The end of the season at Svatý Jan

The end of the season at Svatý Jan

I have to admit I haven’t gone bikepacking (and riding a bike in general) very much this year. Anyway, I have been on several trips during which I was exploring places I hadn’t visited before. One of the places I liked the most was the surroundings of Beroun and the river Berounka. I like its nature so much I decided to spend the last camping night of the season in the area. In the middle of October, I set off for a quick overnighter.

When I jumped on the train in Prague, it was already dark. In Beroun, I headed to a local brewery that is located next to the train station. Thanks to this year’s extremely warm autumn I could enjoy two beers on the terrace even though it was around 9 PM.

Climbing above Beroun

Climbing above Beroun

From the brewery, I got back to the station and followed the red signs that led me above Beroun to the shelter where I wanted to spend the night. When I went past the hospital, I turned off the road and started climbing on the forest path through the darkness. After a while, I realized I was going in the wrong way as I took a wrong turn and got to a village. That’s the story of my trips, right? As I didn’t want to pedal back uphill, I found out I could go on a path that luckily led up to the shelter.

Keep calm and drink coffee :)

Keep calm and drink coffee :)

There is a significant oak tree right at the place where the shelter is. The spot is located close to the top of a hill called Herinky. When I reached the shelter, I prepared dinner, had a cup of coffee and soon after midnight was in the sleeping bag. The place is close to the village and I woke up several times during the night due to barking dogs. Around 3 AM I was woken up by a young couple that was looking for Saint John. I was sleepy and it took me awhile to realize I was not the person they were seeking. Sadly, they were interested in a village down in the valley called Svatý Jan pod Skalou (literally Saint John under the Cliff) and had to return back down right after they climbed the hill.

Mornin'!

Mornin’!

I packed my stuff up in the morning and headed to the village the young couple was looking for in the night. There are two possible paths to get there from where I slept. One follows the red signs and is very steep, as it leads directly to the village. I picked the other one that is moderate and has a pleasant flow, as it follows the contour lines of the hills.

Even though the weather was nice and the sun was shining through the autumn foliage, I was cold during the long descent on the narrow path. I didn’t pay much attention to it though, as I knew I would have to climb the hill on the other side of the valley to get to the lookout point above the village. I was still able to pedal at the beginning of the ascent but as the path got steeper and was full of roots, I got off the bike and started pushing.

Downhill to Svatý Jan pod Skalou (Saint John under the Cliff)

Downhill to Svatý Jan pod Skalou (Saint John under the Cliff)

When I finally reached the lookout point above the village, I sat on the rock for a long time to energize me. The breathtaking view and morning sun were calling for it. From the lookout, I went through the near Solvay Limestone Quarries, got to Bubovice Waterfalls and continued following the red signs to Karlštejn where I stopped to have lunch.

After lunch, I zigzagged through the crowds of tourists that, despite the late season, flowed into the castle. When I was leaving Karlštejn following the yellow signs I started singing a song by a Czech musician Ivan Mládek about a village called Třebáň because it was exactly where I was heading. I wrapped my trip up at a local railway pub where you can get a beer for 17 CZK (the cheapest beer I have ever had). I was left speechless and definitely decided to revisit the pub in the future.

Tips from the road

Berounský medvěd Brewery (Beroun Bear Brewery)

Test their local beer production (I don’t remember exactly but they have around six or seven kinds on tap) and enjoy good food in the brewery restaurant. Thanks to a strategically good position near the train station it’s a good place to start or end your bike trips. It is usually crowded during the summer season though.
web: berounskymedved.com

Berounský medvěd Brewery (Beroun Bear Brewery)

Berounský medvěd Brewery (Beroun Bear Brewery)

Svatý Jan pod Skalou (Saint John under the Cliff)

A small village in the valley and a pilgrimage place above which rises monumental rock massif with a hefty cross on top of it. You will be rewarded with gorgeous panoramas after a tough ascent. This spiritual place has an incredibly strong energy.

Svatý Jan pod Skalou (Saint John under the Cliff)

Svatý Jan pod Skalou (Saint John under the Cliff)

Solvay’s Limestone Quarries

There are abandoned limestone quarries close to the above-mentioned lookout. Nowadays there is an open-air museum of quarrying and transportation of limestone. You can see former operational buildings, mining machines and you can have a ride on a renovated narrow gauge railway.
web: solvayovylomy.cz

Solvay’s Limestone Quarries

Solvay’s Limestone Quarries

Karlštejn

Even though it was my first visit to Karlštejn I don’t have to introduce one of the most famous Czech castles. If you go by train, you can get off at Zadní Třebáň and walk to Karlštejn following the yellow signs. From Karlštejn you can continue for example to Srbsko or towards the famous quarries Malá and Velká Amerika (Little and Big America).

Karlštejn Castle

Karlštejn Castle

Zastávka Nižbor (Old Railroad Pub at Nižbor)

When in this area, add a village Nižbor to your itinerary and stop by a famous old railroad restaurant called Zastávka (The Station). The Czech actor Tomáš Hanák stylishly renovated the old railroad storehouse and opened a restaurant there. The interior is superb and the menu as well.
web: zastavkanizbor.cz

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The end of the season at Svatý Jan
When October 2018
Distance 25 km
Ascent 686 m
Days 2 days