Pedaling To Prague

Trip Start Mar 16, 2004
Trip End Jun 13, 2004

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Flag of Czech Republic  ,
Thursday, April 29, 2004

The pedal to Prague began at breakfast time on Tuesday 27th April. I want to be there by early afternoon on Friday in time for the celebrations at the weekend. I'll have to do about 100km per day to make it.

After slipping around the Carpathian hills on the outskirts of Prague I was amazed to find myself cruising along at 25 t o 30km/hr. I was on another plain and the wind was behind me. It felt really good. I paused long enough for lunch in Malachy and there is a spit of rain as I set off through the farmland again, however the sun is out again as I enter the lovely little village of Kuty a few km from the border.

The main street is surfaced with black cobble stones. It looks great but I can't help thinking of all the screws working loose as I shudder along. I stop to take a photo of the church and the cobbled street. A man walks over to me and offers to take the shot with me in it. We chat a while afterwards and he explains that he is a geography teacher who likes cycling also. Has toured in Croatia and Slovakia. Martin is late 20's??, and has a friendly smile. Some of his students pass on the opposite side of the road as we talk, they shout over at him and he shouts something back. The girls start shouting over "Hello, hello" and walk on giggling.

Martin tells me there is a lovely castle in Lednice, worth a look. That becomes my destination for the night. I promise to post the photos on this page as I say cheerio.

I cross the border on a small road, on the motorway about 200m away there is a very long queue of trucks. The guard exclaims "Ah, Irsko." on examining my passport and waves me on.

Lednice is indeed a lovely little village and after checking into the Oynx pension, very nice, but a little expensive, I went for a walk around the castle grounds as the sun set behind the trees around the lake. The castle is more of a big stately home than a fortified castle, and the grounds are like a mini Versaille, formal gardens, lovely mature trees, and a huge green house/arboriteum.

In the little bar by the castle, I discover from the barmaid that the Ice Hockey championships are on in Czech Republic. She is very enthusiastic and produces a programme which I peruse over a couple of pints. Apparently this place is very busy from May on. I can well believe it.

The first village I passed through on Wednesday was Bulhary. The spring tidy up was well under way. People tidying their garden, weeding vegetable plots and the council out relaying pavements and verges. It'll look great in a couple of weeks.

I crossed over a large lake, I suspect it's man made as several large tree trunks stood in the middle of the lake like tombstones to a drowned forest.

Home for the night was Trebic. I found the tourist office in the main square., in the beautiful \y decorated town hall. The assistant was very helpful and soon had me booked into a pension and there was an internet cafe open till 10.30pm. Now 5.30, perfect.

Well, no. It was too easy. The pension was part of some kind of civic building. the care taker was a very nice old man who spoke no English. We went through all the formalities and I paid. Then he showed me to the accommodation block, BUT the key would not open the lock. HMM!! He went through the main hall and tried from the inside but no good. (Why can't I go that way??) Amid much shaking of head and apologies he led me back to his office and returned my money. It was actually all very comical.

The helpful women in the tourist office tried again. This time the Pension Pod. There I got a really comfortable little room. Unfortunately the internet cafe actually closed at 7pm, so my well planned evening became a bit of a farce. Things seem to work better when I have no idea what I'm doing!!

I left Trebic at noon on Thursday after using the internet in the library and having a huge breakfast in a restaurant. All very nice but now time was a bit of an issue.I arrived in Vlasim about 7pm and called it a day there. The road sign for the day was the warning triangle the a little car struggling up a 12% incline. That's what it was all day. Imagine a sheet of corrugated iron, jump on it a few times to ruffle it up a bit and that would be a good relief model of the countryside here. Lots of short climbs. After while I got used to whizzing down hill at 50km/hr and pacing myself up them at 10km/hr.

Vlasim looked a bit run down compared to other towns and I stayed in a hotel where the receptionist was quite upset that I was 15Kr short and even helped me look for it in my purse. She spoke no English, but as I put the money away, all 630 of it, about 20 euro, she motioned that I could stay. She had a face on her which made me feel like I was stealing her last little bit of food!! I was just knackered and glad of the bed. Most places I stay make big deal of printing out an A4 receipt, stamping it and often I have to sign up to 3 copies of it. Here not even a postage stamp size receipt, it was that kind of place I suppose.. In fairness the room was quite nice.

I had a relatively short run into Prague, only 80km. I was in anticipation wondering when I would see it. When it did appear it took me a little by surprise, emerging in the distance through the trees at the edge of a ploughed field. I had to look twice to be sure it was actually a city.

Within a couple of hours I had found the hostel, checked in, cleaned up and was on the prowl for the celebrations.
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