Prague to Vienna on Foot: Mushrooms

A series of posts following David and Gail as they walk 480 kilometers from Prague to Vienna in 2014.

September 23, 2014

The walk from Nové Sady to Vranon nad Dyji was, as expected, a long trip. 37 kilometres long. Entirely on the official Greenway trail, the route was all small roads, some barely walking path in width. The length of the route closely followed the Czech-Austrian border, contentious at various times in history but most recently during World War Two and the Communist era. Along the path were a string of mushroom-like structures popping out of the ground, usually in the middle of farmer’s fields. Part of the Small Maginot Line, these indestructible concrete bunkers were part of Czechoslovakia’s defense against Hitler’s advances, although they were never used. Today they are just menacing reminders of that war.

Speaking of mushrooms, the real ones are everywhere you look. The variety of shapes and colours is extraordinary. And the Czechs are crazy about them. Passing through a forest, we would see at least one person wandering about with the requisite wicker basket, out collecting mushrooms. Mushroom picking is a national obsession. I wish I new more about them. No, I wish I knew anything about them. Death by poisonous mushroom would be a definite possibility in my case.

Our day ended with a dramatic entrance to Vranov nad Dyji. Before the road dives steeply into the valley and the town by the Dyji River, it first winds past the State Chateau. With Gothic roots, the current chateau dates back to the 1600’s with later Baroque additions. It all hangs in a delicate balance on the edge of a cliff, dominating the tiny town below.  

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