Search

neilhayeswrites

Blog & Fiction.

Tag

Travelling

Discovering Krkonoše National Park, The Czech Republic

I have visited this National Park several times and, having lived in the Czech Republic for more than a decade, thought I knew what to expect of it. But a recent family trip proved to me how wrong I was.

Located along the northern Czech border with Poland, the Krkonoše National Park is one of the most famous and popular in this country. Containing the countries highest peak, Sněžka, it has a stunning collection of ski resorts, hiking and walking trails, as well as beautiful nature everywhere you look.

Now, I am not much of a hiker, my dodgy knees make me wary of getting too high as coming down is a jarring experience. Due to this I have never been to the peak of the highest mountain, so I had never experienced the difference in nature which the higher reaches of this mountain range contain. But a recent family trip, and a small improvement in my fitness, recently changed that.

We still did not visit the peak itself but stayed in a small skiing village, called Rokytnice nad Jizerou, for one week and enjoyed day trips in the surrounding mountains. Now they may not have been the highest, but they were high enough. And since our holiday took place during the recent European heat wave, it was fairly hard work every day. Hard work, but so satisfying. Physical exercise, beautiful nature and plenty of fresh air.

As I said, it was a family trip and we were all kitted out with our Camelbaks. Carrying 9 litres of water, between us, just about covered our needs for the day. But the best item we carried had to be our micro towels, nice and cooling when wet, they proved to have great recuperative powers, for both the children as well as my wife and I.

DSC_7377

So what is so different about the nature? At the higher altitudes, the dense pine forests disappear and are replaced by sparse Scandinavian style nature. Low-growing trees, which look more like bushes, and space. There is much more space, if you can get away from the crowds. But that is relatively easy. There are some very popular trails, like going to the source of the Elbe, or Labe in the Czech language. But if you take a different route back you will be on your own in no time.

DSC_7421

There are also many mountain chalets located throughout this area. Places to stop, take a break and buy some food and drink. If you are Czech this will probably mean a beer, but until I finish the day I stick to the water myself. Some of these chalets can be surprisingly large and offer a bit of fun for the kids too, they never lack in energy of course.

DSC_7276

At the end of the week, I was happy to get home and rest my legs. But this was definitely one of the most enjoyable holidays I have had. A special mention should go to Hotel Helena, where we stayed. Returning there every day, where the kids could keep jumping and playing and my wife and I could collapse for a while, was a pleasure. This small hotel has good facilities and the food was excellent. Breakfast, a snack for the day and dinner were all included in the price. There was plenty of it and every meal was delicious. Oh and, of course, the beer was cold and refreshing too. Even more so than dipping your toes in one of the local streams.

DSC_7329

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish

Foreign: Just a word

Foreign.

What’s your first thought? The answer will tell you a lot about yourself. Does it strike you with fear? Or does it evoke a sense of wonder?

It covers most places in the world, most people, most everything. For me, the word evokes a feeling of curiosity and triggers the need to understand and learn. There is so much to learn and appreciate in this world. It doesn’t even have to mean leaving your country, although some people should definitely try this. There are things to learn on your doorstep, we are all foreigners to one another. There is another world inside each person’s mind.

But the further you move from home, the more variety you will find, and also be surprised by the similarities. Smell the air, it’s the same, but with a slightly different aroma. Taste the food, probably the same basics, but with a few additions which you wouldn’t have thought of. It’s the differences which make the world interesting.

It’s just a word but, for me, it stands for excitement. What does it mean to you? Take the test.

Foreign.

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish

The Beach – Barry Island

DSC_2103

There have been many fun days during this summer. Lots of interesting places, chances to both play and relax. But one day stands out, our trip to the Welsh seaside.

My family and I live in the Czech Republic which, if you don’t know, is a landlocked country. No sea or ocean. Lots of lakes, where many Czech people spend their summers, but it’s not quite the same.

My children love water and sand, so this day in Wales was a rare opportunity for them. And the weather gods were kind to us, for once. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day. The weather, in Wales, is inconsistent. That’s the nicest way I can put it. So when the sun shines, you have to take advantage of it.

So, we decided on a visit to Barry Island. Located in South Wales, near the capital city of Cardiff, this is a famous summertime destination in Wales. It has lovely beaches, as well as a small fun park and everything that a British seaside town usually boasts. Penny arcades, fish and chips, ice cream and seagulls to try and steal your prized treats.

But, of course, the best thing about any family day out are the smiles on the children’s faces. The excitement you can feel from them, when they are doing something new or different to the normal. Swimming in the sea and building enormous sandcastles, with my wife’s help. Looking through rock pools, in search of aquatic life. Being a child at the beach, that was my childhood in Wales.

DSC_2072
DSC_2094

For my kids, it is an occasional treat, but life in the Czech Republic has many compensations for the missing beaches, so they don’t miss out on much. And we crammed a lot into our few hours on Barry Island. They had the time of their lives, got some sun and filled their bellies. And even had time for a bit of rugby practice.

IMG_5161

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish

Summer So Far

So Summer finally began. Sun, heat and fun. It’s all been pretty hectic so far, and there is still more to come. Excellent!

I will be writing, in more detail, about my family’s trip to the UK. But, for now, our trip was divided into two parts. Portsmouth in England, and then Wales.

First of all I have to say that Portsmouth was awesome. Two nights was just not enough, even for the historical dockyard. You could not imagine a place so full of history, so much to see, so little time. Historical ships, museums, hands-on exhibits and even an action centre to use up some of the kids excess energy. The city itself is a mixture of the old and the new. Historic buildings, quite often pubs, for the old and a modern shopping and entertainment complex for the young and the young at heart.

And then on to Wales, home. We spent more time in Wales. My nephew got married, we went to the beach, and then it rained. But that was no big deal, we were tired and just happy to spend time with family. And the Welsh countryside was, as usual, just stunning. If you want lush green rolling hills then this is the place, but you need a bit of rain to produce this combination. So, if it rains while you are there, bad luck. All you can do is pray that it stops, and then what you see will have been worth it.

This was the major holiday of the summer, so there were plenty of special moments to speak of in more detail. I will get to that soon, for now these two pictures tell the story so far.

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish

Coffs Harbour, Australia

Located between Brisbane and Sydney, Coffs Harbour was my home for a few years. Having travelled through once, stayed for a few days and then moved on, I never would have thought that I would return and make it my home. My original impressions were that it was a pleasant, small town with beautiful nature. But I didn’t get to know it that well, it was too early in my trip and I was too keen to move on and discover more.

But return I did. I was staying in Newcastle when a job opportunity arose in Coffs Harbour. I remembered the town and jumped at the chance, I also needed the money. I worked and stayed at a backpackers hostel and got to know the town and its locals.

The town itself has, I believe, a perfect location. It is situated on the coast but backed by mountains which form part of the Great Dividing Range of Australia. So you live next to the beach but within thirty minutes you can be in the mountains looking at rainforest. And if you continue driving you will reach New England. With its rolling green hills and trout streams, you can see where it gets its name.

Coffs Harbour offers a lot for the traveller to do and experience. From visiting the rainforest to skydiving, swimming with dolphins or diving with sharks. For nine months of the year you can see whales breaching and jumping in the ocean. Or you can do many other activities with one of the companies offering fun and adventure. Liquid Assets is just one such company, and one I got to know well. Bob and Mal are top Aussies and always did their best for their customers. You could go whitewater rafting, surf rafting, sea kayaking or even do surfing lessons. So much to choose from. 

My boss was another top bloke. Graeme made me welcome and dealt with everyone with fairness, an open heart and a smile. I have never been very good at expressing myself with spoken words, or the telephone, but I appreciate everything he did for me. If you read this Graeme, cheers for everything. 

But the greatest memory of my time here has to be meeting my wife. I still remember standing outside the hostel, watching a gorgeous blonde walking across from the train station. I checked her in and starting planning how I could get to know her. We went for a bike ride and for a meal. After a long term and long distance relationship I moved to the Czech Republic. And the rest is history. Two kids and a happy life back in Europe, but it all started in sunny Coffs. 

Text © Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

Poetry collection

Work by Rain Alchemist

Phillip Knight Scott

Author | Poet | Giggler

No Stress

Stress Management Techniques

Dr. Eric Perry, PhD

Psychology to Motivate | Inspire | Uplift

sasha's stories

just writing

The Literary Edit

Book Blog | Literature Review, Bookstore & Travel Guide For Book Lovers

The Master Procrastinator

Go From Couch-Potato To SUPERFRY In No Time

Live Healthy and Well

A healthy lifestyle blog that brings you the best, most trusted resources created by real experts to help you achieve the best version of yourself

FITin56

56 Days to Fitness