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Wandering off the Beaten Path

Right when the "study" part of study abroad set in and the midterms seemed as if they would never end, my friends and I stumbled upon a lesser known gem on the outskirts of Prague.

Divoká Šárka, a nature reserve just thirty minutes outside of the city center, caught my attention as an easy destination for a quick hike in the Czech Republic.  So as we approach the beginning of November and the temperature is quickly falling to about 45 degrees Farenheit, we had somewhat decent weather one day last week and my roommates and I decided to make the trip.

trekking through the fields at the top of the gorge

Aside from the fact that the trailhead is essentially a McDonald’s parking lot, Divoká Šárka has sweeping views of the outskirts of Prague if you take the number 20 tram towards Divoká Šárka and ride it to the end.  And once you put a bit of distance between yourself and the busy street, it's relatively easy to forget your surroundings and appreciate the natural beauty around you.

The thing about coming from sunny Southern California to Prague, a place that actually has seasons, is that I have to consciously resist the urge to take a picture of every landscape or multicolored tree that I look at. I think that's one of my favorite parts of studying in the Czech Republic-- I get to live in colder climate and actually experience Fall.  It was honestly breathtaking and unlike the typical sightseeing things one would normally do in Prague.  We walked through the gorge and past the river, the water reserve, the dam, around a trailhead, and finally up to the top of the bluff.

Legend has it that the reserve was named after the ancient warrior Šárka, who threw herself off the cliffs to her death.  Now I don’t necessarily recommend following in Šárka’s footsteps, but I do recommend making your way to the top of the bluffs and chilling out in the grass for a little bit.  Next time I want to go, I might even pack a picnic lunch to eat at the top of the gorge where we found a tree swing that looks out over the scenery and the surrounding fields.

crossing the river

a swingset with a view

So that was my little off the beaten path excursion.  In the spring, there's a swimming pool and restaurant there that will open when the weather warms up around April.

It's a must see if you're in Prague for more than a few days and are looking to get some fresh air outside of the city center.


Chelsea Brady is the Fall 2014 CEA MOJO in Prague, Czech Republic.  She is currently a junior at the University of San Diego.

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