013 - Through the Elbe Forest  
Mulberry, Koliba, St. Wenceslas and bisons in the village
1. 7. 2017

Elbe region is an arid region where it almost does not rain. A plane where the eye can see and almost no trees. And yet here we can go on a pilgrimage to the dense forest of Stará Boleslav, where ancient times Rudolf IInd hunted the animals. Part of the road runs along the asphalt cycle path, but as soon as possible, we will leave asphalt and go to the terrain to our favorite forest paths and footpaths.

The film is in Czech with English subtitles

Recently, parking zones have grown in our country, even in small towns. If you want to avoid parking problems, leave Brandýs nad Labem and head over to Záryby. Záryby is the small village and you park here practically anywhere. You can leave your car in the village square with a pond, or near the Buffet by Ferry, where you can refresh yourself before the trip.

Záryby for fishes?
Although the first written mention of the village dates back to 1371, too many sites can not be found here. Typical for the Polabian region is the arrangement of houses with a saddle roof with a shield with two narrow windows to the street. In the 1950s and 1960s, the locals looked in large three-section windows and the charming architecture got the first shot. The growth of satellite towns since the 1990s has not avoided the village. Soil, formerly agricultural, is covered by seaside bungalows of all colors and sizes. And because horse riding has become fashionable, Záryby are surrounded by pastures and you find yourself like in somewhere in Texas. Only cowboys are missing here.

The origin of the village's name is unclear. In the Provincial books, they are originally written as "Záruby", from the word "rubati". The locals are more fond of the interpretation that fishermen who imported their catch to the princely and ecclesiastical kitchens acquired land here. From the Middle Ages, a ferry to the opposite bank was in operation in Záryby. It earned so much money that the village was had to pay 10 % tax from it. In the 1960s the ferry was canceled, leaving only a ferryhouse. Whoever wants to go to opposite side of the river, has to go to Kostelec or Brandys. Do not be fooled by some old maps in which the bridge is drawn. It was actually planned during the war and was due to be built in 1945. However, the construction did not take place. Nevertheless, it is still featured in some car maps.

Right from the beginning of the trip we have the opportunity to avoid the asphalt cycle path leading along the left bank of Elbe. Especially at the weekend it is full of skaters, males and mums with strollers. Anyone who longs for peace and terrain can go out of the village square around the pond along a forest sandy path through a pine grove. Today we enjoy the pine trees, almost nothing alse grows in sandy soil. A forest and then a field road leads us to a landing on the bike trail. The bicycle path turns from the river. The bustle of the cycle path is that it ends at Kostelec on the busy main road. To go there with kids is a real delicatesse. Fortunately we have another option. From the landing, continue on the footpath along the Elbe to the power plant, which we do around and continue on the next footpath to the bridge. So we managed to go to Kostelec from Záryby through terrain.

Gourmets to Kostelec, vegans to Prague
Villages with name Kostelec are in Bohemia many, for example Kostelec u Stříbra, Kostelec nad Vltavou, Kostelec nad Ohří, Zbořený Kostelec, Nový Kostelec, Vrbatův Kostelec and others. Their names are mostly derived from fortified churches, so-called "castellum". The one in Kostelec nad Labem was dedicated to Saint Martin, and today there is a Gothic church. In addition to medieval buildings, there are two places to visit. A long history, practically from the Middle Ages, has Butchery Antonín Matek. The shop looks unsightly, but in addition to excellent meat (lambs also) sells sausages of their own production. I recommend chunky ham and then all dry salami, especially chorizo, sausages and then - canned meat of pork and beef containing 90% of meat! A little further is On Marian Dining Room. Formerly located in a small house, you can find it today in a giant new building. They have Czech classics - Spanish birds, schnitzel, goulash and roast pork. Food is cheap and good andall week is opened here. Nothing for vegetarians, let them go to Prague.

Along red to Carp Club
Fortunately, the bridge from Kostelec has a wide footpath, after which we cross with bike to the other side of the Elbe. From there, there is a red tourist sign right along the Elbe river, but we will go down to the slopes of the Elbe billabong. And beware, the paths aren't plotted on most maps and you can easily get lost. The forest is small, and if you get lost, you always find your way out.

Now the journey is easy. We're still going along the red. There is a field path with a natural landscape along the Elbe and you will meet only a few fishermen. From the former ferry from Záryby we continue to Křenek (formerly Crzemk, Krzenik, Chřimek, Chrženek, Krženek). It is a village of medieval origin (in 1337 Janda of Hlavno donated it to the Crusaders), but you cannot find here anything interesting. Actually wait! Right behind the village among several ponds stands Capr Club Křenek – the romantic corner with dilapidated refreshments. Unlike many other kiosks you meet today, you can get freshly caught trout . Smaller investments in the device would not hurt. But otherwise it is nice here.

Around the nudist beaches to the mulberry tree
Along the red we go on to Lhota. We have to overcome the main road that the cars are driving at high speed, and also the railroad crossing. And we are already approaching Lhota, which stands on the edge of the pine grove. The most important is above all the giant sandpit, where half of Prague is bathed in the summer. There is also a nudist beach.

We ride through the pine forest along the red towards Hlavenec. We pass of the cross that was built to commemorate the victims of the First World War and which the Communists demolished. Thanks to the Brotherhood of Kobyla's head, the Cross was restored a few years ago. We're going out of the woods, it's still straight, and across the field, we're galloping around the giant vegetable-filled foliage to Hlavenec.Here on the first hill of this day is the neglected hunting lodge of Rudolf II. He seems to have liked this countryside. After him is also called a nature trail, along which we will go. The exotic white mulberry grows in Hlavenec. The mulberry trees are a lot in Bohemia and they are enthusiasts who map their occurrence.

Coliba as from Russian film
We cross the hill above Hlavenec and still through dense pine forest we reach Kobylí hlava (Mare Head, it is another hill, but not high) we will go to an unusual building. For a while we think we've reached a satellite town, this time with the Russian people, but it's not like that. We are looking at the giant shepherd's hut, which was built on the site of the former roadhouse U čtyř kamenů. The place does not look as we know it from the movie Escape, waiter! If you like brynza gnocchi and sheep's whey, you are in the right place.

We will continue on forest roads. Navigation is simple - along red to Sojovice and then along yellow to St. Wenceslas. With the exception of the bridge over Jizeru in front of Sojovice, we are successful all day to avoid roads. Especially from Lhota to Káraný we practically do not escape from forest. The terrain is not difficult, even small children can handle it. And at the beginning of the season at least we start a little bit.

The hermitage and the bisons in the village
From Sojovice we ride bikes shortly on asphalt, but as soon as we cross the railway crossing we have another three kilometers through the forest. And we will go to Baroque St. Wenceslas. From the original complex of the princely summer palace, the hermitage, the windmill and the water tower to the present day, only a niche chapel with a relief showing the murder of St. Wenceslas and two statues of angels - the angel of life and the angel of death - was preserved. Author of the Chapel from 1696 is unknown, sculptures from later years are probably from Matthias Bernard Braun. The location of the chapel on a dusty road on the edge of a void forest is surprising to a stranger, but the dusty road used to be a frequent postal route to Lysá nad Labem.

The surrounding, so-called "imperial forests" were a popular hunting carriage of Charles IV. When the forests, along with the Brandýs manor, were acquired in 1547 by Emperor Ferdinand I, the forest renewal had to be started because most of the trees had already been extracted. On the bare ground, the original oaks were not successful, so pine trees were planted here. From 1549, it is mentioned that the emperor tried to keep the bisons in the remaining forests. However, the experiment did not work and the bisons wandered around the surrounding villages.

Jaromir's home-made lemonade
That's the origin of the local pine forests. And we, along red, go on a beautiful footpath towards Káraný. Before it, we turn to the forest footpath leading along the edge of the forest and visit the popular Ferus pub. Food is ordered here at the window and you have to remember the number of your table, which will surprise the visitors who are here for the first time. For the buffet classics - brawn, sausage, frankfurter, fries I recommend excellent Jaromir's home lemonade.

Around water treatment plant for Prague we head towards the bridge over the Elbe. It's a pedestrian footbridge with an unusual metal structure. And on the left bank of the Elbe only aspahalt is only waiting for us. Around the peat Spa of Toušeň through Brandýs up to Záryby we go along the busy cycle path and remember how we were in the woods. What's in Toušeň Spa? Mud baths.

The paradise of monuments visitors
What is the longest name of the town in Czech Republic? Brandýs nad Labem – Stará Boleslav. While in the villages we were passing through today there was only few monumentas, here a lover of history exults. The oldest findings of human settlements in the immediate vicinity come from the year 5 500 BC. Among the monuments we can name at least the churches of St. St. Lawrence and St. Petr, a stone bridge from 1603, the Renaissance mill, which was one of the largest in Bohemia and especially the castle, which was the favorite summer residence of Rudolf II. And that's only talking about Brandýs.

In Stará Boleslav, there is the Romanesque Basilica of Sts. Wenceslas, founded in the places where Wenceslas was murdered and originally buried. It is the oldest Christian pilgrimage site in our country. In addition to churches and temples, there is also a city gate, which is a remnant of medieval fortifications, a Jesuit college and many other buildings. We are on the bicycle and the double-city we inspect at another time.

Cycle trail for children
We are in a short while in Záryby. If we had to evaluate today, the trip from Záryby to Kostelec was an ideal singletrack. We crossed the bridge safely across the pavement. We drove through the woods at the Elbe billabong, and along the field way we drove to the Křenek. There was the first refreshment. And after we crossed Lhota, we rode up to Kárany through a dense pine forest.

In Sojovice there is a bit of traffic across the bridge. It's not a great place to go with small children, but the journey beyond civilization continues until Káraný. From St. Wenceslas, a very nice footpath leads to Ferus Pub, leaving the red mark on the edge of Káraný and going on the footpath along the edge of the forest close the fence of the satellite town. And then just asphalt, but with a number of refreshment stations.

On the way we crossed only two hills, both right behind Hlavenec, but the climb was short. The trip is suitable for parents with younger children, children from about 10 years of age should be traveling alone. You can help the smaller one by pulling it with the rod, or you can shorten the whole circle by heading straight along the sandpit Lhota straight through the forest path to Brandys. But then you cannot see white mulberry.

Route: From Záryby the forest and field path to Kostelec nad Labem - over the bridge into the woods at the billabong of Labe - the red through Křenek, Lhota and Hlavenec to Sojovice - along yellow to St. Wenceslas - the red and then the unmarked footpath to Káraný Ferus Pub - the road to the footbridge - cross the bridge - over Toušeň Spa and Brandýs nad Labem to Záryby

Lenght: 42km
Elevation: 260 m
Difficulty: easy
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