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Published: October 1st 2014
Descending to Vranov nad Dyji
Our great room was in a old house on the river just below the castle
We had a rough go of it getting across the loosely defined border between Moravia and Bohemia, the two ancient kingdoms that, along with Silesia in the northeast, make up the Czech Republic. Rain showers came and went, and the Greenway goes through some steep dirt trails. We have biked for the last ten days, coming from Bratislava, Slovakia, briefly though Austria and back into the Czech Republic, interspersing some hard hauls through the mountains with delightful days on flat greenway trails and some very short days. We are now in Cesky Krumlov where we will take a much needed day of rest. We spent last night outside the town of Nove Hrady in a pension in the woods at a partially restored area that had been built as a spa by a countess in the 1700's. We were the only guests and it was a bit eerie after the staff left for the night. We remembered the hunting chateau we came across in a wild bit of forest several days earlier that had a large bat sculpture above the entrance gate. Czech woods are full of surprises.
People everwhere have been friendly and we have gotten by with a
few words of German and French and a lot of hand gestures. Also, it helps to learn to say "hello" in Czech, "Dobry den," which means "Good day," and is for more formal use. We've also ben greeted with "Ahoy" a few times, which is for more infomral use among friends. The Czechs don't move to the informal as easily as we in the US do, but it's happened a few times with people we've had friendly interactions with. Also, Czech cyclists zooming by tend to say "Ahoy" to us. Our Czech hostess at one pension apologized, in very good English, saying that her English is not nearly as good as her German or Russian. As typical foreign language-impaired Americans, we were impressed by her skill. We had an interesting conversation with a Polish guy who was just finishing a bike trip as we traveled by train out of Budapest. He told us he had partied til 4 am before catching the train at 7:30 and insisted that we accompany him to the bar car. When we declined, he returned with glasses and a bottle of champagne to toast our trip. Even at 8 in the morning, how can you
After the two hard days from Jaroslavice to Slavonice, the weather moderated, the bike routes stayed on paved roads, and this trip has been truly delightful. The Czech Republic is full of marked bike trails. Some of the trails are set to get you places and some are routed on themes such as the former Iron Curtain border with Austria and other trails with historical interest. We are now on a side route called the Rozemberk Greenway, which passes by many of the places made famous by that family, which was predominant in Bohemia for several centuries, peaking in their influence around 1500. It is hard to go anywhere without seeing signposts for bicycle and walking trails, and there are signs with maps and information everywhere, benches and picnic tables at beautiful resting places, drinking water, and generally a well thought out infrastructure to support bicycle and foot touring. Also, food and lodging are definitely less expensive than the UK and the rest of western Europe. We have had some amazingly comfortable and spacious rooms on this part of the trip at amazingly good prices. What we are saying is that people should come here and do
this while all these conditions still hold.
After our rest here, we have four more days of riding to reach Prague. Then we'll enjoy the city for three more days before heading home. We are already looking forward to some of the familiar comforts as well as seeing family and friends. But the Czech Republic still beckons and we have another week of adventures ahead of us.
Tot: 3.023s; Tpl: 0.065s; cc: 19; qc: 89; dbt: 0.0741s; 2; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.5mb