Our journey to the highest peak in the Czech Republic was preceded by a full week of meetings in Prague, and concluded with one of the most unique and outrageous experiences that most people in North America have likely never heard of. An experience which some would only imagine in their dreams.
Before I get to the outrageous experience, business first. The entire reason for our trip to Eastern Europe (including our tour of Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro) was to visit the Czech Republic, the homeland of both of my parents. My grandparents had some real estate interests in Prague which were passed on to my dad and his siblings. As a result of my dad‘s passing last summer I joined my aunt and uncle to sort out and help manage some of these matters. Along the way I got to meet some second cousins, longtime family friends and even the Portuguese Ambassador to the Czech Republic! Czechs are of course passionate about their Pilsner, so as not to offend any of our guests at dinner meetings all week I was obliged to drink my share!
Once the meetings were all complete on Friday, my uncle Ian, Denise and I headed 2 1/2 hours north to the Krkonoše Mountains, the “Giant Mountains” which aren’t very giant at all. Sněžka, meaning the Snowy One is the highest in the country at a whopping 5,260 feet. Pec pod Sněžkou is a quaint resort village at the base of the mountain which could easily be mistaken for a scenic alpine retreat in the Swiss or Austrian Alps. We tested the limits of our Czech-made Škoda rental car by driving all the way up a steep single lane road in first gear, and then checked in to the Hotel Emerich. Not only did it have stunning views and excellent service, in the winter the hotel is only accessible by snowcat and sits in the middle of the ski runs. Our kind of place!
|View from the deck at Hotel Emerich with Pec pod Sněžkou below and Sněžka peak on the horizon (right).|
Together we all had a pleasant walk socializing as we hiked up an easy path to the summit. Along the way we crossed the border into Poland for a short while and before we knew it, in less than three hours we were at the top.
|With Eva Beranova and Antoine Kermarec|
|Pavel Kuře with one of the Sněžka Sherpa Cup competitors carrying 132 lbs on his back.|
|June 8th at the summit of Sněžka, the highest peak in the Czech Republic.|
|After a day of hiking, toasting our Sněžka summit in a tub full of Czech beer!|