Enchanting Forest: Karlovy Vary

Just back in the door from a wonderful weekend in Karlovy Vary. The highlight of the trip for me was some trees. Really James, you went to one of the most beautiful towns in Europe, if not the world and your favourite part of it was……some trees?

Well yes actually, believe it or not I found the woodlands below the Diana Lookout tower to be fascinating. Winter used to be my favourite season but I think Autumn may have taken the lead now. The sheer amount of leaves on the ground and the way the light shone through the canopy made for a fairytale landscape that was just magical.

There’s something about the Autumnal colours here in the Czech Republic. They have this beautiful golden glow that you just don’t get back in Ireland, or I just never had the pleasure of being in the right forest at the right time.

My former work colleague Štěpán was kind enough to meet up with me on the afternoon we arrived in Karlovy Vary. Sinead wasn’t feeling the best so went for a nap to try and recover enough to explore the town later in the day. So Štěpán and I set off towards the lookout tower after having a stroll around the main part of town.

We took the funicular train as hiking up a hill didn’t seem too appealing after the fairly long journey to get there from Pardubice. The funicular only takes a few minutes to get to the top and the views around the forest are very nice on the way up. The first stop, the Stag’s leap is the cliff where, according to legend, Charles IV’s hunting dog chanced upon the steaming mineral water springs that the town below is now famous for. More on that in future posts.

The forest below the lookout tower makes for a great stroll back down the hill if you haven’t paid for the up and down funicular ticket (About 80kc each). I had the pleasure of walking through the woods on two occassions, once with Štěpán and then again the next day with Sinead. Walk through a stunning autumnal forest with leaves as far as the eye can see twice? Oh go on then.

On the second walk with Sinead the sun was pouring through the canopy at just the right angle to create a tiger stripe pattern on the ground from the trees’ shadows. Right forest, right time, right weather. These are the things that make you as a photographer look to the heavens and whisper “Thank you”.

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