Nature in the city: Divoká Šárka

June 23rd, 2011 | Posted by Klaraz in Klara | Lifestyle - (Comments Off)

Divoká Šárka (Wild Šárka) is a nature reserve on the northwestern oustskirts of Prague, and I am lucky to have it so close to my home.  It is named after a warrior Šárka, who, according to mythology, threw herself to death from the cliffs.  It is not certain whether this legend is actually true but it was meant to have taken place in either the 6th or 7th Century.  Prague as it is known today, did not exist then, and what is the city center now was unsettled at that time. The largest of the newly Slavic settlements is believed to have been located in what is now known the Divoká Šárka valley.  Of course you can find different version of the story.

Lake Džbán

In the middle of this enormous park there is a natural lake called “Džbán” (The Jug), where you can also go for a swim if you don’t mind the cold water.  There is also a small swimming pool that you may stumble upon in the middle of the forest called Koupalište Divoká Šárka. You can stroll along the paths through the forest, as well as climb your way up to the rocks and enjoy a wonderful view of the nature around.  You will forget you are actually in the city.

The activities you can do there are endless.  You can discover the place while rollerblading, hiking, cycling, jogging, sunbathing, or just taking your dog for a walk.  My dog absolutely loves it there.  If golf is your thing, go check out the driving range near the lake. Along one of the paths you can find a terrace where you can sit and have some Czech beer and grilled sausage, but that is not the only place with refreshments.

Divoká Šárka is easily accessible by taking tram 20 or 26 to the end of the line.  So if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city you don’t need to go far at all.


Tick season is here!

June 22nd, 2011 | Posted by Klaraz in Klara | Medical - (Comments Off)

With summer here, it is hard to avoid the outdoors.  Whether it is hiking in the woods, camping, or just hanging out in the park you really need to protect yourself from ticks (klíštata, singular – klíště).  They are mostly found in wooded areas but also in moist pastures.  These nasty little creatures detect heat and carbon dioxide given off by mammals, then climb higher on such things as grass and other low plants and wait for their victim to walk by.

Like many other animals that feed on blood, ticks can be carriers of many diseases, most common Lyme disease.  Which makes it very important to check yourself regularly and wearing the right close when going anywhere ticks may be living.  For example, when hiking, wear closed boots with long pants.

You can also spray your clothes with a repellent for ticks or insects, which can be found in any pharmacy.  Anything that contains DEET will do the trick.  You should also check yourself while you are out, it does take a few hours for the tick to latch on.  Key place to check are behind the ears, along the hairline, thighs, armpits and under breasts.

A little less gross picture of a tick :)

In the case that you happen to find a tick already latched on, the most recommended way to remove it is with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and pull out very slowly.  Do not grip the tick by the body  and do not twist.  The risk of being infected is very low and if it is removed within the first 36 hours, there is usually zero chance of infection.

If you happen to get infected, Lyme disease is very treatable.  As a bacterial pathogen, it can be treated with antibiotics.  Some of the symptoms include:

-       A circular ring/rash around the bite which can appear anywhere from 3 to 30 days after

-       Loss of muscle tone on one or both sides of the face, headaches and shooting pains, muscle stiffness, heart palpitations and dizziness

A few weeks ago I actually found a tick on my leg already latched on.  It was luckily a few hours after I went out to walk my dog.  I didn’t realize it was a tick until I started scratching it thinking it was a scab and then I saw that it was a gross little tick on my hand.  Yeah it was disgusting and I had a mini freak out.  I don’t think I was infected, I have been checking for the past few weeks for any symptoms and think I am in the safe zone now.  I am super careful now when I plan to go outdoors and check myself thoroughly each time.  I hope you will too!


Hey Prague! We need writers!!

June 21st, 2011 | Posted by admin in Guiri Guest | What's Happening Prague - (Comments Off)

Guiri Guide is on the hunt for a few adventurous, culturally aware and passionate expats in Prague who also happen to have the propensity to write and who love to share.

Our Guiri Guide writers have a thirst for experience and a positive attitude when it comes to their encounters. Moving to a foreign country is never without its difficulties but with our Guiri community of support, it can be enjoyable. A true Guiri Guide writer lays out the “Welcome” mat for new expats and then continues as the neighborly host through and through. Do you have what it takes!?

Contact us to learn more or to ask questions at guiriguideprague@gmail.com.


Ice hockey? Floorball? No…FIELD hockey!

June 16th, 2011 | Posted by Klaraz in Fitness | Guiri Guest - (Comments Off)

Nikki (left) in action

If you’re Czech, I hear you asking, ‘What is this sport’?? If a foreigner I hear you asking, ‘They play that here?’ It took me 8 months to find a club that I could play with, nearly giving up thinking it was non-existent, when I discovered Praga Hockey Club. They are based in Zemanka, Prague 4 and are an excellent club to play with. It appears that the Czechs have only truly discovered this sport in the last decade because the team is excellent but very young.  I am 24 and I felt ancient playing!

The Praga girls team are one of the top in the League (yes, I know, not just one team in Prague, an entire league!) and there’s a reason for this with 6 playing for the national team. Being a defender I’ve never learnt any fancy stick skills but the coach, Miloš, has had the patience to introduce me to some. Within a month I feel I’ve learnt more than my entire time on the hockey team at university and the coach doesn’t even speak English!

They train twice a week: Tuesdays and Thursdays 6:30-8:00 and have games most Saturdays. The games are free to watch so it’s worth checking out their website for games, particularly the Praga vs. Slavia contest. The season is nearing its end; we beat HCH in the playoffs and now we have the finals. This contest is the best of three games: Slavia won the first game in an intense battle that culminated in a penalty shoot-out. The next game (18th June 2011) promises some nail-biting moments; if Slavia win they win the cup; if Praga win, there will be another match the following weekend to decide. Details of games are on the Czech Hockey Federation’s website: http://www.pozemnihokej.cz/; be warned, there is far more information in Czech than there is in English.

The Flying Honzas

If you want to play for a hockey team but Praga girls sound too serious or it’s too scary joining a team who speak Czech, there is also a fun team: ‘the flying Honzas’: ½ Czech, ½ expat, who play every Wednesday. They play on the Praga grounds and organise friendlies with hockey teams on tour. More information can be found on their website: http://flyinghonzas.cz/. They’re a friendly bunch and will welcome anyone, no matter what their level is. Don’t worry if you don’t have the equipment, there’s always someone with a spare stick. So, if you want to get back into hockey, want to try a new sport or just want to keep fit, contact the flying Honzas.


Since graduating in July 2008, Guiri Guest Nikki, has not stayed still for more than 5 months; travelling to China, Gambia and South America. She decided that it was about time she ‘settled’ and took up a 10 month teaching post. Why Prague? Nikki needed to be close to home to help run a project from the UK but still wanted to experience a different culture. Czech culture isn’t that dissimilar from British culture but its bustling beautiful streets give her the sense of adventure she’s always trying to achieve from life. Nikki is a person that needs a constant change of scenery and even though you can see the main sights of Prague in a weekend, she’s still discovering hidden gems having lived in the city for 9 months.


Žluté lázně

When I was growing up in Prague, it was not possible to travel out and enjoy the plentiful beaches of Europe.  Instead, we settled for lakes, ponds and pools within the borders and even in Prague. And don’t get me wrong, I do like the beach and what it has to offer, but maybe due to my upbringing, I don’t necessarily crave it and really enjoy fresh water swimming.  The summer is here and if you are staying in Prague and want to catch some rays, take a swim and make it feel like a vacation, there are plenty of places you can choose from.  Even within city limits, you can choose natural bodies of water or outdoor pools that may be more accommodating for little ones.

Below is a list of the more popular natural bodies of water that have become very popular for Praguers:

Žluté lázně – River, Podolské nábřeží 1 (open from 09.00-17.00; Adults 80 Kc; Children and seniors 40Kc; family entrance 160 Kc; Children’s playground 9:00-20:00 – 50Kc; Also available:  Beach volleyball courts, petanque, table tennis, zumba, bootcamp, massages, restaurnt, buffet & bar – layout of the arena here)

Smíchovská pláž – River, Hořeší nábřeží (open from 10:00-22:00; Adults 50 Kc; Children free; Also available: Beach volleyball courts; soccer, table tennis; petanque; badminton; restaurant & bar. Other activities:  Children’s world every Monday and Wednesday from 14:00-18:00 – 1hr-130 Kc; half a day 450 Kc; 1 day 890 Kc; 1 week 3490Kc)

Džbán Dam, nad Džbánem (open from 9.00-19.00; Adults 50Kc, Children and seniors 30Kc, Children under 110cm free; Includes nudist area, boat rentals, volleyball, buffet, map)

Hostivařská přehrada – Dam (currently being reconstructed, to be opened in the summer of 2012)

Outdoor pools that are worth a visit are the following:

 Tichá Šárka – Pool, spring water, V Šáreckém údolí 76 (open until 18.00 until end of August; 20×20 pool, table tennis, buffet, kid’s pool)

Divoká Šárka – Pool, spring water, Divoká Šárka 3 (open from 10.00-18.00, and from 9.00-19.00 in June; Adults, 60Kc; Children under 5 are free; Children 5-10 yrs, 20Kc; After 16.30, discount at 40Kc from full price. Includes Two pools; Kid’s pool; water slides, swings, trampoline, tennis table, volleyball.)

Slavia – Pool, Vršovice (open from 6.00-19.00 Mon-Fri and 9.00-19.00 Sat-Sun; adults 60min – 90Kc; Children from 15yrs that are over 125cm tall 60min – 60Kc; Children under 125cm tall – 40Kc.  Also all day passes are available 140Kc for an adult; Children from 15 yrs over 125cm tall – 70Kc; Children under 15 yrs and under 125cm tall – 50Kc.  Includes outdoor pool, kid’s pool, Sauna, swimming lessons, restaurant.)

Petynka – Pool, Otevřená 4 (open from 7:00-21:00; Entrace based on hour of entrace.  For adults fee at 100Kc, Children up to 140cm tall and seniors 70-90Kc.  Includes main pool, kid’s pool; water slides; beach volleyball; table tennis; trampoline; buffet)

Podolí – Pool, Podolská 74 (open from 6.00-21:45; Adults 150Kc before 15.00, 110Kc after 15.00; children under 12 yrs of age 80Kc;  Students under 26yrs and seniors 90Kc all day. Includes 2 outdoor pools 50m & 33m, kid’s pool, water slides with pool; restaurant & buffet)

For all of you nudists, there are options in Prague as well:

Holešovické výstaviště – Pool, Only in select hours

Džbán – Dam, Special section for nudists

Hostivařská přehrada – Dam, Special section for nudists (nudist section open this summer, despite reconstruction)

Žluté lázně – River, Special section for nudists

Podolí – Pool, swimming with bathing suits only

Slavia – Pool, swimming with bathing suits only

Enjoy the warm temperatures!

Divoká Šárka pool