Cross-country skiing in the footprints of famous natives as well as nameless heroes
Orlické Mountains natives care often very proud of their birthplace. They prove that success depends much more on your talent and diligence than on the size of your birthplace. And so when you set off to the beautiful surroundings of the Orlické Mountains, just keep in mind that you will be crossing the former paths of the two famous Orlické Mountains natives. They couldn´t meet each other as there is a difference in their dates of births of more than one hundred years. But they indisputably used to follow the same paths. The first one, a certain František Kupka left the mountains and went to Dobruška. He was supposed to become a saddler, but something attracted him to painting. The forests, hills, valleys and ravine roads of the Orlické Mountains were his first inspiration. He used to walk there in summer as well as wade here through the snow in winter. You would be surprised by his first pictures-chaste and pious holy pictures, following the spirit of Classical painting. Who would dare to believe that he would become one of the world’s most important representatives of abstract painting, presented in leading world galleries and collections. The second young man, Ondřej Moravec, used to run away to the hills from the other side of the mountains, from Letohrad. Firstly just for fun, as most of us do in winter, on cross-country skis, later he took a rifle with him and surprisingly, he won 3 Olympic medals in biathlon in Sochi. These stories might pass through your mind during your skiing on some of these cross-country trails- there are many of them in the Orlické Mountains-more than 250 km of carefully maintained trails. And as this Eldorado hasn´t been discovered by many skiers yet, you will probably be cutting through the crunching snow for hours alone - which is a real rarity and luxury in the Czech mountains. Moreover, there is no other place where your trips lead you through tens of fortresses and bunkers of the ancient line of defense of the Czechoslovak borderline. These are places with strong emotion, you can´t pass through them without feeling any. In addition, they have such fragile names, for example Hanička (little Hannah). On your journeys you will also encounter religious monuments, view towers and mountain cottages, charming lonely houses as well as peaceful villages. You will be surrounded by forests and stunning plains. Don´t miss the 30 km long Jiráskova hřebenovka. You will not know where to look - whether into the Czech basin or into Polish Klodzko. Stop at Šerlich, at the monumental Masaryk Cottage, where you can eat and sleep well. If you like a challenge, take the very well maintained trail to the highest peak of the Orlické Mountains, Velká Deštná, rising to an altitude of 1115m.You will go through the virgin forest Bukačka and stop to have something tasty in the historical Kramář Cottage.
Fabulous show with the barking of dogs
The Orlické Mountains is the place where an extraordinary show for fans of mushing takes place. This four-day long stage race of the dog-sledding called Šediváčkův long is indisputably the longest as well as the most difficult musher race in Europe. It has already taken place 18 times and its prestige is growing. As we are used to in the Czech Republic, there is a story behind everything. The story of this race is an emotional one. At the beginnings of the race in 1997, one of the dogs, a Siberian husky, ran away the evening before the race. His escape had a tragic ending - he was shot in a faraway village. Since then, the race got its name from its only victim. Of course there is a risk that you will leave the Šediváčkův long race with an uncontrollable desire to try it too. Luckily help is nearby, specifically in Doudleby nad Orlicí, where experienced mushers from the Alaskan husky team will take you for a ride in their sledge and you will be allowed to choose, if you want to go at night or during the day.
Říčky, Deštné- places loved by downhill skiers
Říčky v Orlických horách is of course the most famous sport resorts in this region. This is due to the variety of the terrain as well as the high-quality facilities - you will ski on four slopes including the beautiful black Slalomka, you will be taken up the slope by a four- seat chair lift and by two ski lifts, you will have a snowpark at your disposition as well as a ski service, rental office and refreshment. In short, don´t be discouraged by the name of the hill you are going to go down- it´s called Enchanted. If you enjoy skiing freely and confidently, maybe you will be able to unlock it from its curse. In Deštná, you will go down the hill Studený vrch where you will have the choice of five slopes, six ski-lifts and a chair lift. You can also jump by snowboard in the snowpark and the services for skiers are great there too. However, truly the best thing for those, who have at least a little bit of an acrobatic heart is that you can find here the great Gravity Fun park with 15 obstacles including 4 jumps. And if you get here at the end of the season, it´s here that the ruler of the Orlické Mountains, Rampušák, says goodbye to his beloved winter - and you can be there. Just try the downhill skiing in the Orlické Mountains - you will be surprised how great it is. But skiing isn´t everything, is it? And when you’re finished there’s no need to be bored. For example in Deštné, you should visit the very interesting Museum of Winter Sports, Hiking and Crafts. You will learn a lot about life and especially about the work of the old mountaineers, like glassblowing, laundry, and of course also about ancient skiing and about what skis, snowshoes and skibobs used to look like. Next to the museum, there is a studio of a bell maker and a potter as well as a sales gallery. To be honest-how many bell makers have you seen working in your life? And if you are hungry, don´t worry - the famous bakery Roznerovo pekařství has a hundred year old tradition as well as fragrant and crunchy treats.
There is a huge number of museums in the Czech Republic, but there is one truly unique and, above all, newly opened after its reconstruction! We are talking about the Museum of Lace - where else than in the capital of lace and bobbin - lace making, in Vamberk. In a rich exposition, you will be taken through the development of Czech lace since the 18th century till the present, you will become acquainted with various techniques and you will above all admire its fragile and filigreed beauty. You can also see the collections that represented Czech lace at the world expositions Expo Brusel 1958 and Expo Montreal 1967.
Very large, rugged and loaded with exhibits - this is the Museum of Crafts in Letohrad. The historically protected resort Nový dvůr offers exposititons on its incredible 1700 square meters. You will find 50 completed expositions there of crafts and trades. You might know many of them, but you will be surprised by their history. However, there are also crafts that we don´t know much about like the metal printer, cooper, the shingler or the carriage maker…in addition there is a one hundred year old classroom, a sawmill with its three working cutters, a mechanic´s workrooms, an open-air museum with moving figurines, equipment of an old village pub and even a dentist´s and gynecologist´s office.
If Vamberk is the capital of the lace, Třebechovice pod Orebem is the capital of cribs. By the way, there is no other museum of nativity scenes in Europe! This museum is involved in the reconstructions of static and mechanical cribs. In addition to cribs, you can see here the town collections dominated by the hand-written and illuminated Man of letter’ gradual from the middle of the 16th century. The most valuable of the cribs is the Probošt mechanical crib, more than one hundred years old, the only crib in our country that was declared a national cultural heritage and which consists of more than 2000 carved pieces.