Few random notes from a calibration trip to the region of north-eastern Bohemia. The region is typical with former volcanoes, German history (thus the post title) and recreational popularity.

We went by train from Prague to Mladá Boleslav – the historical center is on prominent hill, only half of the center is reconstructed.


The Bezděz castle was built by Přemysl Otakar II as it guarded important trade way Mělník–Zittau. Another highlight is that Václav II was prisoned there (by Germans) and since 1621 the castle is abandoned, i.e. refurbished ruin nowadays.

As it’s close to Prague, it was super-crowded with people – mostly families with small children. The prices of refreshment were similar to/higher than in Prague. (It resembled Karlštejn.)

We wrongly interpreted forbidden bicycles sign under the peak – there was no road, just rocky path, with some steps. We were attraction for all those tourists – most of them discouraged us pushing the bicycle to the top. We did it eventually feeling proper satisfaction.

Afternoon cycling

We swam in the Břehyňský rybník near the Máchovo jezero. We were the only people swimming there – probably gravitational effect of the Máchovo jezero.

  • Mácha’s way (pine woods and sandstone)
  • Doksy – nice square, Mácha’s history
  • Mimoň
    • Ralsko volcano
  • Jablonné v Podještědí
    • many cyclists, overkill basilica (really big)
    • Ještěd was far away, name is not so clear
  • Petrovice
    • typical Sudetenland village (border village)
    • the Lužické hory region was colonized only in 12th century


We slept in a hut under the Loupežnický vrch. Everything was wet so we couldn’t ignite fire. It’s near country borders and it also lays on boundary of Jizerské hory (with Lužické hory).

We expected quiet night with no distractions, little did we know about the 1000 miles race taking place right on the nearby road. There were cyclists passing late in the night and early in the morning as well.

Border region

  • Hrádek nad Nisou
    • reading public map on the square and met some cycling tourists
    • also surprised by advertised realities (is it so popular there)
  • coal mine
    • first time in Poland
    • very large
  • Bogatynia – missed
    • we missed the center, so I saw only Polish countryside, not a town
    • along the river back to the CR
  • little cemetery near Heřmanice
    • in the fields
    • no chapel
    • many Germans – pre war deaths
    • and Czechs born after war (descendants of “colonizers”)
  • Frýdlant
    • very well groomed town and castle
    • Albrecht von Wallenstein brought about its development, it used to be more important town than Liberec in the region
    • lunch at restaurant, waiting for rain to pass over
      • real mushrooms from Pertoltice forests
  • Nové Město pod Smrkem
    • great contrast with Frýdlant
      • similar square but ugly
      • combination of old family houses and prefab concrete houses
    • gambling seems a problem of the region, poor population
    • a big factory, perhaps town was built during socialism era for industry

Main climb – Smrk

  • we took a wrong turn and pushed bicycles ~0.5 km through terrain even worse than Bezděz (ditch)
  • observation tower on top
    • very windy (and also bit cold)
    • there was a room for public use
  • despite high altitude (~800 m) there was a beech trees reservation
  • during “downhill” we almost got lost and continued to wrong direction
  • Tanvald
    • not seen much, only the railway station
    • track leads to Harrachov, i.e. along mountain ranges
    • common name