Feeling like a kid again

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Středočeský Kraj,
Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 15, Friday July 9

I’ve heard great rumours that the Czech Republic is a great place for bicycling, that there are marked bicycle paths everywhere. Today I’m going to find out if that’s true. I have a full two days rest, a bicycle route atlas, a short list of towns and castles to visit in the general direction of Austria, and a vague idea of a route. The makings of a very good adventure.

On the way out of town I stop to take a picture of a church on a bluff. A lady walking by stops to ask me where I’m headed and tells me where I need to go. The Czech hospitality and helpfulness is seemingly endless.

The marked bicycle trail starts as the tiniest road through the woods. I lose the trail at a town, but find a cherry tree. I’m not a big fan of cherries, but wild cherries are something completely different from the commercial type. I climb up and eat to my heart’s content.

The bus driver waiting in the town says he hasn’t been to the next town I’m looking for, a surprising statement as it can’t be more than a few kilometres away. After trying one road and ending up in a circle I successfully find my way.

The route is now beautiful fields and rolling hills. I’m passed by a cyclist out for the day, and I pass another couple touring, twice, as I take a slightly longer side route. After a short while I’m at my first point of interest, Karlstejn Castle.

At the bottom of the village there are people swimming in the river. It is oppressively hot so I join them. It is amazingly refreshing and I continue onwards with renewed strength. Coming over a hill there stains all over the road from an overhanging cherry tree. Mmmmm, more cherries, and these ones are even bigger and juicier than the last.

No one seems to notice me in the tree even though it is a fairly busy road and I am quite visible. Even a passing cyclist doesn’t see me, although he makes some questioning comment about why my bike is all by itself in the ditch.

One of the most noticeable differences between Poland and the Czech Republic is the stores. There are hardly any convenience stores in the Czech Republic, and when you do find one it is most likely closed as they are only open for very short periods. I am slightly concerned that I won’t find anything to eat for dinner. Finally I find a small pizzeria and eat dinner before continuing on to find a camp ground. Tonight there’s an actual camp ground, another difference from Poland where they are pretty much non-existent.

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