Thursday, 26 July 2012

ITTP Prague TEFL: Divoka Sarka

(Click on photo to enlarge)
Divoka Sarka (meaning: Wild Sarka) is a natural park of outstanding peace and beauty, a tram ride up the hill from Dejvicka metro station. For residents of the ITTP TEFL Prague Castle apartment it is a short walk away and a recommended walk or running route either first thing in the morning to get your day going, or during the afternoon when you will probably find yourself with a gap in your teaching schedule. Take a walk or a run here and you can easily forget the stress and hassles of the city and instead you will enjoy the sensation (and illusion) that you are miles away from the madding crowd, when in fact you are still very much within the city of Prague limits. It's a bit like entering the wardrobe and coming out into Narnia or falling into a rabbit hole and entering Wonderland; after all, Bedrich Smetana chose (the tale of the female warrior) Sarka as his third symphonic poem in his hauntingly sublime masterpiece Ma Vlast (My Country). The following text is an explanation of the Divoka Sarka route and some of the highlights on the way.

Divoka Sarka tram stop (Click on photo to enlarge)

First of all you need to get there. If you are staying in the ITTP TEFL Prague Castle apartment then just make your way onto Evropska road and walk the kilometer or two up to the Divoka Sarka tram stop, which is the end of the line. If coming from other parts of Prague then make your way to Dejvicka metro station and catch one of the many trams from there to the tram stop Divoka Sarka - currently there are road works on Evropska road and tram services to Divoka Sarka seem to be limited to the number 8 and 36 tram numbers, but usually the 20 and 26 ply this heavenly route.

McDonalds at the entrance to Divoka Sarka (Click on photo to enlarge)

When you reach the tram stop you should clearly see the McDonalds there. Note: McDonalds restaurants in Europe are located in prime real estate spots, unlike in the States where they seem to be located in "interesting" neighborhoods - therefore don't feel worried that you might be in an "interesting" neighborhood here. Quite the opposite. See that road leading down on the right just in front of the restaurant, follow that road.

Road leading past the McDonalds Drive In (Click on photo to enlarge)

Continue walking down the road and veer to the right, past the road leading left to the McDonalds Drive In (for people who really know how to store fat).

A few yards down the road from the McDonalds (Click on photo to enlarge)

The rabbit hole wardrobe thingy into Narnia Wonderland (Click on photo to enlarge)

As you continue on the road which veered right at the McDonalds Drive In, you will very quickly arrive at an information board letting you know what flowers and fauna you can expect to find in the region. If you look to the right you will see steps leading down (where the man in orange in the photo is headed). Take the steps down. Please note: we cannot guarantee that the man in orange will be there when you take your walk ( :-) ).

Follow the sign to Sarka - Bicycle route A163 (Click on photo to enlarge)

(Click on photo to enlarge)

At the bottom of the steps take a right and then your first on the left. See where the policeman is in the photo (what IS he doing btw? :-) ), well you need to turn left off the road and onto the track. We also can't guarantee that the policeman will be there at that point :-)

Sarka bridge (Click on photo to enlarge)

Natural Park sign in front of Sarka rock (Click on photo to enlarge)

Now you just need to keep on the main trail. Keep going and cross the bridge and then past the Natural Park sign, you are officially in Divoka Sarka now.

Sarka Fast food and snack shop (Click on photo to enlarge)

A little while into the walk the first place you will come to is the Obcerstveni kiosk (Fast food kiosk). This is a pleasant enough place to sit and have a pit stop. The kiosk sells beer, ice-cream, sausage, hot dogs, and sweets/candy.

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Entrance to Sarka outdoor area (Click on photo to enlarge)

A few yards on from the first pit stop is the Divoka Sarka outdoor pool area and this is a fantastic place to cool off when the temperatures soar. You can even play ping pong if you wish. Come here at the weekend and you are likely to feel like you are back in the Old Town Square, what with the crowds, but come here during the week and you will almost have the place to your own. The entrance price is currently 60 CZK. Be warned though, the water is freezing - even at the height of summer.

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From the outdoor pool entrance, follow the sign and veer to the right so that you remain on the A163 bike route.

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A few yards on you will come to a fork in the path and you need to make sure that you keep veering to the right, remaining on the bike path and following the stream.

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On your left a few yards further you will come to the pub divci skok. This is a very good place to sit for while, sipping and munching on good quality beer and sausage.

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(Click on photo to enlarge)

As you continue on, the path winds through stunning forest and beautiful landscapes with the only background noise coming from the reassuring trickling of the stream as it meanders and gently cuts through the undergrowth. There really is a sense of absolute calm here.

(Click on photo to enlarge)

(Click on photo to enlarge)

After about a kilometer or so from the pub you will find yourself with the option of turning right or left. Left takes you onto Dolni Sarka (Lower Sarka), which is also beautiful. However, be warned that this is a long walk so unless you feel like walking a lot more my advice is to take the turning on the right and head up the (steep) hill towards Veleslavin. This will take you to an area of housing and by heading straight and then turning right at the main road you will come to Evropska road again where you can either pop home if you are staying in the ITTP TEFL Prague Castle apartment, or simply take the tram down the hill to the Dejvicka metro station.

Hope it helps!

Hezky den!/Lovely day!

Neville :-)