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Hiking from Slavonice to Nova Bystrice


Today Tom drove us from our hotel in Telc to the village of Slavonice to begin our hike. The hike was mainly thru the woods. The most interesting part was finding old military pillboxes hidden in the woods. They had been built back before WWII as part of a defense system but had never been used. They were now heavily overgrown and hard to find. You had to look thru the trees for a dirt mound. Then as you walked around the mound one side was exposed concrete with narrow slots for the machine guns and a heavily fortified door for internal access. The other side was camouflaged by mounding earth up against the side and over the top. Of course after a few years the earthen mound was well covered with grass, bushes and trees making it hard to find the pillbox.

Pillbox in woods

One of the many pillboxes we saw in the woods.

Lunch at lakeside picnioc table

We found a nice lakeside picnic table for lunch.

Emerging woods to Stare Mesto

We finally emerged from the woods and walked across this field to enter the village of Stare Mesto.

The trail finally exited the woods at the town of Stare Mesto. Then we were walking along a country lane on our way to Landstejn. It was along the road that Tom met us with the van and picked us up. He drove us the remaining mile or so to the castle ruin at Landstejn. Built of stone in the 13th century, it is one of the oldest castles in the southern Bohemia area. The exterior walls were all in pretty good condition including the castle tower that was open to the public. It was a long set of stairs to the top but the views of the castle below and the surrounding countryside were great.

Entering  Landstejn castle

Here we are walking in to Landstejn castle for our self-guided tour.

Interior of Landstejn castle

There wasn't much left inside the castle. Just the bare stone walls.

From Landstejn, Tom drove us to the small train station in Nova Bystrice. We were scheduled to take a scenic ride on a narrow-gauge railway to the town of Jindrichuv Hradec. When we arrived, there was a very ancient looking steam locomotive with about 4 equally ancient wooden passenger cars (built around 1906) waiting at the station. Unfortunately, it was a special train set up for a group of rail fans. We had about an hour wait for our regularly scheduled train so we went into the village of Nova Bystrice for a quick sight see. When we returned to the station, the previous ancient train had been replaced with a slightly newer set of rolling stock. The diesel locomotive dated back to the late 1950's and the metal passenger cars had been built around 1966. After about 6 passengers boarded, us four and another couple, the train started its scenic 1 1/2 hour journey thru the gently rolling countryside. Along the way we stopped at several tiny stations to pickup and drop off new passengers. Several times we stopped to pickup large groups of high-school kids who had been out all day on educational field trips. Unfortunately for them, it had poured rain earlier in the day and they were all soaking wet and shivering cold. They all looked anxious to return home and get into some dry clothes.

Nova Bystrice train station

To the left is the old train station at Nova Bystrice.

Below left is the ancient steam engine that was used for the special "railfan" excursion train.

Below right is the "modern" diesel locomotive and passenger cars that we rode with the regular scheduled train.

Ancient steam train Newer? diesel engine

At the station in Jindrichuv Hradec, Tom met us with the mini-van and took us into town and our next hotel. The hotel was named Bila Pani (which means white lady in Czech) after a legendary lady ghost in the town. According to the legend, the ghost was always seen floating about in a long white dress, hence the name, White Lady or Bila Pani. We never saw her during our stay in town. In the evening, we wandered about the town plaza and the town's chateau.

Jindrichuv train station

The train station at Jindrichuv Hradek.

Bila Pani hotel

The Bila Pani (White Lady) hotel we stayed in.

The chateau at Jindrichuv Hradec

^ The chateau at Jindrichuv Hradek was surrounded on at least two sides by lovely tranquil ponds.

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last revised : February 12, 2006