Prague Hiking Adventure

The first leg of our trip has flown by. We’ve covered several big cities, finding the park and forest hikes in each. I think my favorite yet was the English Garden in Munich.

At least it was, but now I’m torn.

Our first time in Prague, I was immediately blown away by its beauty. It’s a BIG city, yet I loved the vibe. The gardens and parks are immaculately manicured. The architecture has a totally different look. People are extremely friendly.

Our first day we hiked a series of smaller parks and did some doing some site seeing.

Our second day turned into quite the adventure! I was feeling good. Doing some decent distance by foot and keeping the pace each day was paying off. Especially since we were finding the parks and forests. My mind was clear. My body felt ready for another good hike. I was amped up for this one.

We covered most of a rather large park. It took about an hour to get to the start. We first stopped at a beautiful Manor with the most amazing garden.

We then continued on a pathway along the water for quite some time. It passes by the zoo, and weaves along the water. Many small patios offering cafe and beer dotted the route. It was lovely to see many people out cycling along and taking breaks to meet up with friends. We kept the pace. We really wanted to make it through most of the park, and I had my eye on a lunch stop at the very end.

Eventually, we turned onto a soft trail and entered the forest. It was glorious! This might be the most lush forest we had hiked on this trip. We followed the trail, weaving along a trickling stream, passing by little houses up on the hill and surrounded by the happy chirping of birds. I was ecstatic that my mind and body were keeping up on what I knew would likely be a long day.

We made it to the lunch spot, Kalendova Chabrybárna, a fish farm where they cook your lunch fresh. It was delightful. We were definitely in an area where the locals went. There wasn’t English (in the main city it’s easy to get and English menu), so we scanned the menu, what clues we could, and picked a special. All the food coming out looked amazing!

We took our beers and found a spot to sit. Everything within me was calm. I knew the walk back was still a good distance, but I was so happy we made it to the end of the park and we were experiencing a place away from the other tourists.

When our food came I was thrilled to see a pile of little fish with fresh bread and salad. It was delicious.

The trek back did get long, and we ran out of water. It was hot, I was parched, and I did have to dig deep a little. I focused on keeping the pace as we had a target. A huge beer garden that overlooks the canal that we saw the day before.

I did struggle a bit. I was finding it hard. I’ll admit, I was getting tired and focusing too much on my strong desire for a cold glass of water. I kept refocusing over and over. I didn’t want to get my mind and energy derailed now so close to the end of the day.

When we sat down, water and beer in hand, it was the most amazing feeling. We enjoyed some time to simply sit, take in the city, and rehydrate!

Eventually, we meandered, looking for dinner. In his true go with the flow way, my hubby led us down a staircase on a whim and we ended up sipping beer and eating local culinary delights with a close up view of the canal.

I loved Prague. I loved the forest adventure.

You can see the map below. For all the hikes and details of each, follow along on Strava.

English Garden Hike

I said it before, and I’ll say it again.

The best way to see a city is to hike it.

It was time for a quick stop in in Munich. This time, I saw it like never before. We spent an entire day hiking the English Garden, and we didn’t even cover the whole thing.

It starts off with massive stretches of well manicured park dotted with cafes and beer gardens. If you are adventurous enough, you can explore portions of the other side. There are long stretches along the water and trails through the lush forest. Despite the size of the city, you will feel like you aren’t even in one. Deep in the upper portion of the park in the forest, we saw a herder, in his attire, grazing his sheep. His herding dog put on an impressive show.

We covered a good portion of the garden. Including the trek to and from the hotel, we clocked around 27 km. It might sound like a lot, but it’s doable. I’ve been hiking more back home and setting a certain pace. I’ve also been working on my metal space when the hikes get long. After a while, it comes naturally. It’s invigorating, allows you to truly experience more of the cities you visit, clears your mind, and builds up an appetite for the local culinary delights.

On the day of the English Garden, I was quite happy with my ability to keep the pace, physically and mentally. Being in the forest does have a magical effect on me and puts me into a better place.

On the map, close to the point of the figure 8 crossing, there is a mini hofbrauhaus. It’s a small outdoor version of the big beer hall in the core of the city. We covered most of the upper portion of the park before stopping at the mini beer garden. At this point, we only had the last leg to get back to the city center.

Once back near our hotel for the evening, we hit the main beer hall and stayed for a while. The beer is great. I particularly liked the Helles. The food at these beer halls is amazing. We grazed on a small charcuterie, then shared a roasted pork knuckle. If you’ve never had one, you should. The beer halls Munich know how to roast meat. We even caught some live music.

Don’t get me wrong, Munich has lots to offer, but don’t miss out on the nature embedded within its core.

My city hiking tips: carry a small pack with water, rain coat, sweater, emergency snack, and sun screen. Also have some spare change on you in case you need to use the facilities when in Europe.

Follow along on Strava for all the hikes and click able maps.

Brussels by Foot

It’s been a while since I’ve been on a proper adventure. You might be familiar with Just a Girl and Her Bike. This time, it’s Just a Girl and Her Boots.

Yes, that’s right. Back pack loaded and hiking boots laced up, I was more than ready to see new parts of the world.

This trek started with a 2 week stretch through some big cities. The best way to really see a big city is by hiking through the parks. I was utterly surprised and delighted with the immense green space in Brugges, Munich, and Prague. But, we’ll get to that.

Let’s start with Brussels. We arrived in the afternoon and hit the ground running. Putting on your walking shoes and getting in some steps right off the bat is the best way to reinvigorate yourself after a long journey and to keep yourself awake and not suffer long effects of jet lag. Just lace up those shoes and go!

We made a proper first stop at Moeder Lambic for some outrageous beer. I gravitated to the lambic style that they had on tap (this doesn’t happen at home). I replenished with moules & frites. The lover of creepy things on me came out when we grabbed a night cap at a high-end beer place that used to be a theater and is filled with puppets!

Our second day gave us a full day to hike and see things. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to walk through the forest areas that we thought we could. When it doesn’t go your way, find another one. We turned the day into a big city tour and covered a lot of ground.

We started off with a visit to a Gothic cathedral. The style is stunning, inside and out. There’s something sureal about looking up at windows, arches, and structures riddled with intricacy and that must have taken a long time to create.

We then fuelled up with a proper local breakfast of Croque Madame and a delicious beer.

We hiked all through the city and up a hill to a science center. Keeping a good pace and meandering off the main route to cover the occasional little bit of forest is a sure way to get your body and your mind feeling great after a long day of travelling. I highly recommend setting at least a guideline for your route with a target pace and distance. It’s the key to feeling great from the beginning of the trip.

After our invigorating walk, we kept the steps going. We made two stops at the famous Delirium brewery. It’s an entire street of separate places, all serving up fresh pints!

The day was getting long, and it took us a bit, but we found an amazing spot for dinner, down in a cave like place. This is when patience paid off. I was famished. The day was getting long. But when we walked into this place, I knew I needed to tap into my zen. When a plate of rabbit slow cooked in lambic beer was set down in front of me, I was in heaven. When it gets long, take a deep breathe a d regroup. Travelling by foot can be amazing if you can tap into your patience and your calm energy.

Here’s my route uploaded to Strava. Follow me there to see all the hike and the details of each.

Self Care

The forest heals. The fresh air infuses life. The sights and sounds of nature refresh and revive.

After a busy time with unexpected challenges, I could feel the fatigue building as I plunged into final preparations for and all weekend reading and writing conference. I did something quite smart that I don’t usually do. I took a day off and enjoyed life. A full day of hiking, happy hour and even a football game, with my husband, refreshed me.

I had way too much fun at the conference, despite the fact that it had to be online. I gave presentations. I went to presentations. I helped host others. It felt good to be part of something that has been fundamental to my writing success.

By the end of the three days, I was cooked. I did something smart, that 9 don’t usually do. I read in bed and binged Shudder (if you’re a closet horror lover like me, check out my other website, KillersAndDemons).

After two days, I felt better. I decided to continue to be smart. I did a bunch of work, then, I went outside into the sunshine, and walked for two hours through the forest.

Am I finally learning to listen when my being needs something? I hope so.

Do you listen when you need some self care? I find having a list of things that I know I love thay make me feel good, and being setup to easily execute on them, sets me up for success. For example, having good hiking clothes clean at all times, a great pair of shoes by the door, and pack ready to go with snacks and sunscreen. Or having books or movies on hand so I can chill. Or having my bathroom stocked with bath salts, candles, and aromatic bubble bath.

Take care, and be sure to stop and be nice to yourself when you need a break.

Where Did Julie and Her Bike Go?

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything here on my ‘Just A Girl And A Bike’ site. I assure you, I have not gone away. I’m still here. I’m still just a girl. I’m still riding my bike. And I’m still raising money for World Bicycle Relief, one book at a time.

I’m doing lots of other things now too. Hiking has become a big part of my life. My last posts were about some amazing hikes I did in Utah (Climb Like a Spider to Angel’s Landing), and a trip to my local mountains to ride, hike, and sell books (Reflections from the Mountains).

I was still travelling until the lockdown happened. I was lucky enough to get in a trip to Japan and to San Diego before it all happened. I did write some posts, but didn’t publish them. Stay tuned….

I’ve also launched myself onto a path of becoming a fiction writer. This has kept me quite busy – and is the reason that I have not pampered my traveling, biking, hiking, inspirational blog the way I once did. For that I am sorry, and I miss it, but…sometimes you have to focus and you can’t do everything. I am happy to say that because I buckled down and worked hard, I launched my debut novel last January.

Final Track - FRONT

If you like MindHunter, Hannibal, Criminal Minds…you might like my novel – Final Track.

If you like dark crime, horror, and 80s metal…you can check out my new site. KillersAndDemons – a toxic cocktail of 80s metal, ritualistic murder, and raw horror. You will also find the occasional inspirational post there as well (it is in my nature). And, you will find lots of cool stuff – free short stories (right now you get Where’s Benji if you sign up for the newsletter), story time (Creepy Readings with Demon Julie) and a plethora of other cool and fun stuff. Stop on by!

 

Newsletter2Although my ‘new’ creative path seems totally different than the one conveyed here on this site, there are some glaring similarities. I still write inspirational posts – I can’t help it. I still write about my passions (music, 80s, reading, writing) – just slightly different passions than the outdoor adventure focus here. I’m still in the posts, in the stories, and in the website. It’s still me. Just a different side of me.

 

 

104385072_1005311676549685_2396385641008336064_nI was recently interviewed by an author I totally admire (Daniel Willcocks) on his podcast called Great Writers Share. I’ve posted it here so you can have a listen. It was eye opening and quite refreshing to see that no matter what I choose to focus on or to write – I am still Julie. Now, I’m not Just A Girl and a Bike – I’m also Bon Julie, Demon Julie…and who knows what other Julie’s are lurching within 🙂

Listen to Great Writers Share | with Daniel Willcocks

It’s been a long journey. Stay here for more outdoor and travel adventure blogs. Come along with me at KillersAndDemons for dark tales of crime and horror coated with 80s metal, or follow both – whatever suits your taste.

Stay tuned for some good memories from a fascinating adventure in Japan last fall.

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