It was December of 2012 when I had the opportunity to visit Jeseniky, a small municipality found along the Olomouc Region of the Czech Republic. I was there as part of the contingent of licensed Massage Therapists sent by an American hospital to attend a national event about health and wellness therapy. My Schengen Visa was processed months in advance at the Smart Travel Enrollment Program. After two months of routine paper works in entering the European country, I was able to leave and explore this beautiful city that is found within the heart of central Europe. It was great to learn so much about the independent town whose people are famous for their love of music and nature.
I reached the Jeseniky Train Station via a twelve hour European Pass Czech Train (Euro Railways) from Berlin Germany. It was a cold winter morning when I got out of the terminal to meet my advance party of Czech medical personnel who will also attend the event, they were warm and friendly and they took me to the Hotel Slovan Comfort a hotel lying on the outskirts of the town where we will spend our seven day accommodation. From there I met other nationalities as we enjoyed the late afternoon traditional lunch. The event is to be held for two days within the hotel where we stay. We all agreed to use the rest of our days in Jeseniky to tour its scenic attractions and interact with its people. The first thing I noticed upon arrival was the cold breeze and the fresh air, pollution is nowhere in its sight around here. The town is very clean and the road was well paved. There is also not much cars passing around, the atmosphere was very countryside and added to its allure and charm.
After the informative conference about the importance of health and wellness I took advantage of my remaining five days to discover the beauty behind this quiet city. Since I am clueless about what and where to go around the place, the first thing I did was to visit the Jesenik Tourist Information Centre. It can be found within proximity of a mall which I frequently visit during my stay. The office holds so much information and I was given travel guide and mini maps for every attraction. I also have the chance to buy souvenirs like fridge magnets, coasters, key rings, and souvenir shirts inside their office. The information materials about the small town are provided in different cultural languages. The staff speaks good English and politely answered all my related questions about how to go from one point to another and fully enjoy this ideal town without getting lost.
The next day I enjoyed an early walking exercise around the Jesenik Main Square. The square is famous for people hanging out and a good landmark point lined with craft stores, government office, a century old church and nice cafes. I was greeted by warm smiles and a curt hello by a group of old Czech women I met during my stroll in the park. From across the main square I took time to meditate at the Church of St. Michael, an old church with inlaid sculptures of the saint at its arch doorway. This beige colored church façade has an old belfry and antique clock tower. The interiors have images of other saints and prophets. The intricate chandelier looked as imposing as it stands as a mute witness to the interesting history of this church. Most of the inscriptions or plate below an image was written in Czech. The stained glass impressions at the main part of the altar were virtually impressive!
After a visit to the church I met up with five of my other tour mates who were having their early breakfast at a local bistro near the square. We continue the tour of the town with a visit to the Jeseniky Town Hall, where we had a short photo opportunity with the busy mayor of this densely populated town. He gave a quick tour of the small town hall with a domed clock tower which stands across the fountain along the main square. On the right side we shopped for more souvenirs at the Jeseniky Market. We also checked out the Smenarna Exchange Office to exchange our US dollars for some Czech Koruna (CZK) or what we fondly call as the crowns. I bought more stuff at the market that I will bring as gifts to my family. I bought a set of tea pot in stainless steel for mom and painted egg shaped stones for my little sister. The famous Czech beer will surely delight my dad; I bought two liters of it for him. I treated myself with my favorite spa wafers and an exquisitely designed bohemian glass. It was fun to shop! After shopping we enjoyed the spacious ambiance of a traditional Czech diner where we relished their delicious potato cakes, goulash and dumplings. All these washed down by the well known Czech beer.
The next day was a test of our agility and physical strength as we traversed the woody hills of the Jeseniky Mountain, for two days we get to admire and fully appreciate the pure air and the water source that this town is famous for. The long walks along its trail was rewarded with a great view of the Hruby Jeseniky Ridge, I was blown away by the lush green covered mountain with a view of the town in all its glory as we reached its summit. As we walk into the woods, I took pictures of the rich flora and moss covered old trees inside the forest. Our porter guide told us the mountain is a good ski slope during winter and most of the tourist visit more during such time. We also found statues of famous Czech heroes along the trail. We took wacky group shots beside a creative rock statue formation.
We were so happy when we reach the water reservoir at the top of the mountain called the Dlouhe Strane Hydro Electric Power Station. From there we tried the open cable lift along side this attraction. The excitement doubled once we reached the highest peak of the Mount Praded. It provides awesome sights of the mountains and the paper factory from above. I got more interested when I learned the tower we kept seeing from below was a site for the TV Station in Jeseniky. As we trailed back down we had a glimpse of how paper is manufactured at the Handmade Paper Mill Velke Losiny. It was fascinating to learn the process of how paper was made and the history of how its founder Matyas Werner Junior bring to prominence the good quality of the home made papers in Jeseniky. I bought sets of embossed papers, greeting cards and personalized wax seals at their trading shop. The staff told us that their high quality products are the requested official papers used by famous world leaders as well.
After conquering the mountains we availed of the relaxing spa services offered at the Priessnitz Spa Resort / Jeseniky Spa. The genius of Vincenz Priesstnitz can really be felt in every aspect of the spa as we got to enjoy the trained professionals who mastered his art of hydrotherapy. We enjoyed all the featured amenities inside this attraction, from the Sauna World, to the Unique Balneocentre and getting pampered under the hands of their trained masseuse and therapists. It was a relaxing way to spend our last day in Jeseniky, to have our tired muscles soothed and our minds comforted by the clean, calm waters that overflow in this healing center. Staying at the center also got us educated about the importance of our craft, which is to give relief from discomfort and the wellness of our inner self. Hydrotherapy was indeed a good way to promote health and well being.
I went home relaxed and enriched with the knowledge of discovering the hidden beauty that is Jeseniky in Czech Republic. I miss it already.