A Walk in the Woods

The city of Prague ends abruptly on a wooden hillside about a mile north of here. Strangely, in this city without suburban sprawl, it is the same distance to the edge of town as it is to the center. The storied center of Prague is where the tourist herd snakes its way though the narrow cobblestone streets and waits in droves for the hourly toll of the Astronomical Clock.

Compared to the bustle of Old Prague, the maze of dusty trails that wind through the woods is a welcome retreat. Gurgling streams descend the canyons as they make their connection to the river bed in the valley below. The leaved canopy echos the hullabaloo of a thousand birds. The sunlight plays in golden patches along the ground and illuminates the path ahead.

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prague-dusty-road_sm.jpg Occasionally one may chance upon a cabin tucked away behind the brush. A man is chopping wood in his garden while nearby a group of friends sit at a table enjoying a midday conversation over a bottle of wine. Those who venture into the woods forget that they are on a hillside above a capital city and come to believe that they have entered the pages of a fable.

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Of course your storybook walk might seem all the more outlandish when a twenty-foot-tall giant iron sheep is gazing at you from a clearing. You have interrupted his meal and iron sheep are know to be fairly territorial. A word of advice: proceed slowly with caution, trying not to make eye contact.

Eventually the beast will return to grazing and forget all about your presence.

The hills above Prague have as much mystique to offer as the city itself. The fact that the forrest is so accessible and also lightly traveled, makes it the hidden gem of the city – an escape from tour groups and trinket peddlers. I will have to make sure that this secluded garden remains a local secret.

 
 
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