Botic - May 2003
The second drain that I explored in Prague. It was a long, but satisfying evening walk.
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The Botic is an old brook that flows through north-west Prague. It disappears underground here - near the old castle walls. The next section is approximately 700m long; it passes under Vysehrad castle and exits into the Vltava River.
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It certainly is passable. Once a year the lake at the other end is drained and then canoeists go through here and end up in the river. There was a 50 cm dry area along the sides. It should have been passable - but I didn't have a light with me. So I went upstream.
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On the left is a green city park (Folimanka). On the right an occasional deserted utility building. I didn't explore, I hurried on.
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In the distance the high viaduct (Nuselský Viadukt). On the left stairs going down to the water. It didn't look enticing. Later I found websites for canoeists that told of all the infectious diseases you could get by touching this water. But some people let their dogs swim in it.
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Short detour : Next day my son and I went to take a closer look at the viaduct. It's a weird construction - the metro goes through it and the cars go over it. It has a majestic view over the city. If you search the web for "Nuselský Viadukt" you can even find a life webcam.
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In the early days a lot of people jumped from it and then fell through the roofs of the houses under it. Now it has a high fence on both sides. You can see the Botic down below, through the trees.
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Back to the walk : Still going upstream I passed under the viaduct admiring the huge pillars. And I saw the first interesting object in the distance.
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Bad maintenance? Streetcar nr. 18.
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Train going to Praha Smíchov. And a nice underpass.
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At Kresomyslova street I passed something that looked like a deserted brewery. Here the Botic turns left. I strayed a bit to explore the buildings.
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Finding the back entrance from Belehradská street I entered a courtyard with old trees. But all the nice buildings were still in use and I saw no way in.
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From a wooded dead en street - Na Ostrúvku - I saw the first real drain.
Nice and spacious. Easy to walk through.
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Again I exited in a city-park. This time : Havlíckovy Sady. It was May and a lot of trees had flowers. A nice evening walk.
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The drain continues past some side streams and over a few steep waterfalls. Here some children were playing in the stream. Here I took a small detour because my attention was caught by this romantic construction.
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I didn't know what it was - it didn't look like fortifications. You could go inside and walk through dark corridors and up narrow stairs. Later I found out that it was an old vineyard.
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Here the Botic crosses Petrohradská street. I climbed down under the bridge and admired the urban infrastructure and the old decayed walls. Water was flowing from a broken outlet. Slowly the evening fell.
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I looked at my map and saw that the next big underpass - under the big train yard - was still a long way off. No way I could make it in daylight. So I emerged grudgingly. I walked along the football stadium and took a streetcar home.
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On the way home I looked out of the window of the streetcar and I saw a drunk who was so unstable that he had to embrace a streetlamp. At home I also took a good beer and decided that I would be back someday.
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© Petr Kazil

August 2003