Last weekend, Labor Day weekend in the US, Jiří and I traveled to southwestern Bohemia—to the Šumava National Forest area. We have family who live in that area—my brother-in-law celebrated his 60th birthday with a huge party in their backyard garden! The weather was perfect for the party, and we all had a great time! After the party, my husband and I traveled to Kasperske Hory to stay with his sister for a day or so. We were unable to visit Prašily due to the rainy weather on Monday, and so we decided to stay at Kasperske Hory and walk in the forest there. Kasperske Hory is a very interesting place in its own right, but today, I would like to tell you about the Šumava National Forest.
The Šumava National Forest is located in southwestern Bohemia, and shares the borders of Germany and Austria. Being located in Central Europe, this area is often called “The Green Roof of Europe.” This park is the largest in the Czech Republic, with 69,030 hectares (approximately 170,577 acres) of land, and has been designated a UNESCO Biosphere. The Šumava is a beautiful nature area filled with ancient forests, streams, rivers and glacial lakes, meadows, and low mountains. The area abounds with wild life, including deer, elk, the lynx, wild boar, and many different types of birds. This area is very wet and humid—you can even find bogs and marshes here!
The park is a wonderland for the sports enthusiast! You can find everything from down hill and cross country skiing, to hiking, biking, canoeing, hunting and fishing. It is also a wonderful spot for birders, and others who enjoy wild life. While we were traveling from Strakonice to Volary (with my brother-in-law who has a car), we saw several deer—they were beautiful and not very afraid of the car! Fortunately, my brother-in-law honked the car’s horn, and the deer backed away from the road! Anyway, Šumava is filled with many interesting and fun things to do and see.
Jiří and I chose to walk in the forest since it was raining and storm in Prašily. We walked about 15 minutes to the forest from my sister-in-law’s flat. The walk is pretty easy—it starts out with roads, and slowly dwindles down to a path once you hit the woods. The forest was pretty quiet that afternoon due to the weather. But the place was abounding in mushrooms! The Šumava is well-known for its many plants—including mushrooms. Every year, about this time, people from all over travel to the forest to pick mushrooms. The best time is when the weather is a bit rainy and humid and warm. These are the perfect conditions for mushrooms to sprout and grow! My husband found a bag full of mushrooms on our walk! It was very exciting…I found two mushrooms on my own, but wasn’t sure they were edible until he checked them out! There are many different types of mushrooms—some very pretty, with red caps, etc. But they are also very dangerous…and you must be very careful not to get the bitter tasting or poisonous mushrooms!
The Šumava forest is also well-known as a blueberry haven! They are everywhere! The true blueberry season is in August (when we were visiting my family in the US). But, I was looking for blueberries and did manage to find a few! I ended up with about ¾ of a good-sized jar of wild blueberries! This was the first time in my life to actually pick blueberries in the wild…I was so excited and happy to find some berries! We brought the blueberries back to Prague and the next day I cleaned them and then baked a wild blueberry coffee cake. It was wonderful…and I was very happy to have finally made something with real, hand-picked blueberries for the very first time!
The Šumava is a very beautiful area—I love it there. It reminds me of my home back in the Enchanted Circle area of New Mexico…and is a very relaxing place to spend some time. There is much to see and do there. I would highly recommend a visit to the The Šumava National Forest Park—not once, but many, many times in order to experience and appreciate all that the forest has to offer.
That’s all for today…you all have a great day!
© 2008 by czechoffthebeatenpath
All photos property of S. A. Vacik