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Published: August 25th 2006
June 17 to June 26
The biggest damn pork knee you ever saw, two pieces of capsicum and a silver of carrot, all the food groups you need. Three days I chased one and missed out, bitter disappointment as I had to settle with every other part from a pig.
On the advice of Sarah, a girl I traveled with in Israel, I rode from Salzberg to Cesky Krumlov, a perfect Medieval village in the south of the Czech republic that was holding its annual - medieval festival. Aussie Kathryn and I literally got the last two beds in town, like the world cup, my luck continues in cities. While in the mountains, I get strange and scary animals charging me or my tent in dark scary forests. I never what to know what kind of nasty creature that has the short, incredibly screeching and piecing bark. It dwells in the Austrian alps near Bad Ischil, has fangs like razors and can run like the wind, I laid in bed with my knife in hand most of the night. In Krumlov, another UNESCO protected village, looms a massive castle protected by bored, fat bears. We were treated to doses
of juggling clowns, pork, sword dueling fights, ice cream, jousting competition, more pork, and nearly the entire town on parade in incredible costumes brought out once a year for the occasion. So many people though, we found ourselves stuck in front of daiquiri and beer stands constantly as foot traffic filled the tiny streets, bummer. Three days I did my best to gain some weight, hung out with a great girl and people watch with great material.
The ride up to Prague was my longest yet, 120 miles of heat and hills, most countries would cut through small hills to improve traffic efficiency but in the former socialist satellite those conveniences weren't important. So like a roller coaster I found myself bitching (out loud, probably not good to talk to myself so much) after 80 miles, that's when it hit me, before this trip I'd never ridden 80 miles a day in my life, mountain biking isn't like that. I'll never look at my ride from Denver to Mancos to visit my family as long ever again.
Prague enjoys an excellent reputation with the backpacking community, anywhere in the world mention that you will visit Europe and the
Not to be
But it looks good doesn't it, the place that served it only had four outdoor tables and inside an open roasting pit spit heat you cant imagine.
phrase 'you gotta visit Prague' is guaranteed to come up, why, think of something that appears in almost every one of my journals, beer. Cheap beer in an environment that is classic Europe. The town could be a dump, its not, but it has almost biblical status among the young. Its not like it was but in nearly any kind of beer you will get a great pint for a dollar, drinking in a club, bar or restaurant for a dollar, last time that happened back home, say 1970? The street and sidewalks are a mosaic of rock design, almost every walk way is different, three of four shades of white to black contrast with so many preserved building that permeate the city, there isn't a medieval quarter the center of the city is all old and classic.
Add to the list of incredibly dumb travel mistakes I've committed, too many to mention now, I mistakenly assumed that my Ryan Air flight to London would be from the main airport from my departure city, nope, try a days ride away. From the direction I rode in no less. Leaving the Czech and back to Germany I picked a nice
route through the mountains, the Czech is surrounded almost completely by a ring of mountains which probably explains such a difference in language. Two and a half days of hard riding I arrive in Leipzig and almost immediately I'm greeted by a German man my age with a flat tire. He sees the bike and bags and asks if I have a pump with me. Three questions into where I'm from and what I'm up to he invited me to stay with him and his wife. He mentioned that he traveled in Asia and was treated extremely well by strangers, particularly Iran. Good vibes, I accept and what turned out to be a stupid travel mistake turned into two of the nicest days I had in Germany. Matthias and Christine, like Sandra, showed me unbelievable generosity and kindness in welcoming me into their home. We cruised around the former east German city on impromptu bike tours, watched a couple of world cup games in the town square and had long conversations about our visits in the east. Over the coarse of a year they had an amazing journey over land to Nepal where the volunteered at a Buddhist monastery that
I knew of. The best part was their ride, a flat bed semi-like truck with conventional tow weekend camper, wheels removed and bolted to the frame of the truck. Looking at a photo its built to take on the "roads" of east Asia in style. A stare magnet for sure, especially when Christine was driving.
Off to the UK for cooler weather, not too much rain and lots of green.
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