night had been marked by several rain showers. One passed shortly before our breakfast, which had me take this photo from the hotel window…

After starting the hike, I managed to take another mushroom photo – this time of the Leccinum genus, though I haven’t noticed under which tree it grew and thus the likely particular species (Leccinum mushrooms are often strictly tied to a particular tree).

Reaching the valley we were to walk through next, we made our way to one quite charming place. The maps mark it as a waterfall, which seems a bit exaggerated to me – the stream passes through a narrow gap between two rocks in a way that creates a single step around 1,5m high and the water rushes through it at quite a high pace.

The waterfall

As the river widens back up, it’s crossed using a not-so-steady looking footbridge.

The footbridge

After a stop in the nearby town with a small museum dedicated to Joachim Barrande (who made several excavations in the nearby area), I continued towards a nearby ruin overlooking the Berounka river.

Corner sections near the edge of the plateau
Castle tower

On my way down, my luck ran out and I slipped, damning me to go through the rest of the trip with an aching backside as if that would ever stop me. Making it back towards the river, I continued along for a while, enjoying the scenery, including several exposed rock walls.

As the trail took me upwards once again, I found my way to one of the exposed rocks, providing me with a charming view of the river’s valley.

From there, it was mostly calm way back to the hotel.

The next hike was, for a long time, just a calm walk through the woods. Rain showers came and went, rarely lasting more than five minutes, for which being in the woods helped. It was over halfway through when I took this picture of an old house from the 16th century. Unfortunately, in September, it’s only open to visitors during the weekends.

A while later, I was once again on the plateaus above the river, but the woods made taking photos difficult. And the rain showers sometimes led to interesting tint…

Nearing the hotel, I passed through a lookout showcasing the Křivoklát castle – which had seen only a short part of its history as a royal residence and most of it as a prison.

A tour of the castle was planned for the next day, so I headed toward the hotel.

The final day had us awakened to light but persistent rain. Before heading for the castle, where we had the tours scheduled for later, we took a stop at a motorcycle museum below the castle, showcasing Czech motorcycles from the 1920s to the 1980s.

Then, a short walk uphill to the castle, where I took the shorter tour.

Castle courtyard
Castle courtyard (towards the main entrance)
Castle chapel

After which, it was time to head home.

Despite the rainy end, which had me miserable with a light cold for the week after, I’ve quite enjoyed this journey. And I think that I will return to fill in a couple of gaps sooner or later because the three days weren’t enough to see all the area has to offer. Now if there just were enough days in a year…

7 thoughts on “Hiking: Mushrooms and castles

  1. Oh wow, those castles are amazing! And the forest scenery looks like something out of a fairytale! Thanks for sharing these photos. I think I’ll stare at the cathedral picture some more 🙂


  2. Pingback: Hiking: Autumn blues | Tomas - the wandering dreamer

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