I don't really have specific plan this time. As I was alone and actually, I don't know if I can survive hiking in winter, alone. I've been hiking to Sněžka and Špindlerův Mlýn but it was with other hikers. So, if anything happen, they are always willing to help. Since this was a last minute plan last morning, I can't ask others to join me. :p
What I did was I just get prepared and went to the train station which is just 5 minutes walk, then I saw the earliest train was going to Liberec. Ahaaa, That's nice. I suddenly remember few of my seniors been there few days ago and I have asked about the plans :D
I bought a mineral water and a bar of chocolate, And yeah, off to Liberec!
The return ticket Hradec Kralove - Liberec (with IN25 InKarta) = CZK 278
The journey was 139km one way and took about 2 1/2 hours to 3 hours.
I arrived at Liberec at 12pm and directly took a tram to Horní Hanychov, with a ride of about 12 minutes from Nádraží (train station) plus CZK 20 for the tickets (only accept coins). My advice is to buy 2 tickets so that you can save time and money for the return tram. I mean, you don't have to find the ticket machine or buy from the tram driver (this will cost more).
|Ticket machine | Verified tickets|
Just push button for základní jízdenka (basic ticket) and here in Czech most of city buses / tram use time for different tickets. For Liberec, there will be either 40 minutes or 75 minutes. So, you can just use the ticket within the time after it is verified by machine in the bus / tram.
By the way, Liberec is at the north of Czech, quite close to the border of Czech-Germany and you can also see the signboards are also in German. For Czech people, Liberec is famous for Ještěd tower designed by Karel Hubáček, which where I was heading to yesterday :) This tower is basically a communication tower together with restaurants and hotel where people can stay there while enjoying the view or winter sports.
|Can you imagine how cold was it. T_T|
I just knew that this place is packed the whole year as people come to nearby ski resorts in winter and in summer, this weather is ideal for trips :)
When I reached Horní Hanychov, this was the view of the area;-
|This was during my way back :)|
|Ski jumping statues|
I was greeted by this statue. It was awkward actually to walk under it. Haha.
Based on Wikipedia, I read that this place was once significant with World Championship 2009.
From the tram stop, I can see immediately the signboards of nearby places; like ski school, ski resorts etc. My first plan, was to find route to get to Ještěd tower. So, I went to information center. I met with a friendly old man, who is working there for 11 years (!) and he speaks English too. I guess buy souvenirs here (if you would like to), they are cheaper than at the tower.
|It was already closed when I return there at 5.30pm.|
There are few ways to go up the mountain;-
For the hiking trails, you can choose either short blue route (3.5km - to the north) or long blue + red route (9km - to the south and north again) and both routes will lead to the tower. Since, I haven't hike for a while, I just choose the short route. But it was challenging enough to climb the steep paths covered with ice with snow below it.
But the views were mesmerizing. Now I know the feeling of winter wonderland! Here are few pictures. :) Most of the routes for the first 2km are crossing the forest and at least 2 roads.
|Spruce tree, I think so ;)|
|A family sliding down the hills :) One tip if you want to walk beside dogs here, just ignore them. If you don't show you are scared, they will not get near you. But, this may need practices.|
|Someone made this.|
|The path is not covered with fresh snow. so, don't worry to get wet stepping on it. Just be careful not to fall down.|
|The moment I saw blue sky. :D|
|0.5 km to reach the tower. I was exhausted.|
|Trees marked with few colors - to help hikers to know the route. :)|
The last 0.5 km was a bit challenging as I was walking along the edge of the mountain. I can see the view down there, everything covered with snow, white, gloomy but still worth breathtaking. Inspire fresh, cold air will make you not to feel tired.
I just knew the word hard rime; which is used to describe a white ice that forms when the water droplets in fog freeze to the outer surfaces of objects (source; Wikipedia)
As I was walking-hiking higher, I reached another road. And this time, I can see the tower, covered with white sky. Walked up for few hundreds meters and I reached the entrance to the tower! :D Most of people who went there are Czech and only some maybe come from Germany as I can hear that language.
|I can't see the peak. But the tower looks like the one in picture on my left :)|
The tower is free (I think), I didn't pay anything to enter it. Equipped with toilets and free WiFi too. I didn't have plan in mind to have lunch there. But, suddenly there was strong wind bringing all the ice throughout the air. It was painful to the face. I suddenly got scared of the strong wind and I don't think hiking down for another 3.5km would be a good choice.
After sending a postcard, I chose to stay and eat.
The restaurant up there was really calm and looked high quality. I waited for few minutes as all tables were full and I didn't want to sit in the bar (with lots of alcohol and cigarette smokes). After I got the place to sit, I looked at the menu, and to be honest, it was not that expensive as I thought! I mean, of course it is expensive compared to food prices in Malaysia, but here, a main dish that costs CZK 100-200 (RM 15-30) is normal. Even a kebab costs CZK 60. :p
Easy conversion ; RM 1 = CZK 6
I ordered Grilled Trout with gratin potatoes and brown butter; and I still make confirmation that there will be no alcohol in the food. And also ginger lemonade for the drink. The total was CZK 250.
|It was a BIG portion for 1 person. T_T I took nearly 1 1/2 hours to eat. But worth the price :)|
There is hotel too at the tower, you can check TripAdvisor for more details.
It was nearly 5pm when I finished my food and made payment. After taking another few pictures, I just wait at the cable car; which run every 1/2 hour. The price is cheaper if you buy return tickets instead of 2 one-way tickets
|Going down :)|
|The tower was covered by thick white clouds. Aha, this is the ski areal.|
Cable car normal price;- One way = CZK 75 | Return = CZK 120
With InKarta, IN25;- One way = CZK 55 | Return = CZK 90
Actually the cable car is handled by České dráhy (ČD) or Czech Railways; which is the main railway operator in Czech. The cable car ride took only 4 minutes to go down to the ski areal. And I need to walk for another 700meters to get back to the tram stop and return to the train station, to catch the train to Hradec Kralove.
|Horni means upper.|
I was reading a book by Hilal Asyraf along the way there. A part of it that really touch my heart; about a chapter; Hati yang Kosong (Empty Heart?)
He said that, in our hearts, there is an empty space, and we try to find something to fill it as we don't want to get lonely with that emptiness. Some people will work hard to find wealth, some will find a partner, some will go hiking and some will go diving. Also, some may do something that will hurt others and there will also be some people fill it by giving happiness to others.
But, the empty spaces still not be filled. Why?
The book said that, the empty space is about our relation with Allah. It was empty as we maybe not doing things that obey His orders or we don't submit ourselves to Him.
Refresh our intention. Do things for the sake of Allah. T_T